Friday, June 19, 2009

The Superman Celebration '09

By Lonnie Cruse

Every year the second weekend in June is the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois. Folks come from all over (unfortunately I don't have a head count as yet) and our small town bulges at the seams. Even in this tight economy, the crowd seemed to be fairly large. If you squint really hard you can see the famous Superman statue in the center background of the picture.

Used to be the Celebration started on Friday and ended on Saturday, but when I went downtown Thursday to Humma's Drug Store to deliver my books, vendors were already setting up on the street. (Bless them, Humma's has stocked and sold my books for as long as I've been in print. And you can bet when that new huge chain drug store opens fairly soon, Humma's will still have MY business. Where was I?) I'd forgotten that Thursday is the day for vendors to set up shop, and this year they were already selling their wares as well. Likely they've done that before and I didn't notice. As soon as the vendors start setting up, all the side streets are closed, so I wound up lugging a heavy box of books twice the normal distance. Below, Humma's sign over the store is to the left of the tree. Note the picnic tables in the middle of the street.

The next day I set up shop on the sidewalk in front of Humma's. They don't seem to mind the competition of me selling outside while they sell my books inside. First part of the day was overcast and cool, but around lunch time the clouds parted and I sweated. Time to close up shop and go home. The other vendors had tents, but I was in a freebie spot with NOOO cover. I sold fairly well, so a good day, but by the time I went home, a recent shoulder injury was bothering me so much that I cancelled selling the next day.

I mentioned the Celebration used to end on Saturday but now runs until Sunday. Lots to see and do, contests for the kids, the adults, prizes to win, celebrities to goggle at. I missed seeing Noel Neill this year. She was the 50's Lois Lane on television with George Reeves as Superman, and a nicer lady you will never meet. In her mid to late eighties, she comes every year to greet fans and sign autographs.

I went to the Celebration with a Slimfast tucked into my bag, but that plan fell by the wayside (or should I say into the gutter?) as soon as I realized I'd set my table up extremely close to a vendor with funnel cakes. Took me two days to eat that sucker, but well worth it. The vendor behind me was an artist who created beautiful items from blown glass. He got most of my profit at the Celebration, with the lady next to him getting a chunk as well for her homemade chow chow. (For the unfortunate who've never tasted it, it's sort of a relish made from green tomatoes and other good stuff, and you spoon it onto a bowl of beans that have simmered all day in a pot, with some ham chunks. Yum! And I can't wait to simmer a pot of beans!) Beyond that, I managed to get off of Market Street without buying anything else. It was a close call.

I don't know of any other town or city where you can see multiple superheroes hugging or taking pictures of each other, besides Metropolis, Illinois.

I also snapped a picture of a rock climbing wall, which I don't remember seeing last year, but hubby assures me it was here. No way was I climbing that thing. Curbs are about my height limit, thank you!

On Thursday, some out-of-state folks I met at previous Celebrations, Chris and Helen, asked me to meet them for lunch. Lovely lunch hour! I was hoping to connect with Cookie and Brian this year, but we somehow missed each other. These are all fans who come to the Superman Celebration year after year. And who keep me in business as well.

Metropolis, Illinois is an interesting town at any time of the year. And lots of good ideas for writers, particularly during the Superman Celebration. Ya'll come!


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a lot of fun. I'm trying to get my husband to stop in Metropolis the next time we're driving on vacation this fall, but to go to the celebration can go on my "to do" list for the future.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It sounds like a big day! I love the idea of different superheroes coming out for pictures.

The funnel cakes sound good, too!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I'd forgotten it was that time of year again, but I wore my Superman T-shirt this week--Lonnie got it for me by request at last year's festival--in honor of my granddaughters' visit, so I'm right in tune with the fun in Metropolis.

Julia Buckley said...

Lonnie, now I know how you keep your beautiful figure--you bring Slim Fast to Street Fairs. This is something that would NEVER occur to me. :)

I hope you sold lots of books.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Okay, anybody coming to Metropolis, give me a shout (email) and we'll meet.

Liz, glad you are enjoying the shirt.

Julia, my "beautiful" figure is growing, hence the Slimfast. Sigh.