A line of trucks pulling carnival rides pulls into town. Streets get blocked off. Kids stop on their walk home from school to watch the rides go from ugly iron to amazing, beautiful displays of lights and daring ... it's the Thursday before Satanta Day and it marks the unofficial beginning of the annual celebration for the small Kansas town called Satanta.
The two-night carnival is always a big attraction. Next is the parade — complete with races before, smoking of the peace pipe and turtle races after the last horse makes it down the parade route. Then the traditional barbecue in the park.
Through the years, many traditions have changed. When I was a child, we threw water balloons and soaked each other with water guns (except the years it sleeted or snowed in May). There were dances for adults at the fire station and teens met at the community building. Now, there are games for kids in the park and kickball tournaments for teens.
You can change the activities to fit the next generation but one thing never waivers ... the happy reunions!
Satanta Day is when people return "home." It's a time to reconnect with a community that shaped us. Every two steps down main street, there are small groups talking and laughing. You see your favorite teachers, youth pastor, kids you babysat and classmates. You relive the highs and lows of growing up in a small community.
Come Sunday, the carnival trucks will pack up and pull out. Main street will seem empty and alone but the feeling of community is always in our hearts.
Here are a few of my favorite photos of Satanta day through the last few years. Click on a photo to view it as a gallery.