Each year around this time I have some of the fondest memories of the Band Festival. When I was young and living on the farm, it was such a treat to go downtown and experience the live music provided by the marching bands as well as the floats and the all around merriment. I believe there is far more of an affect on a person just being there and a part of the celebration rather than listening to it on the radio or watching it on TV. One thing I really do hope begins to happen in the near future, is that the Band Festival committee decides to change the route to where it travels down the four blocks of Federal Avenue. Perhaps they are waiting to have the Store Front project completed before the band route is changed back to Federal Avenue. So many of the really old black and white photos that I have seen of the festival on Federal Avenue are fabulous.
I visited with a professional who is renting a restored upper floor of one of the historic downtown buildings several weeks ago and he told me he really loves living there. He said he didn’t think he would like it at first but now he said he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It’s funny how the circle of time continues to repeat. Most people don’t know that in the very early years of the growth of most cities including hundreds of years ago in Europe, the business owners lived in the upper floors of their commercial buildings. It makes sense. Being the closest you can be to where your livelihood is created makes it easier to keep a close eye on your business. Looking forward to the future, I hope that this desire to be close to the historic district of Mason City will encourage the return of young professionals to be in walking distance of the downtown. Maybe we will see a big surge of GenY’s wanting to de-convert the old apartments houses back to single family residences that surround our downtown. Maybe we will be in the national news someday talking about a community that got it right. We can only stay positive and encourage our young to look beyond the “now” and starting working towards the future of our beloved Mason City.