We Make America Great

Summertime across America brings lots of local festivals. My rural community celebrates wild blackberries during Joyce Daze—a day-long event beginning with a hearty pancake breakfast. 

Local musicians take turns on a wooden stage while vendors selling handmade jewelry, baked goods, art work, leather belts, lamb’s wool hats and scarves, and whatever one wants to sell are tucked beneath plastic tarp awnings. 

photo credits: Roger Mosley / Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival

People line up early for slices of homemade wild blackberry pie.

Dozens of Joyce Daze volunteers commit the first Saturday in August year in and year out to make this happen—from the zany parking crew (my son and his friends have done this for just over a decade now)

photo credit: Roger Mosley / Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival

—to the absolutely indispensable pie bakers—rolling every crust and filling each pie shell with such amazing goodness that people travel miles every year just to taste a bit of heaven.

Managing details for an event that draws hundreds is no small task.

All the action pauses when the state highway closes and people stand and salute the flag as the parade begins. 

From antique cars to homemade floats, and the local volunteer fire crew, the parade reminds us that life here truly is good.

And here’s something else: in the hot kitchen where wild blackberry pies are baked at over a dozen per hour, the upcoming election doesn’t really matter. 

In a small community, something much bigger matters more—working together to share what we love with those who like to visit. And the day after Joyce Daze we go right back to being rural neighbors who really do care about one another, regardless of politics.

So next year —the first Saturday in August—there will be another Joyce Daze. All across America there are communities just like ours who have their own celebrations. What are we celebrating? That we, the citizens, work together to make America great. 

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