Task 002: Independence Day Carnival
The sun was shining in through the bedroom window as Starlee began getting dressed for the evening. For the first time in ten years, she was going to be able to attend one of her most favorite events in Fairhope; Independence Day Carnival. It was a huge deal for the small town. People seemed to come from miles just to participate in the annual event. Growing up, Star attended every carnival with her parents. During her father's first term as deputy mayor, it had been a political outing. Starlee wasn't allowed to be seen with anyone other than her parents. She couldn't be seen hanging around with the town hoodlums. Star always found a moment to sneak away though. The carnival brought back so many beautiful memories for Starlee and she was more than excited to get to go this year. She finished getting dressed in her denim cut-offs, and her red crop top and slipped her feet into a pair of sandals. Grabbing her keys and her sunglasses she walked out of her door and headed off toward the fairground.
The different smells of the carnival greeted Star first. There were the sweet smells; churros, fried everything, and Starlee's ultimate favorite. As she approached the cotton candy stall. It was the most nostalgic part of the carnival for Star. She smiled as she slid the money down and stood back to wait for her light as air spun sugar. While the pink was prettier to look at, she always thought the blue cotton candy tasted better. Pinching off a bit she let the sugar dissolve on her tongue as she navigated her way through the different people. She could tell that some people recognized her. She was sure there were whispers as she walked by, but the truth was that Starlee didn't care. She could let them talk, let them whisper. She was eating her favorite sweet treat, and walking around a fairground she never thought she would see again. Sure, this was a celebration for America but deep down, Star believed it was a celebration for herself as well.
Starlee loved seeing all the happy people. The carnival was the perfect way to bring people together, even if it was only for one day. She walked past the various game stalls. The ones where parents would drop giant amounts of cash to appease their screaming child. Everyone trying to win one of the top prizes. The sight brought back so many fond memories of herself as a child, trying desperately to win the goldfish in the middle of the cluster of glass vases. Chuckling to herself, Star moved along. She tossed her empty cotton candy away as she passed a trash can and made a second stop to buy some lemonade. The evening was wearing down, and bright lights were starting to twinkle all around her. People were passing by her heading toward the field at the pack of the fairgrounds. That was the best spot to view the fireworks that would be lighting up the sky later on that night.
Starlee could hear familiar music and knew what she would come to when she rounded the next bend. In the middle of the fairgrounds stood the only way Star would be found on a horse. The carousel was like a beacon of hope for Starlee. Her whole life she had been terrified of real horses, but the frozen, galloping horses of the carousel seemed to fill her with joy. She sipped on her lemonade, as she put herself in line. It had been ten years, and Star was now a grown adult. She needed this circular ride to make her feel like the kid she was when she was stripped of the life that she knew. She could help but smile as the horse she sat upon moved up and down, the lights blurring just a little as she twirled around. The music ringing in her ears just added to the nostalgia. She could have stayed on the ride all night, but there was still so much to see before the night was over.
The ride stopped and the children filed out in front of her, like a little parade to find their parents and move on to the next ride. She kept walking along the dirt path until she came upon another popular attraction of the carnival. It was a little petting zoo where people could reach over a fence and pet a few baby animals. It was like a magnet pulling her in. Reaching down, she scratched the head of a sleepy baby goat before she moved along on her way. The air smelled of sweet southern barbecue and the paths were lined with flowing American flags. It was all leading to the final stop of the carnival. The crowded pathways opened up in the crisp green field. People were already gathered, as the sun was nearly set. To her left, was the Ferris wheel loaded with people who were waiting to watch the fireworks from their dangling chairs. Starlee found a pile of wooden boxes and took a seat. Just as she did, a single red light filled the air, signaling the show was about to begin.