In September, the football season starts, the heat and humidity gets a little less oppressive and miserable, and we have all of our best community gatherings. This is by far the best month of the year to be in Chanute.
The Mexican Fiesta starts this month's local celebrating every year, providing Chanute with a rare dose of cultural diversity in Santa Fe Park. I’d like to invite Donald Trump to attend our Mexican Fiesta sometime, to demonstrate to him that there is nothing wrong with people publicly celebrating their heritage and traditions while still being patriotic members of a wider community. Maybe if he got a dose of Mexican entertainment and a mouthful of yummy Mexican food, he would realize how much cultures like this make our country a more interesting place.
There is also the Elkstock event that raises money for worthy causes, and smaller community celebrations that bring people who live in various towns together to listen to music, play games, dance in the streets and raise their cholesterol with the finest in concession stand cuisine.
Then, there’s Artist Alley, the biggest and best event in this area. Besides the parades, concerts, and consuming mass quantities of funnel cakes, Artist Alley is really about observing and celebrating how creative people really are. Whether they are painting, sculpting, making crafts, taking photos, writing books, or dreaming up new things to sell in their booths, this area is rich in creative people. I always look forward to see what new things Artist Alley exhibitors have to sell this year. Attending Artist Alley always makes me wish that the politicians who lead our community were as creative as other people who live here.
I received another reminder of how creative people in this community can be when I asked readers of a recent column to come up with suggestions for decals that we could stick Chanute City Commissioners’ cars. This was in response to a suggestion by Commissioner Jim Chappell that the city should affix bumper stickers on police cars that proclaim “In God We Trust” (or “God Bless America,” apparently). Since a Commissioner publicly advocated the placement of stickers on police vehicles without bothering to ask what the police department might think, it seemed appropriate to ask about decals on the vehicles driven by City Commissioners without their explicit permission.
That thought led me to wonder what these labels should say, so I asked readers to send me their best suggestions. I got a very good response to this, with some very creative answers.
Someone suggested that we could make “The city that never sweeps” Chanute’s official motto, since street sweeping in the city was done away with next year, as part of the budget process. This individual suggested that this might remind our esteemed Commissioners that they should have offered more specific input during these debates.
Another suggestion was, “We Tore Down The Wall!” There were actually quite a few variations of this reference to the city’s dispute over the eastern and western walls of Mel’s Southside Tavern, making cultural references to everything from Ronald Reagan (“Mr. Bartholomew, tear down this wall”) to Pink Floyd (“All and all, they’re just another brick in the wall”). It is just too bad that such decals couldn’t lead to the wall being torn down in time for Artist Alley.
Chanute's favorite Facebook commentator Cindy Morrison submitted this idea for the stickers – “Chanute: where prunes are the only fiber we need.”
Perhaps, the best idea came from Thomas Essel, who is the content manager for the Original Motto Project in Washington state. This is a group that aims to restore the phrase “E pluribus unum” as this country’s official motto. I promoted this motto at the end of that column, having no idea that there was an actual organized group devoted to it. It is always gratifying to learn that there are groups of people who share some of the same crazy ideas that I do.
Essel read the column and generously volunteered to donate five “E pluribus unum” bumper stickers to put on the back of City Commission vehicles.
I am considering ordering hundreds of more of these “E pluribus unum” decals to distribute to local residents, if the decision to put “In God We Trust” stickers on police cars ever gets approved by the Commission. I would be doing my part to assure that we live in a community that is progressive and inclusive, as well as creative.
Here’s to hoping that everyone has a fun and a safe visit to the Artist Alley festivities.
Please send all questions, comments, hate mail, marriage proposals, and literature about organized groups wise enough to share crazy ideas and opinions with me to email@example.com