Sunday, October 19, 2008

What a Weekend

What a weekend! Watkinsville was on display, and what a show.

First of all, many thanks to my brother Kevin and his band of volunteers from Oconee State Bank, who pulled off the 35th annual Scarecrow 5K without a hitch. This race has always had special meaning to me, as I ran my first road race at the Scarecrow 19 or 20 years ago this year.

I'll never forget Shawn Lomanaco and me finding the entry form in the Fall Festival brochure that went home with us from Oconee County Intermediate School (now Colham Ferry Elementary). After trying to think through how far 3.1 miles was (approximately to the Golden Pantry and back was our thought process) we decided we'd try to run. Once our parents were convinced (none of us had ever heard of a "road race" so we had to do some homework in those pre-internet days), we began our pre-race training, which consisted of a solitary 3 mile run around Northwest Woods two nights before the Saturday morning affair. Shawn showed off his superior talent, finishing in around 20 minutes to win our age group. I, unfortunately, finished in 21:47 and threw up at the finish. Faster times were to come, as the core group that ran this race and a few others started the first cross country teams at Oconee County High School in 1990.

Unfortunately, slower times were to come and they did yesterday. But I did enjoy a great run with old high school teammate and great friend Jonathan Murrow. And I also was able to run along with Phoebe as she completed her first ever one mile fun run in 12:47. Not bad!

After that, the family went to the Fall Festival downtown. You couldn't have asked for better weather. I think every kid in Oconee County was there. As always, I saw lots of old and new friends from Oconee and Athens. It was a picture perfect day, and the vendors and attendees all seemed happy despite the fact that we were competing with UGA's Homecoming game. Check out some pictures on Dan Matthews' blog here.

Later that evening, I volunteered with the clean up crew. I am always so thankful and surprised every year by how many people volunteer their time and energy to assist with the Festival -- this spirit is one of the things that makes Oconee County so great. In what seemed like no time, Rocket Field and the surrounding areas were picked clean of trash and debris, vendors were gone, and as quickly as it had arrived, the magic of the Festival was gone. Rocket Field is a bit worse for wear due to rain on Friday, but otherwise, everything looked great. If you have a chance and the inclination, be sure to thank Charles Grimes, Mike Lewis and others at the Chamber of Commerce for their annual labor of love.

After clean up, I picked up dinner for our family. I was struck by the energy that was still apparent in town. UGA fans were eating downtown and basking the afterglow a homecoming win. Teens dressed in their homecoming finery were eating at Mirko Pasta. A special event was being held at the Overlook, and the other restaurants looked full. In short a beautiful evening and all in all, quite a Saturday in Watkinsville.

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