It’s right here

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Did you see it?
Kids playing in Papa’s Playground, boatloads of people on the river, entire families camped out on blankets — a sea of faces, some of them familiar, some not.
Did you see the Jeanie B. sail back into harbor as night fell?
Her decks awash in light, heads turned as the schooner glided along the waterfront, docking just in time for the symphony’s performance.
Did you hear the music?
Floating in the air, filling Festival Park, spilling outside its boundaries, up Main and Market streets, over the water. Children danced in front of the stage as music alternately lilted and swayed, thundered and roared.
Did you watch the fireworks?
Bursting amongst the stars above, reflecting on the river below, a display topped only by the symphony that came before.
Beaufort County’s 300th anniversary celebration took over Festival Park in Washington Saturday. Thousands turned out for the event, an all-day affair topped off by a performance by the North Carolina Symphony, followed by fireworks.
Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.  In the days since, we’ve heard it mentioned only in glowing terms.
And when recalling the event — the music, the crowds, the weather, the sense of community and camaraderie — one statement seems to come up over and over again: “I thought I was somewhere else.”
Of course, the 300th anniversary committee should be commended for planning —  and the county commissioners and many other sponsors commended for funding — the spectacular event. They also need to be recognized for doing something far more significant: for showing everyone the purpose of public spaces like Festival Park and why they are so Important, and for giving every person there the opportunity to see ourselves, together, as a community — a community that loves music and art, its green spaces and river, spending time with friends and family.
“Somewhere else” is right here.