Festival Season

Fourth of July Town Gathering c. 1892

Summer is festival season and we have had no shortage of festivals here in the White River Valley over the years. From the Lettuce Festival in 1934 (and undoubtedly others even earlier) to the International Festival started just nine years ago, festivals bring together a community in a way nothing else can.
“Festivals foster community pride, teach people new things, and strengthen relationships.” (Wuthnow) When we celebrate the things that make our city special it evokes good feelings, people come together and participate in lighthearted fun and gives us all something in common to talk about.
The Lettuce Festival is a great example. Much of the valley’s history is rooted in agriculture, so the celebrations of that common history made for some great fun. They had parades, a Lettuce Queen and built the “World’s Largest Salad” for all to enjoy.
Festivals also serve to bring in new citizens and to celebrate the changing definition of a community. The International Festival has done an excellent job of this.
Cornucopia Days, the Canterbury Faire, Ezra Meeker Days, the Kent International Balloon Classic, the Valley Festival, Dragonboat Races, Soapbox Derbys, Kent’s 4th of July Splash, Experience Historical Kent… some of these have fallen by the wayside, but others are going strong! Join your community and find some festivals to enjoy this summer!
-Michelle Gehlman-Teeter

Cornucopia Days Parade c. 1948
Cornucopia Days Parade Davy Crockett c. 1954