(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
The little town that could.
It’s becoming a more common theme in Chewelah. Someone plans a little something, in this case Tara Sheppard-Anderson suggested or thought out loud on Facebook that businesses should decorate their storefront for Homecoming.
I figured it would be great if a handful of businesses would don the blue and white for everyone to see, and offered to take photos for social media and the decorating contest put on by the Chewelah Chamber of Commerce.
Instead, dozens of businesses decorated for homecoming, and not just a sticker here or there. Dr. Larson’s office had tarps, some businesses broke out balloons and I think someone even constructed a statue of Coach Gump, but that could just be me watching “Varsity Blues” too many times.Tons of people also seemed to be genuinely excited and happy for homecoming to be coming up.
Chewelah rallied around a community cause, as once again it struck a nerve in a lot of people. Then, at the game, the stands weren’t only full but the crowd was rowdy. That’s the loudest I’ve heard the stands in a while, and when a late hit went uncalled there was a choir of yells from Chewelah people I hadn’t heard since they tore down McDonalds.
Usually, Chewelah sports is off in its own little world, the Chewelah Arts Guild is doing its thing, the Kiwanis and Lions Club are having a grand time with themselves and many community or church groups are chilling as well. But there are a handful of events every year where it seems like everybody comes together.
It was great that it wasn’t just talk about the football team, because Homecoming is more than sports – although it’s super nice to see Chewelah defeat the No. 6 team in the state. There were businesses that decorated with a volleyball theme, there were about 1,000 photos of the JHS band after the game and the cheerleaders did just about everything you could think of last week.
Chewelah should turn Homecoming Week into a celebration for its schools every year. Make it just like Light up the Park or First Thursday. We need a parade through downtown again like they used to do. There should be some events for adults in the week leading up or after. I would pay good money to attend a “Mr. and Mrs. Chewelah event” if someone would put that on.
The Kiwanis and Lions got in the spirit with burgers after the football game and I saw people at Snyder Field I hadn’t ever seen at a football game. It’s more about community than the sports at hand, and if there is something that pins us all together, lets make it about our schools. Perhaps Chewelah games can also be a forum for letting people know about other big community events and connecting them somehow. How great would it be if Light up the Park could bring some pumpkins down to the football field? What other town does that?
Colville used Homecoming to kick off their downtown’s “holiday theme” for the year and I think Chewelah should do the same. We’re basically in the holiday season now with Halloween, then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Being a newspaper editor, I know there will be 10,000 holiday events in town from here to the end of the year, so why can’t Homecoming be the event that kicks it all off?
SIDE NOTE: Ballots are coming out, vote for proposition 1 for Chewelah Schools, lets get working phones and intercoms in our buildings. Your taxes won’t go up as Chewelah is already paying a levy for the new track and field. It’s a win-win!