I live in a town of about 6000 in Western Canada, and this week it's time for one of our cherished traditions, stampede.
There's a four day rodeo. There's a carnival midway. There are cabarets, with dancing until dawn. There are pancake breakfasts, and beef on a bun lunches, in parking lots all over town. There's a Saturday morning parade, with half the kids in town riding floats, and the other half scrambling for candy thrown from those floats.
Last night was the kick-off, with Main Street blocked to traffic to make a mall. Chili cook-off, mini doughnuts, hot dogs. Mechanical bull. Bouncy castle and face painting. Dunk tank, with a good-natured RCMP constable getting very wet indeed. Cowboy hats, and boots. Kids older than eight or so running in packs, checking out anything that's free.
I'm on the board of our library, and this year we had a novel idea for our booth - a "book launch". Not quite the kind they have in New York or Frankfort, though. We got a three-man slingshot, some old damaged books, and a tarp with a big target painted on it. Kids could launch a book through the air, and if it landed on the bullseye, they'd win a book. If it didn't they got a lollipop, and meanwhile we were talking their parents into buying one of our raffle tickets. A silly idea, but a remarkably fun one - in the last hour when things were winding down, we had a gang of about ten kids permanently attached to us, launching their books amid high hilarity. Gave away a lot of books, and I think established a positive and distinctly non-dowdy image of the library in at least some young minds.