Here is proof (for Elck) that there are indeed people in Keene, NH. If you’ve seen the movie Jumanji, you’ve seen this building and its mural. The Parrish Shoes sign was painted quickly as a backdrop for scenes filmed in Central Square; when filming was done, locals had grown so fond of the old-fashioned mural, they asked the film crew to leave it.
That’s the way the locals are here in Keene: they like their quaint downtown. On a mild February Saturday, it takes only the promise of a festival to bring out strolling crowds.
Yesterday was Keene’s annual Ice & Snow Festival. This isn’t a large event: compared to the annual Pumpkin Festival, the Ice & Snow Fest is an afternoon’s walk in the park. But what impresses me about Keene’s various municipal events–the Ice & Snow Festival, Art in the Park, the annual tree-lighting in Central Square–is that people always show up. Maybe there’s not much to do in Keene…but when something happens, the locals grab their kids, baby strollers, and dogs and head downtown to see What’s Happening.
As I remarked yesterday, we don’t have much snow on the ground here in Keene: there are only a couple inches on grassy surfaces, and the roads and sidewalks have been plowed bare. But for yesterday’s festival, municipal crews brought in snow, plowing it into piles in Depot Square so youngsters could make multicolored snow creatures while the older kids showed their ski and snowboard tricks on a plowed-from-the-parking-lot snow mountain.
And in the circle of green at the heart of Central Square, commercial sponsors displayed their frozen calling cards. Although these are nothing more than etched-in-ice advertisements for various products and services, kids and parents stop to admire them just the same. Walking around the Square snapping these images, I overheard a handful of different individuals greeting old friends: “Hey! How long’s it been? How’s your mom?” Although Keene’s too large for everyone to know one another by name, enough people know enough other people to make a walk downtown seem downright homey, a town full of villagers coming together to see the sights.
And if you thought it would be a snowy day in Hades when I gathered the nerve to photograph other people’s children, brace yourself. Although I can’t speak firsthand about Hades, it’s cooler than cool here in Keene, and even the frozen pigs are flying.
- And speaking of cooler than cool reasons to walkabout, check out the Eye’s on-the-spot blog reporting of the Gates in New York’s Central Park. Hmmm, looks like the kind of thing a camera-wielding Zen Mama just might have to go and check out for herself. Stay tuned…