Slated to run through Memorial Day, the Rotary Carnival gives everyone who needs a reason to visit downtown, the perfect reason and the rest of us a reminder of just how marvelous the waterfront area truly is.
You could use the Rotary Carnival as an opportunity to walk the Heritage Trail along the riverbank or to watch the amateur fisherman from near and far laboring in the shadow of the Laurel Hill Bridge as they pull out a bewildering variety of fish every time I wander by. And that's not all.
There are always groups of three or more people of various ages on the grass near the newly reconstructed embankment engaged in Tai Chi, which I don't understand but I find relaxing to watch. There are bands of children playing tag up and down the steps of the gazebo even as small flocks of gulls, ducks, crows and sparrows quarrel over incredible edibles that human wanderers have left lying about.
Downtown is a place most of us, some have suggested too many, drive through as rapidly as we can on our way to someplace else. It's odd and a little sad at how our waterfront is never anyone else's someplace else or someplace special for anybody. We can change that but we have to want to change it.
It is a place to literally watch the river flow and marvel at what time and tide reveal as the day moves along. The Rotary Carnival will add its own seasoning to an area of our city that has enough novelties and nuances for all of us already. It'll give us another reason to explore what we already have while enjoying what's only available for a limited time.
The Rotary Carnival attractions will include an eighty foot high Ferris Wheel that will take up all of Market Street and whose riders, while at the top, might, on a clear night, be able to see all the way down the Thames to the Sound. Maybe, while we're up there, we can finally see the promise in our own city that so many others who travel through Norwich can see so much easier than we.
There will be some unhappy about changes in the flow of traffic and where they can park which is sort of funny since are absolutely perfect as they are right now in downtown. All that's actually happening is the fun stuff gets moved to the middle where it's easiest for everybody to get at it.
There will be thrills and chills and spills because that's what carnivals always are and that's what they always do. And we'll have ice cream and cotton candy, popcorn and candy apples while bumping into friends and families we know from our neighborhoods as we rush to take it all in. And don't forget the try-your-luck booths and the exotic indulgences that every child and every child at heart always enjoys.
"We're all in the same boat ready to float off the edge of the world, the flat old world. The street is a sideshow from the peddler to the corner girl. Life is a carnival--it's in the book. Life is a carnival--take another look."