The Week That Was

St. Mary Episcopal Church floatpasses along Washington Street during the Gateway Parade Saturday.   Beach Party was the parade theme.
St. Mary Episcopal Church float passes along Washington Street during the Gateway Parade Saturday, June 6.  Beach Party was the parade theme.

Years ago, I remember a satirical television show called, “That Was the Week That Was.” That phrase seems an appropriate label for the past week in Blair and Washington County. We will all remember where we were and what we were doing around 4:00 PM on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. I know I will always remember sitting in my car along College drive as tennis ball sized hail pummeled my car and broke out my hatch window and drenched my cameras. I will remember driving home and seeing my damaged house and vehicles. I will remember driving down town and realizing that I got off lucky. I will remember photographing and documenting the damage, and talking to all of these amazing people who seemed surprisingly upbeat despite the destruction. Thankfully few people suffered serious injuries. And we all learned, again, that during times like these, there are friends and neighbors, and perfect strangers who help each other out.

After the devastating storm on Tuesday and the cleanup that followed, the task of pulling off a project like Gateway to the West seemed insurmountable, but the City and the Chamber of Commerce, community organizations and so many volunteers pulled together and some how made it happen. Thank you. During these days of picking up debris and inventorying losses and preparing for insurance adjusters and contractors, the concerts, parade and picnics were a much needed and pleasant distraction.

While the Thursday night Blair Area Community Band concert and Taste of Blair were cancelled, families filled Lions Park for the June Jam Concert Friday evening to picnic, play, and enjoy the music by local band Mulligan Stu.

For the most part, Saturday activities beginning with the annual Gateway to the West Walk/Run went on as scheduled. Thanks to Street Department, and a host of volunteers, sidewalks and parking along the parade route was clean and safe for the families who lined the streets for the afternoon parade, which is always the highlight of the festival. People filled the beer garden area in front of the south fire station to enjoy refreshments while watching the water fights or attend the street dance in the evening.

After the Week that Was, we all have stories to tell, and Barbeque on the House at Steyer Park on Sunday seemed to be the perfect time and place to share them. People lined up for pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs and then relaxed at picnic tables and talked to friends and neighbors. As more than one person told Chamber president Harriett Wait, we needed this weekend. We needed opportunities to come together to share, to put things in perspective, and remember that we are not alone. We are a community.

From left, Katie Clements, Sarah Adair, Cheryl Clements, serve up pulled pork, baked beans  and hotdogs at the free barbeque on the house Sunday.
From left, Katie Clements, Sarah Adair, Cheryl Clements, serve up pulled pork, baked beans and hotdogs at the free barbeque on the house Sunday.
Blair High School Band marches along 17th Street in the Gateway Parade.
Blair High School Band marches along 17th Street in the Gateway Parade.
Austin Scherer rakes up debri from the sidewalks at the the badly damaged Washington County Courthouse.
Austin Scherer rakes up debris in front of the Washington County Courthouse.
Drew Law office  along Washington Street shortly after the hails storm on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
Drew Law office along Washington Street shortly after the hails storm on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

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