Happy 4th!

Trip Start Apr 15, 2013
Trip End Oct 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Webster family compound

Flag of United States  , Ohio
Thursday, July 4, 2013

One of the most amazing and appreciated parts of this job is meeting new people every day. And when those people turn out to be friends we just hadn't met yet, we realize that every stress and bad day on the road has been worth it because it led to meeting them. Today was one of those days.

We arrived at the Webster family compound last night around 8pm, after stopping for dinner and running a few errands. We completely missed their driveway and pulled into a plaza next door, only to see Evan, our sponsor contact, waving us down while laughing from his driveway.

His family owns a century home here in Aurora and on the property is an old work garage, a mother-in-law suite, and her brother lives down the road on the same property. They had us park back on a cemented area that used to be a storage building, but had burned down many years before (fun fact: Sea World used to rent that space to store their gift items in it. When it burned down, their stock was all smoke damaged, so they simply broke all of the items, including large numbers of porcelain gift plates, and left them there. When it rains, gift plate shards are still being uncovered in the mud to this day.) and gave us access to the mother-in-law suite, which had a shower they said we could use.

We hung out with their family for the evening and within minutes, felt as though we had known each other a long time. They set it up so that John and I would be in their town’s 4th of July parade the next day and then helping at their booth afterwards to sell circus tickets. We haven’t done a parade or festival yet, so we were pretty excited. It was also exciting because Aurora is only 45 minutes away from my parents and they were coming out the next day to watch the parade and visit with us.

The next morning, my parents showed up at the Webster’s and we took off for the parade. We were sandwiched between the local Boy Scout troop (who were helping us pass out circus flyers to the parade watchers) and Jungle Terry, a local man who was showcasing his large tortoise and python. As soon as the parade started, we didn’t stop running until the very end…haha. They had to shut down a very major thoroughfare for the parade and didn’t want it jamming up traffic for too long, so we were moving at a very fast clip. John was in clown, but dressed as a one-man band with an overturned bucket as a drum, along with other various instruments on his person. Evan followed behind us in his van, which had two huge circus banners on it.

Before we knew it, the parade was done and we caught our breath at the end of the route while visiting with my parents. Evan and Vicki (his wife and fellow circus co-conspirator) made sure the ticket booth was all set and then we made our way over there. The parade ended at the park and for the rest of the day, it was a festival with booths, carnival food, music, and a frog-jumping contest.

We had a wonderful time catching up with my parents…I couldn’t believe how perfect of a day it was for them to visit us. Normal days on the road wouldn’t have afforded us this luxury, so we were really grateful to Evan and Vicki for the schedule that allowed it.

Once we were done at the festival, we drove back to the house with my folks, John got out of make-up, and we relaxed on the lawn. Dad had gone out for beer and soda, so we enjoyed the cooler weather while enjoying those and waiting for the Webster family to get home. After running out to Bob Evan’s for dinner (one of the few restaurants open today), my parents took off…we’ll be staying with them this weekend, so it was nice to say "see you later" instead of goodbye.

The Websters invited us over to their porch for cocktails, so we visited with them and their two sons, Curtis and Mitch, into the evening. They had asked us to join them for the fireworks that evening and said we were more than welcome to spend another night there, so we gratefully accepted (which, admittedly, was more because we were excited to spend more time with this awesome family than anything else). When it came time to head out to the fireworks, their mini-van turned into a full-fledged clown car: we fit 8 people inside, including Vicki’s mom, who was in a wheelchair.

We sat outside of the Masonic Lodge (the Masons are the circus sponsors) to view the fireworks and we honestly could not have had a better view. The fireworks were shot off across the street from us and were exploding right above our heads. The display was phenomenal and we had such a fantastic time.

Aurora is truly a circus town…everyone we met was excited about Kelly Miller coming here (in fact, John had three city council members approach him at the festival to shake his hand and tell him how proud they are to host the circus) and we have no doubt their circus day will be successful. Maybe we can make it back for their circus day like we did in Fall River, MA…

Thank you Webster family for your hospitality, friendship, and helping a couple of travelers feel grounded and at home for two nights. We’ll see you down the road!
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