In 2009 the Sunnyfest will officially start on the evening of July 2nd, at 6pm. Rain date is 10 July.
Sunnyvale is a quiet town located southeast of Garland, maybe two miles beyond the point where Broadway crosses the east-west stretch of IH 30 and turns back into Belt Line Road* for a while. It’s not known for much (except maybe as a shortcut to get to Town East Mall and environs), but it does hold a happy little Fourth of July celebration called Sunnyfest every year. Sunnyfest is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, because it combines your standard small-town charm — a la the Cedar Hill Neighborhood BBQ Cook Off I reported on a few weeks back — with the flavor of a big carnival or fair: in other words, all the expensive State Fair-type food and drink were there at the usual prices. Such consistency does my heart good, it does. Makes me feel right at home. More at home than I felt at the remains of Garland’s Star Spangled Fourth, which used to be the highlight of the year around here…but more on that next time, eh?
This year, Sunnyfest took place on July 3 at Town Center Park, which despite its name seems to be located out on the fringes of town on Tripp Road…but take a closer look, and you’ll see that it’s really right behind City Hall. That’s one of the things I like about Sunnyvale; it seems more rural than it is, and they do make it an effort to keep it that way. To get to Town Center Park, you have to drive quite a ways down East Tripp, and for a good part of the distance the street is lined with overarching trees, so you seem to be driving through a living tunnel. Lovely.
The festival itself wasn’t huge, but it was well-attended, and I had a good time while I was there. It started at 6 PM and lasted through about 9:15, when they set off the obligatory fireworks (and a nice display it was, too). Here’s a picture of part of what I thought of as “the Midway,” taken early on, before it got too crowded. You can see some of the food booths and such.
Most everybody brought their own coolers and chairs, since after all they were there for the fireworks. They had a lotta gumption, I’ll say that; it was as hot as the hinges of hell, as one might expect of July 3 in any year. Fortunately, there was plenty to do. The grown-ups wondered around and visited, while the kids played at the various attractions the city had brought out for the day. For those of us who preferred to stay in the shade at or near the central pavilion (which was overcrowded within 10 minutes, naturally), there were the musical stylings of this guy to keep us entertained:
He was good, but I never did find out his name.
And of course, there was one of these — there always is at one of these gatherings, these days.
Oh, and there was one of those cute trampoline/bungee contraptions that I’m seeing everywhere lately. Kids love these, especially the girls. I have no idea why. My joints ache just looking at these pictures; it’s hell, getting old. Try to avoid it if you can.
There was a full suite of those bouncy inflated things that you always see, too. I have no idea what this was meant to be, really. A jump castle of some sort, I guess.
This, however, was kind of cool: it’s an inflatable slide. Yup. Even has stairs — inflatable stairs — that you can climb to get up to the top. What the heck are they gonna think of next? How the heck did they do that? Maybe there was a wooden or plastic stairway hidden up under there; I dunno.
Oh, and another cute thing for the kids that I was rather taken by: this little train. It worked pretty well for taking the kids around the jogging route that loops around the lake. Oh, sure, it was slow; but who cares? It was a train. The kiddies loved it.
As far as I could tell, all this stuff was free, though I might have been wrong; the lines were pretty long, especially for the bungee thing, so I didn’t wait around. I never saw any people taking any money or tickets, anyway, nor did I see any signs advertising the prices. Now, that’s a real community event, right there — where the community pays for the basics, without trying to wring every penny possible out of you. Are you listening, Wildflower Festival? (Yeah, I’m still cranky about that.)
Also free was the nice big park they held the event in. Town Center Park includes a lake with a fountain, which at the right angle produced at prodigious rainbow in the spray. Alas, I was unable to capture that with my camera, but this is what it looked like otherwise.
The lake was kind of low, and I’m not sure how fishable it is, though I did observe quite a few small fry near the dam. There weren’t too many people there when I was taking photos; the city doesn’t like people to get out there on the dam, and no wonder. Bit of a drop-off, there. It’s a nice little lake, though.
Okay! Sunnyfest was an enjoyable opportunity to get out and meet the locals in a pretty, well-appointed park. They even had well-organized (and free!) parking, which is a great plus. The event is over for the year, but if you happen to be in the area next year before the Fourth, check out Sunnyvale’s home page at http://www.townofsunnyvale.org/index.asp?NID=169 to get the skinny. It’s free to attend.
*Which, as longtime residents of DFW know, can be found just about everywhere — Garland, Richardson, Dallas, Carrollton, Farmer’s Branch, Coppell, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, crossing Highways 20, 30, 75, and 45, yadda yadda, blah blah, etc. I have no idea how one road manages to be everywhere at once. Magic?