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8.9.01

My friend Kara's away message reminded me that this weekend is "the festival," aka the Palmerton Community Festival, formerly known as the Hospital Festival (because it was sponsored by the Hospital Auxiliary). So life in Palmerton does go on without me. I tend to think of Palmerton as being static, mostly because whenever I ask my family or a friend still living there what's going on in twon, they tell me nothing has changed.

I suppose the festival doesn't exactly count as a change. It's held every year. The stands are basically the same -- Belgian waffles from the Lions Club, pizza by the West End Fire Company, Chinese auction sponsored by Pool Pals, strawberry shortcake from the Hospital Auxiliary, and so on. The stands and tents are always in the same places. The Boy Scouts are always on garbage detail, carting around garbage barrels full of paper cups soaked with vinegar from Smitty's fries or pierogies. Jimmy Sturr and Tommy Schaffer and the Blue Mountain Ramblers are always the headlining acts.

But it's something happening. It's part of the year-to-year routine, but it shakes the community out of its week-to-week and day-to-day routine. Even if Palmerton doesn't seem to change much in the long run, it's not static. Buy a sausage sandwich today, and in a week some Scout will pick the wrapper up off the flattened patch of grass where the sausage stand used to be.

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