Celebrating Community

The Sweet Home Chamber’s awards picnic on Saturday night was more than the recognition of individuals who have contributed significantly to our community.

Awards got presented, all right, to very deserving recipients.

But it was also very much a celebration of, well, the relaxation of the restrictions we’ve all experienced for an excruciatingly long time.

On a warm summer night, people hugged and laughed, told stories and quaffed some cold ones in the friendly confines of Sankey Park, sandwiched between the new play structure (which continued to be played upon as the event progressed), and Weddle Bridge. Ames Creek gurgled below as Jobe Woosley and Co. warmed up for what essentially was a full hour-and-a-half concert.

This was community. People coming together to appreciate big local contributors of time, effort and kindness, but also just to rub elbows and enjoy seeing faces rather than just eyes and scowl lines.

Community, at its core, occurs when people communicate with and relate to one another. Sure, that can happen to some extent on the internet or over the phone, but there’s nothing quite like up-close-and-personal.

That picnic was good fellowship, good food, good times.

So if you missed it, you missed out. It was well-planned and despite the temperature in the high 80s, well, nobody appeared to be suffering. They were too busy having fun.

Here’s the good news: the chamber picnic was just a warm-up, for the band, and maybe for the rest of us.

Because this weekend – 2 p.m. on Friday, to be exact, Jobe and the gang will be back in Sankey Park, opening the festival on the Deschutes Stage.

And this Jamboree is going to be more than just a festival as well. It’s going to be a celebration for a lot of fans – we’ll have to wait to see how many, who may be enjoying live music for the first time since – how long ago was that?

Sure, there will likely be a lot of traffic (by Sweet Home’s standards), cell-phone slow-downs, celebratory fans in the streets after the shows, heat and a lot of really loud music. But even if you’re not a country music fan, you can celebrate the fact that people are out, walking around, healthy and enjoying and experience that they’ve been unable to have for two years.

Enjoy it with them. Things are different.