Chaos in my hometown: a pumpkin festival

My hometown has hosted an annual Pumpkin Festival for many years now.  It all started in the 90’s with a few jack-o-lanterns around central square that could be viewed while driving downtown.  It quickly grew as they captured the world record for the number of lit jack-o-lanterns all in one place. As a result, it became really crowded, especially when night fell.  I went a few times as an adult, but we stopped going all together when we had kids.

Some friends suggested that we join them early in the day and for the children’s costume parade.  We found good parking, participated in the parade, but we never did connect with our friends.  The kids had a great time and we left after a couple of hours. Perhaps a post about our day coming soon…….

However, just as we were leaving chaos was breaking out just a few blocks from the Pumpkin Festival.  Some blame the local college community.  Some blame their out of town guests.  Some blame the festival itself.  After Friday night parties had been broken up, the police came back into an area with a lot of off campus housing to break up parties.  It appears that by communicating through social media, the call to riot was made.  According to police statements, 1000+ individuals in multiple locations began causing chaos, fighting, throwing bottles and leaping from buildings.  A second set of riots broke out after dark with cars being overturned and fires set.  Dozen of injured where treated on the scene and many more were arrested.

All just a few blocks from a quiet New England pumpkin festival.  In my hometown. Our schools and community are shaken.  The fate of the festival is unknown.  This weekend my hometown made the news, local, state and national news.  It was trending on twitter!

As a result, I had to explain to 5 year Connor what had happened.  He had seen a little bit of the news on TV and was headed to school the next day.  While I didn’t think his teachers would bring it, I didn’t know what the other kids might say and I didn’t want him to be scared. I talked about young adults making bad choices and hurting people and breaking things.  I told him that we were safe and that the police that he saw on TV were protecting our community.  In all honesty, they did a fantastic job of containing the situtaion which could have escalated to be a far worse situation.

So my Stop, Drop and Parent was explaining to my son about riots.  Some parenting days are better than others.

Better late than never!

31 days 2014


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