Need a quick pick-me-up?! Listen to Don't Rain On My Parade from GLEE.
Okra Strut 2010:
Irmo, South Carolina has been my home for almost nine years. I can remember the day I moved here. I didn’t think I could love living in a place called…
I-R-M-O home of the OkRa StRuT
But, I think your home is what you make it, whether it is in Raeford, North Carolina, Powhatan, Virginia, or Macon, Georgia. A home has family, friends, and traditions.
One of the many wonderful traditions that Irmo established 37 years ago is the okra strut. Before I even explain what the okra strut is, think about the name for just a minute. Okra is a vegetable…it is a type of food. I like fried okra with ketchup. I haven’t been a fan of it for very long though. The look of it isn’t too appealing. But, after getting a little older, and wanting to broaden my horizon a bit, I tried it. In saying that though, not many people do like it…even after trying it. So why did Irmo, South Carolina choose to have an annual strut named after an unpopular vegetable?
“It all began in 1973 as a fundraiser for the Lake Murray-Irmo Woman’s Club. The goal was to build a brand new library for the Irmo community. Local radio personality, the late Gene McKay, had the idea of naming the fundraiser the “Okra Strut” when he, jokingly, described the “ancient Irmese” as “a farming tribe who lived off okra!” In October that year, the Woman’s Club had a modest arts & crafts sale inside Seven Oaks Park.
The Okra Strut has grown with an estimated attendance of 50-70,000 festival-goers from surrounding communities and states. The festival is presented by Lexington Medical Center, First Citizens, and Budweiser of Columbia and is held in and around the Irmo Village Shopping Center in the heart of Irmo.
A recipient of numerous awards, the Okra Strut was featured as one of “ten great places to celebrate food” in USA Today along side of the Maine Lobster Festival and the Monterrey Bay Strawberry Festival.”
The parade started at 9am. Imagine plenty of Irmoians lined up along the street; sidewalks on one side covered with soft blankets, comfy chairs, kids waiting anxiously, dogs wanting attention, and adults with their coffee. A hill of grass on the other side, almost mirroring the concrete image, with the remains of morning breath hiding behind dew, crowned with a railroad track; Irmo police patrol the area, the street is closed, the day is getting hot, and we wait.
The first sign…music. Once you can hear the music, you know there coming your way. Any and all of Irmo’s organizations are involved. Political leaders, Schools – this includes your athletes, cheerleaders, band members – Dance Studios, Churches, Banks, Restaurants…anybody who wants to be recognized, puts either a float, a group of people with t-shirts, signs, flyers, “stocking stuffers”, and they all have CANDY…in the line-up.
I love parades!
By being in the parade, you are a symbol of what our town has become. By watching the parade, you are affiliating yourself as a member/supporter of the town. And I love to be involved. Not to mention, it’s like a mini Halloween. I just stood there with a bag open, and people came and dropped things in it.
I am a kid at heart. As a 21 year old though, a lot of people passed me by when passing out candy or giving away balloons. And who’s to say I wouldn’t want to hug a mascot? But, I didn’t let that rain on my parade. Instead, I enjoyed watching actual children participating in this action.
People should follow the rules. There’s a reason rules are in place. Nobody is an exception to the rules. I’m going to be very nice in saying this…this has nothing to do with the types of people that I’m about to reference…it has everything to do with following the rules. There were a “couple” of women standing next to us, in the street. The street was closed, not so they could stand in it. The street was closed, so the parade could pass through without interruption. This concept makes sense, right?! The women had their children with them, and being a part of Irmo, they had a right to be there as much as anybody. If no one had minded that they were not following the rules, why should I? On the other side of us, there was a mom. A very nice lady, who actually happened to know one of the ladies I was with. Her daughter was in the parade. As a mom, she wanted to see her daughter, and wanted to make sure her daughter could see her. Kindly, she asked the women to stand on the side walk like the rest of the town. She was ignored. She repeated herself a few times…one of the girls responded with, “why don’t you …BEEP… move”. Mrs. Mom was on the side walk like everyone else, where was she supposed to move to? If the couple had been following the rules, there wouldn’t have been a problem. Mrs. Mom walked up to the ladies and asked them to move again. She stated that she came to watch her daughter in the parade, and wanted to be able to see her. She just asked that they move back a bit. How hard is it to do that? Needless to say, no one moved. It was sad to see grown women act so childish. The only rotten group in Irmo, and somehow I ended up standing next to them…ha-ha. But, I did not let that rain on my parade. Instead, when Mrs. Mom’s daughter came by, we all cheered her on…she knew we were watching, and even as a third party observer, she was appreciated!!
This isn’t as new-agey as it sounds. Create an affirmation wallet card and take the good vibes with you everywhere you go.
Cut an index card to roughly the same size as a credit card.
On your card, write at least one really nice thing about yourself. Or write three things you like the best about yourself. (You can use what you might have done for the previous post.) Or write an uber-positive saying. (“Nobody can rain on my parade.”)
You can laminate your card with laminating sheets, or you can even ask the store to laminate it for you. Carry your affirmation card in your wallet.
– The Happy Book