58 years and counting
The Lakeville Journal Editorial
Of all the things to take for granted, something like Canaan Railroad Days is one that should never be. How many other towns have events like this that have survived for 58 years? Especially in that it spans five full days, still, though it was for years even longer. It includes multiple activities that would take enough planning for all the volunteers in town on their own: a carnival, fireworks, a firefighters’ parade, sidewalk sales, special giveaways and games at businesses, free rail rides, a vendor fair, tent sale, road race, outdoor concert and car cruise, a barbeque chicken dinner with an annual raffle; and that is still not even close to all of it.
Thanks to so many sponsors who help fund the events (go to www.canaanrailroaddays.com to see them all on the sponsors’ page), this great variety of things can happen, just about all at once. And many thanks to John Lannen, who has stuck with the planning for all of it for years, and who has learned so much about what works and what doesn’t over that time. John listens to those who attend and who volunteer their time to make it all come together, and plans accordingly for the next year. And thanks to the hordes of volunteers who come together to make Canaan the destination for that five-day long weekend in the summertime. Without their commitment to making all of it happen, it never could.
For newcomers, this wealth of activity must seem like a lot going on in one week; and for those who have been part of Railroad Days for decades, there are surely those events they will miss: Remember the ping-pong ball drop? How about the rubber duckies? If you have a favorite event you miss, why not contact Lannen and offer to help for next year? There is only so much the group of volunteers can accomplish, but if their numbers grow, there may even be new ideas that engage area people of all ages and continue to alert them to the vibrant and welcoming town that Canaan is.
If anyone doubts that, we hope you took part in one or more of the activities surrounding Railroad Days. You will have seen a side to Canaan that makes all in this town proud, and should. The midsummer festival that takes over the streets of this town every year is unique, unlike anything you will find in any town across the region. Thank you to all in Canaan who make this the extraordinary time of year it is, not only for Canaan residents but for people across the area who visit Canaan in July and see the changes that have happened since the previous Railroad Days.
We are all looking forward to next year.