Viroqua. I love you.
Our little town of 4,500 is unlike any other small town – in Wisconsin if not the world. Our quiet agricultural community holds a mix of people. There is the old Viroqua – the real, honest, rural folks you'd expect to find in any sleepy country town. But then there are the newcomers. The kind of people you're more likely to find in artistic corners of hip cities rather than out here in the sticks.
The "new" Viroqua community (which we joined five years ago) has come here for just that – community. A safe, quiet place to raise our families while not feeling like outsiders. I live in a small town, and yet I blend. I'm normal here. After being rural for most of my adult life I find this amazing.
Viroqua has an established Waldorf grade school, a student-run Waldorf high school, a charter high school, a new Montessori pre-school, and a vibrant homeschooling community. I don't know many cities (much less small towns) with so many options within just a few city blocks. Add to that the greatest concentration of organic family farms in the country, and we've got a good thing going here. Viroqua also boasts a vibrant natural foods coop and several fantastic local shops peppering our Main street.
Viroqua is brimming with creative free spirits from musicians and viusal artists to puppeteers, a circus performer or two, and those focused on spoken word. Last year some of these creative minds dreamt of and created Viroqua's first Harvest Moon Celebration. Looking around before the parade began last year I was amazed and the talent this little town brought forth. The quality of the giant puppets, the creativity of the story, the presentation.
This year it was even better. The giant puppets wove down Main Street spinning a story that connects us all – both Viroqua's locals and her many newcomers. This year's story was that of the grandmother. The story from birth to death, of creation and dreams, and hope. And of course that the event featured quilting and knitting elevated the whole day for me!
As for the expectation of candy being thrown to observers, our town opted for local organic squash (rolled, not thrown) and flower seeds. Awesome. As I looked over the faces in the park during the post-parade performance, I saw the faces that make this place home. This is my community. This is my home. This is our story.
Thank you, Viroqua, for being this place. For being the home where I fit in in every way, and where I couldn't be happier to raise my kids and someday grow old. Thanks for bring art and magic to our sleepy little town.