A “gathering” is an assembly or meeting, especially social or festive, held for a specific purpose.
The Columbus area has enjoyed several gatherings this summer: Red, White, KaBoom!, Platte County Fair, Downtown Runaround, Sidewalk Sales, Duncan RibFest, and, most recently, Bellwood Daze. And Columbus Days, a four-day celebration Aug. 15-18, is just around the corner.
These gatherings keep us connected and give us reasons to enjoy one another’s company. We work hard; our youth study hard; and life passes by all too quickly. Taking time to connect with friends, neighbors and new acquaintances over a picnic table or along a parade route is about as traditionally American as it gets.
The Columbus Days Committee chose the Hawaiian theme of “Aloha Columbus Days!” and it has been rewarding to see our businesses embrace the theme by dressing Hawaiian on Fridays and decorating window displays. Despite there only being 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet (a, e, i, o, u and the consonants h, k, l, m, n, p and w), the language adds a lyrical lexicon to the fun. For instance, Aloha, as you may know, means “hello,” “goodbye” or “love.”
If you always enjoyed the United Way Duck Run, Frankfurter Wiener Dog Race, Cornhole Tournament, Talent Show, and Turtle Races, there will be new contests to try, such as bed races on 13th Street, FlowRider at the Pawnee Plunge, and a teen luau karaoke.
And who doesn’t “aloha” a barbecue or street dance? These are staples of Columbus Days, along with talented performances by gymnasts from Heartland Gymnastics and dancers of Barb’s, Lynette’s and iDance studios. Local musicians, including the Columbus Community Band, Columbus Jazz Orchestra, and All-City High School Drumline will also perform. Then, at the “pau hana” or end of the day, you can enjoy the musical sounds of Wicked Fun, Arcade Radio, Joe Cockson, Sheila Greenland Band, The Coconuts, and Los Viejitos. In fact, you will enjoy them so much, you will ask for a “hana hou” or encore.
The All Ford Car Show entices auto connoisseurs, while the “Celebrate Ag Lunch” honors our farmers. The Pet Show attracts animal lovers, while the YMCA Color Run appeals to sport enthusiasts. Special Olympics participants can learn the hula and dance to the Ukeladies, and all “keiki” (children) can enjoy a Hawaiian movie in Frankfort Square.
Are you getting the gist? Columbus Days offers something for the entire family or “ohana.” That’s because Columbus is a family, a family of diverse individuals, talents, cultures, backgrounds, professions, and industries.
Visit ColumbusDays.com to see an entire schedule of events or stop by the Chamber for a handy pocket copy. Oh, and one more thing … “Mahalo!” Thank you!
Jeanne Schieffer is the president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.