9 October 2016

Of Parades and free candy

This was the highlight of the parade
Today we picked up our vehicle and we braved Georgia driving on the wrong (right) side of the road. "Keep Right. Keep Right. Keep Right" is a mantra that works well. It's just a pity the windscreen wipers keep going on every time I indicate/use the blinkers!
Our first port of call was dropping in to our cabin (which is marvellous - more later) and then the Blairsville Sorghum Festival Parade. This festival has been going for over 40 years and the crowds eagerly gathered along the route well before hand. The children got to the front and waited with buckets or bags.
We had made friends with the owner of one of the local restaurants and she kindly explained to the children how to get the most candy once the distribution began. The parade was led by the Sheriff who, like every other vehicle in the parade, distributed candy by throwing it out to the crowd. Not surprisingly this went over extremely well.
Everyone was involved including Sheriff and Fire and Rescue
All the local politicians joined in
Initially Zach was reserved and stayed back. Then he noticed what the other children were doing and worked out the system and turned into a seagull: "Mine! Mine! Mine!" he said as he gathered stray candy and placed it in our shared bag. This collected loot provided a great source for our special lolly/candy tasting session where we would test each lolly to score a family approval rating. Quite a few lollies get the seal of approval from all of the children!
After the parade passed many spectators walked across to the nearest point the parade would pass again hoping to get a second chance for more candy. We popped across to the restaurant and then the local cell phone store to get some SIM cards for our phones. Yay! We are reconnected back to the wider world. Most importantly, our GPS and mapping are working and we can find our way around much easier.
And we can catch some Pokemons. :-)
Then we went to the actual Sorghum Festival. When we were last here it was held in an old fort but the festival has outgrown the fort and it now takes place in the county park. The park is a great place for playing and exploring with playgrounds, walks, a creek and more.
Today it was filled with stalls displaying a wide variety of impressive local arts , crafts and produce as well as exhibits and entertainment.
There was a beautifully decorated bridge across to the old grits mill which is still operating.
Across the bridge lay the Grits Mill
Grits are fine ground corn and from our experience are tasteless until one adds either salty or sweet additives such as butter or syrup or cheese. There are also many recipes and preparation methods handed down across the generations making grits a base for many a meal, typically breakfast.
The Sorghum processing plant was also operating. As Sorghum contains sugar it has been used as a sweetener for many years. Sorghum Syrup is very tasty and we purchased a few bottles to bring home to remind us of the unique sweet-ish, sort of malty flavour different to the Golden Syrup we are used to.
We had quite a busy day again, pushing through the lurking jet lag to have a full day. The children fell asleep pretty quickly once we returned home to the cabin. We are setting up a special daily review with the children each morning to tell us what they learned about the USA.
The Wheel Of Grits. Bom bom bom. (dramatic music)

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