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Has your neighborhood returned to its normal, quiet self? No more “rockets red glare” or “bombs bursting in air”?

Have you joined the growing number of Fremont residents who have bought all of the chicken wire available from local hardware stores to enclose their patios...as a defense against mosquitos?

Are you ready for summer normalcy around here?

Well, too bad. John C. Fremont Days is next week.

Take it from me, next weekend will be anything but normal.

Let’s talk about festival “normal”.

Normal means to buy root beer from Lil’ John’s. They will return. JCF Days could not occur without them. Bring last year’s bottle.

Not normal means you need to drop by the Union Pacific shop at 12:45 pm Friday to see Big Boy, the oldest UP steam engine around. We rarely have the opportunity to include this guy’s visit to Fremont during the festival. Take advantage of it.

Normal means to visit with your friends over watermelon around 8:30 Friday night...right before the balloon glow at Splash Station. We are welcoming five balloon pilots this year. Depending on weather, a couple may fly Saturday morning. Fingers crossed!

Not normal means to go see a Moo’s game. Rumor has it Leopold Moeller will appear. Baseball is a new partner in the JCF Days schedule.

Normal means to attend the rodeo. We have added some new people to the mix. Some new events. Mutton busting is still on the schedule.

Not normal brings us to the 9/11NeverForgetMobileMemorial. First time this exhibit is visiting Nebraska. Driving in from Connecticut, the semi will be escorted down Military Avenue at approximately 5:30 pm Thursday to its parking spot just south of city park. Flags will be available for bystanders. We expect a large number to visit this free exhibition. To reduce your time standing in line, we ask you to pick up your entry pass at the Information Booth. This ticket—only 100 per hour to be given out—guarantees your entry. For instance, blue tickets allow entry from 3 pm to 4 pm; gray tickets from 5 pm to 6 pm, and so on.

Normal means to attend the Chautauqua Tent for the magic, the music or the Little Miss Fremont pageant. We’ll have hand fans for you.

Not normal means to drop over for pie at the Methodist pie parlor...and food court! Yep, they have expanded their menu. Use caution crossing Broad Street.

Normal means to walk downtown through the hundreds of cars on Saturday. Feel free to display your knowledge about 327s, V-8s, muscle cars, “rebuilt vs bought”, coupes, dual exhausts and all other “car jargon” you care to throw around.

Not normal means to attend retired history teacher Rich Hirschman’s presentation at Milady Coffee House at noon Saturday, entitled: “Nebraska, It’s for Everyone”. Yes, Rich is not normal.

Normal means to show up for Sunday’s parade even though it’s “Summer’s Hottest Weekend.” The firetrucks will cool you off.

Not normal means “Floats After the Floats” returns to our festival schedule! Be one of the first 1,000 people to go to Midland University’s parking lot after the parade. Hurry!

Normal means we will do this again next year.

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Don Cunningham of Fremont is a freelance columnist.

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