Friday, June 20, 2008

Superman Celebration 2008

By Lonnie Cruse

I don't imagine there are many small towns (less than 10,000 residents) where local residents observe various superheros wandering around downtown in full costume and think nothing of it. For Metropolis, Illinois, it's business as usual, particularly the second weekend of June. Left is a picture of the bike ramp with some brave soul about to jump it.

Last weekend was the 30th Superman Celebration in downtown Metropolis, Illinois. Hubby and I watched with interest as the tents went up on Market Street and carnival rides on Highway 45/Fifth Street. I had a tough time focusing on setting up my author table, with the smell of fried Polish sausage and onions mingling with the frying of funnel cakes, and the sound of ice cream (homemade by a guy using some sort of antique engine to churn/freeze it.) You name it, someone was cooking or mixing or selling it all up and down Market Street. Fried Oreo, anyone? Yes, they are yummy.

I generally set up my table out in front of Humma's Drug Store (local family business.) Gotta love those folks at Humma's, they stock and sell my books all year around and let me do signings under their awning every year at the Superman Celebration. Problem is, the hot sun usually runs me off by 3 P.M. OR a thunderstorm. I don't do lightning.

This year the Metropolis Chamber (I'm a member) invited me to set up a table indoors with other writers and artists. It was a tough decision. I gotta confess, I was a bit nervous about whether readers would find me there, since I'm known to hang out at Humma's. (The chamber also stocks and sells my books too. Local support, it keeps an author alive during lean months.) I shouldn't have worried. The crowd was large, as usual, and someone was showing movies in the same building, so traffic was steady for both days. To my surprise (not to mention pleasure) I sold double what I normally do at the Celebration. Ahhhh.

I had a great time schmoozing with faithful readers like Cookie and Brian and Helen, and I met lots of new readers, including the extremely good looking Joshua, the new Superman for the Celebration. Since we were situated at the far end of the activities, I missed the chance to chat with Noel Neill, Lois Lane in the television series. She is one lovely lady and I adore her. Maybe next year. She's been attending the Celebration for a very long time. The Chamber is working on erecting a statue of her as Lois Lane to compliment our huge Superman statue, situated at the courthouse. I bought one of the bricks that will help pay for Noel's statue, and it will be placed somewhere near hers, engraved with my grandsons' names.

The Superman Celebration brings superhero fans from all over the U.S. and other countries as well. And many people dress as their favorite superhero. I watched as "Robin" repaired one of his damaged boots at the booth next to mine.

There are lots of vendors selling memorabelia. Contests are held to choose the best Superman impersonater, Little Mr. Superman, Super Girl, Super baby, etc. One of my grandsons was Little Mr. Superman several years ago. Friday night we watched a friend participate in the Super Race at Massac Park. The year I participated, I took third place in my age devision. (That would be "older than dirt" if you're interested. But hey, a trophy is a trophy!)

It's surprising how many people are willing to travel great distances to celebrate a superhero. It's a fun weekend here in Metropolis, and I hope some of you will join us next year. I'll be the one in the Superman T-shirt, selling books. And eating fried Oreos.

We did get hit with an enormous thunderstorm Friday evening and the water backed up out of the gutters and onto the sidewalk. It slowed traffic for a bit, but it takes more than thunder and lightning to scare off your basic crowd of superheros. I waded in ankle deep water to get to my vehicle. Next day was sunny and calm. And a bit cooler for a change. Well, until Superman wandered by. Did I mention he's a hunk?


Kaye said...

Lonnie! Look at you with that handsome Superman. Don is going to punch this guy out if you don't watch out!
I loved this post, Lonnie. These are the types of celebrations that make a town special.
And, it doesn't get much more special than Superman and Metropolis

caryn said...

I love the photos and I agree with Kaye that it's the celebrations that make living in a community special-unique. I agree with Kaye on the hunk too-that is one handsome dude.

Julia Buckley said...

Lonnie, I wish I could attend that Metropolis event! It sounds really fun.

And what a cute picture of you with the Hunky guy. An even cooler guy is the husband who probably took the picture!