Tom-Foolery

Overtown and the Bizarre

Dear Rosa,

You probably referred to the town center as we still do, as Overtown. Not much to Northfield, and what there is sits in a valley tucked between the mountains. If you wanted to head to town, at least from our direction, you didn’t go up or down but  over. Never thought that was strange until I moved to Burlington.

You went what? Overtown? What’s that?

Wait until I tell you about the Bizarre…

They held it in July. God we lived for it. I’m sure my mom did, too. With a pack of five kids, four of them boys and all of us restless come mid-summer, nothing cured our boredom as when the Bizarre came to town.

Northfield’s town square is an oval complete with benches for sitting and a fountain for when someone gets the urge to turn it on. Every July it was transformed into a magical world of fried food, games with such wonderous prizes as stuffed animals, rings and the rides, and muscians of every kind. What a blast, riding a decked-out truck that looked like a train all around town.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’d walk overtown to listen to music, play bingo, watch balloons drift into the sky and eat way too much cotton candy.

They closed it down in the  ’70’s. People got tired of the organizing, the running, the mess I suppose. It never was the same without it. July needed the Bizarre and the kids of Northfield did, too.

I know you must’ve found some way to celebrate summer with your neighbors. Maybe a picnic? A swim?

The town square/oval is still there, still waiting for the Bizarre to return. And yes, the people of Northfield still call it Overtown.

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