It was like a Norman Rockwell 4th of July came early on Sunday at the NMC BBQ. Enough people to populate a small city came onto the college campus for the grub and good times. The mood was inspired by the fair weather and amazing planning that kept the lines moving and friendly greetings hailing. Honestly, had there been a square dance and a barber shop quartet all bedecked in seersucker, they wouldn't have been a bit out of place. There were games for the kids tumbling out of the moon-bounce with cotton candy in their hair and fake tattoos on every limb. There were exhibits of robotics and renewable energy alongside LARPers and inflato-gladiators. This was some four-star people-watching!
Grandparents watched their grand kids making new friends, young couples sat in the grass under the trees listening to local musicians like Billy Strings and Blake Elliot. Every so often a loud “toot toot” came from the boiler room counting off how many thousands of people had come out to be a part of this down-home tradition. While NMC seemed pretty proud of counting up those thousands, you could still see the identity of a small Michigan town on the faces of the stompy-footy kids being dragged away from the cake-walk, the grandparents sitting in the shade ready with the Benadryl and band-aids, the brother holding his little sister’s hand and the parents who look forward to washing the dust and sugar off of these exhausted little feet and hands and knowing there won’t be a fight about sleeping tonight.
But the BBQ isn't just for families. Those of us who are all grown up, with or without kids of our own, got a full day out of our $6 tickets too. We got to remember traditions, smile back at the strangers and feel like we finally opened the windows and got the winter out! This fabulous tradition is just the starting shot for our fun-run through a summer up north.