Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Wild weekend welds itself together

June 8, 2006

For those of you brave enough to stay in Baldwin City last weekend or for those that had no choice, that was a wild one, wasn't it? Of course, there is no way to know, but I'd hazard to guess the crowds through here rivaled a Maple Leaf Festival-type day.

Now, stay with me here. No, there weren't loads of booths downtown and a parade. No, much like a war, there were battles to the east, battles to the west and plenty of skirmishes in between.

First of all, the Methodist Convention was in town last week. Anyone that was near downtown or tried to have lunch last week almost anywhere knew the going was tough. There were people everywhere. They were still here Friday when the other influxes to town started.

Of course, there was Thomas the Tank Engine which opened Friday for the fifth straight year in Baldwin. Also on Friday evening was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Black Jack which drew even more people to town. Yes, Thomas to the west, Black Jack to the east and the scores of Methodists in between.

But, the weekend was just getting started.

Saturday really stirred the pot when the annual city-wide garage sale, a fund-raiser for the Friends of the Baldwin City Library, unfolded all around town. Baldwin's city-wide garage sale is regarded by many to be the best in the area. Other cities time their similar bargain hunts for any weekend except for Baldwin's. They know that's where everyone will go.

So, there again, the city was under siege. Thomas, in his second day of a three-day run, was to the west. Festivities at the Battle of Black Jack, including a breakfast on the prairie and more speakers, etc. was to the east.

But, this time, the real battles were in between. These weren't skirmishes. There's nothing like a boatload of bargain hunters scurrying from one garage or yard to another to really get the juices flowing.

People were everywhere. Business was booming, especially at the restaurants and convenience stores. I'm curious if the Automated Teller Machines at the banks kept up with demand.

There can be no doubt there were crossovers in the battle of Baldwin. There was a youngster at Friday's Black Jack celebration with a Thomas the Tank figure painted on his face. That's a clue, but there's more.

No, my favorite multi-event story is a match up of Thomas and the garage sales. It seems there was a trio from Wichita -- granddad, dad and son/grandson -- that pulled into the Ives Chapel Methodist Church's Thomas parking lot only to discover trouble. They hadn't packed the boy's shoes. Typical males, right? Potential disaster, right?

Not so fast now.

There was some quick thinking done. Of course, being from Wichita the adult pair asked if there was a nearby Wal-Mart. Not if you're going to make your train ride, they were told. A female parking lot attendant told them there was a Dollar Store here that wasn't too far away.

But, her husband had a better idea. He said, "Hey, there's a garage sale a block from here where there's children's clothes." Good answer. The Wichita trio left and returned with a pair of 25-cent shoes on the kid's feet.

The Thomas day was saved all because of the city-wide garage sale. I doubt the Wichita threesome took in the Black Jack Battlefield site. That would make this tale too wild.

But, the moral of this story is, Thomas may not be cheap, but Baldwin can be -- at least when it counts ... sometimes.

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