When we mention to people here that we moved in September from West Virginia the typical next question is why? Why did we move clear across the country to McMinnville, Oregon. Graham usually makes some kind of comment that he heard there was a winery nearby. (We now live in the middle of one of the amazing wine producing areas with over 100 wineries within 15 miles of our house.)
I did a lot of research before we decided on McMinnville. One thing that really excited me was the availability of a lot of local food. In the seven months we have been here we have established direct relationships with farms for our proteins and produce. There is a farmers market ready to open for the season this week, a year round farmers market and also a service that delivers farm fresh food to your door.
Additionally, the downtown business district is vibrant. It wasn’t always that way, though. However, since the McMinnville Downtown Association formed in the late 1980s the street’s appearance has improved with trees, lighting and sitting areas, the stores are all occupied and there is a lot of business.
The Downtown Association sponsors a number of events that entice tourists. This weekend was the UFO Festival, held annually to commemorate the sighting of a flying saucer by a local farmer in 1950. It is an affair with lectures ranging from ufology to astrophysics, but much of the attendance revolves around the parade.
Yesterday, after Lisa made sure we were all dressed in some kind of costume, we headed downtown for the 1 mile Abduction Race.
Sam expected to win and was in a good position but a middle schooler was in front the whole way and he decided to let him come in first. He remembers well how that feels and knew his need to win was not as important. Lisa was well behind in the pack but finished despite an asthma attack. Her costume had people talking as they thought at first she was naked. She had had her gold unitard painted when we first got there.
But her costume was mild compared to most. We had been told EVERYONE wears a costume but it became obvious that actually most people wore regular clothes. There seemed to be three levels of costume wearers: people who purchased something at the event to add a touch of alien whimsy;
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~people like us who put together something fun, even if it was not alien-related;
and people who spent a lot of time and/or money on alien attire.
The parade lasted over an hour with bands and floats and lots of groups. Anyone in alien costume could join in. What fun!!