Carlton Fun Days: A Small Town’s Parade

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Where there’s a small town, there’s usually a small town parade.  It’s where Main Streets come alive and American pride is often worn on the sleeves of it’s residents. I love seeing it.

Fire engines, police cars, souped up corvettes, tractors and antique cars share the parade route with babies in strollers, kids on bicycles, horses and pets galore. These small town parades elicit nostalgic feelings in many who attend. And for me, well, it makes me want to eat watermelon, spitting the seeds on the ground and filling galvanized buckets full of sunflowers and sweet peas to line the deck. Don’t ask me why, it just feels the right thing to do. 

Today the parade route was right outside our tasting room in Carlton, Oregon. It was Carlton Fun Days, an annual event that happens right here in the heart of wine country, in our adorable, little, historic town.

Even though it was raining, that didn’t stop my boy from enjoying a snow cone made by my awesome friends (Lynnette & Amy) of Republic of Jam. When you live in Oregon, you don’t wait for the rain to stop. You just deal with it. The parade goes on! We don’t use umbrellas here, in fact, if you have an umbrella, we know your an out-of-townie. Not that, that matters.  

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And what would a parade route be without the tiny dogs who come out to view it? These little pups all stole my heart today. Look at them, I wanted to squeeze them all and take them home. They all need their own float as far as I’m concerned.

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 Here is that nostalgia I’m talking about, it doesn’t get any more American than this.

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 Of course the local vet was in the parade. In farm country our vet’s are small and large animal vetrinarian’s. The kids along the route loved seeing the kids dressed up in the familiar dog cones, very clever. They threw good candy too.

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 Tractors are also a familiar site in an agricultural communities parade, it really drives home where we live and how we take care of our land.

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 The parade is full of old cars and a quick float for a towing company is a smashed up car they picked up…my boys loved that.  Ironically, an antique tow truck had to be pushed down the parade route as it’s engine died. That didn’t stop them from throwing candy though!

 The pumpkin launcher showed up…and the crowds loved it.

 I’m glad my boys get to experience this small town, country life…because one day they will go off to the big city…and they will remember the simplicity and beauty of this small town life.


 And here was one of the highlights of my day…the amazing Spabettie stopped by the tasting room today! We have been following each other’s blogs for years and they are wine club members too. I love them. And we had never met until today! 

I can’t tell you how humbled I continue to be by the fact that so many of you take the time to come by the tasting room when you are in my neck of the woods. It means so much and it’s always so fun to meet. It’s like we’ve known each other for years. I love that!  And if you come by, we love to take pictures in front of the pig shrine…it’s the right thing to do.

Blogging has truly provided a unique opportunity meeting for people from all over the world. Thank you all for your continued friendship, what a fun ride we are all on.
Do you have a parade in your small town? I’d love to hear about it.

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13 Comments and 9 Replies

  1. Patricia 1

    Thank you for this peek at Carlton’s Parade. We are in Woodland WA and just had our small town parade for Planters Day Weekend. They are sooooo small town and so much more fun than the big parades.
    Hope this fine Spring and Summer weather are not too bad for your grapes. I am getting my winter blankets out again. ;-)

    • Cathy 2

      Thanks Patricia, I don’t think summer really starts here until July! The grapes will survive!

  2. Pam 3

    I love small town parades! They are so charming!

  3. Lynn 5

    I live in a rural area in Canada and except for the flag our parade consists of quite similar floats….what fun and memories !

    • Cathy 6

      I know, it’s really heartwarming to see everyone participate to make it happen.

  4. I love those kids in those dog cones! Too funny. Yes, Highlands Ranch has a parade, on 4th of July. Love that the town comes together for all the fun.

    • Cathy 8

      I know it was really cute and clever and put a smile on everyone’s face.

  5. Barbie with a T 9

    What I really like about this small town, is that it is so “All American” and the young people all seem to be model kids. Small towns and country living is really the basis for bringing up well rounded and well bred youngsters. You picked a great spot for your winery. That good old fashioned friendly atmosphere is most appealing.

  6. it was SO great to finally meet you, Cathy!

    the parade looked fun, and seeing all the dogs makes me wish we would have brought Basil along! and those jam snow cones? yum – we had their whole tasting plate. thanks for taking us over there!

    enjoy the rest of your weekend, Kristina + Jason

    • Cathy 12

      I know, after you guys left, I thought, where’s Basil? I’ve always wanted a dachshund so I live vicariously through Basil’s antics!!

  7. We are headed to Bend, Oregon next month, so I looked up Carlton but alas it is not near where we are going or coming from. But one of these days I do hope to stop by and meet you. Your blog has turned into my cook book! Love it!

  8. Our parades are only a bit bigger. Vancouver is larger but still very small town. That is why I like it. Thanks for sharing Carlton with all of us.

  9. Kris Wessel 16

    LOVE the photos and the narrative. Good to stand beside you for the parade. More Bit-O-Honey next year.

  10. Kathie O. 18

    Thank you, Cathy for posting these gorgeous pictures and your narrative. Carlton is a special place and we all work hard to keep it special!

  11. Stephanie 19

    One of the main reasons we moved to our South East Texas home 4 years ago was that we wanted to make sure our boys could have a childhood that my husband I didn’t have (he’s from Houston, I’m form San Francisco). In the past 4 years I have watched my boys be amazed at hawks, lizards, pollywogs, giant puffy mushrooms and the stars at night. Every day I love watching their faces as they see something new. For them this is home. When they get older I won’t mind if they want to move to the “big city” just so long as they know that their home is in the country.

  12. Anne Olson 20

    Ah, Carlton! Used to stop there for lunch on my way from Oregon State University to Astoria years ago.

  13. Lorrie 22

    I am so excited to actually be able to see this parade this year. We just moved from Oceanside California to Lafayette. We loved your tasting room and wines and Jeff was amazing. I have enjoyed your blog for years and hopefully I run into you at some point.


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