We live within earshot of the Capital Beltway. Which means, we’re only about 13 miles from the heart of DC. And yet, our town has a nice Mayberry-esque feel to it. Almost as if the city isn't right down the road a piece.
Greenbelt is truly small-town life. Especially in the historic part of town, known to locals as Old Greenbelt. Small townhomes, Small town center with it's small cooperative supermarket and small (one-screen) theater. You get the picture. It was originally developed in the 1930s as a cooperative planned community, and continued to evolved with a focus on community living. Modest-sized houses built around larger outdoor spaces (parks, playgrounds, sports fields), with a network of walking trails connecting everything. It's a sweet place to live and folks are out and about year-round.
But over Labor Day weekend, it truly comes alive! Our big annual town celebration is the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. Rides, bingo, book sale, food, crafts fair, live music! It’s seriously old home week(end)! And each year, we celebrate Labor Day with a parade!
My husband and I have served as judges during the parade for the last several years. We sit in front of the dias set up for the town council, citizen of the year, and the parade emcee. Throughout the parade, we diligently take notes on all of the participants so that we’re fully prepared to discuss awards distribution with our fellow judges.
Each year we're entertained by an ever-changing assortment of local community groups, student organizations, scout troops, sports teams, first responders, and politicians. Here's just a small sampling:
I briefly interrupt this post with a quick sidebar for my Greenbelt locals …
Folks: There are a slew of parade award categories, and that means there are lots of winners every year. Here's the best part—there are cash prizes! CASH PRIZES PEOPLE!! So, next year, grab your community group or business and come on out and wow us! And here's a bonus tip: the judges appreciate being entertained. Check the Labor Day Festival website for info on the parade, including registration deadlines.
Before I sign off, I'm going to brag for just a sec. During the Festival they hold a photo contest for town residents. We're limited to two entries and this was my third year participating. There was no matching last year's results, I mean, I earned TWO blue ribbons for those. That said, I put together a pair I was proud of. I did actually receive another blue ribbon for my Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium shot (that would be the one on the right below). I submitted it in the “Those Who Serve and Protect Us” category. Alas, my photo of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík missed the podium—so many awesome entries in the "Building and Architecture" category this year. Nevertheless, I included it below cause think it's a cool shot!
You know I'm already contemplating next year's contest entries!
Well, my friends, you have a a little less than a year to get your hearts ready. I hope to see some of you out at the 2020 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival and Parade!