By the time the Taylor family of Lexington got in place at Limestone and Main Streets just before the Equine Spirit parade at 6 p.m. Sunday, they'd successfully downed catfish, ice cream, Kentucky ribs and at least one cherry ice.
Will, 5, had worn his stuffed horse hat all day, including during the ride from the house in his child protective seat and while explaining to a stranger that he could see you through the eye holes and, yes, he was having a very good time downtown, though his brother, Colby likes video games better.
The Taylors had room to do what they wished, with no trouble finding parking, no lines for food and no crowds to deal with on the perfectly gorgeous afternoon.
Still, by the time Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear came down Main Street leading the parade right past the Taylors, downtown had begun to gain some momentum following the lazy afternoon of what seemed more like small-town arts festival on one end and intimate bluegrass show at the other.
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A few Lexingtonians noticed the quiet. Carole Stein and Sharon Hall wondered whether the crowds were, instead, at the Kentucky Horse Park.
"At least you don't have to fight the crowds," said Hall.
Having been to Triangle Park, the two women also noticed that the prices for the art "seemed very expensive," said Hall, but "maybe they weren't meant for locals."
Seated alone on a bench while his wife inspected the art, David Chesledon of Whidbey Island, Wash., said, "I'm liking your city. What's not to like? You have bourbon and horses."
David and his wife, Susan, are here for their 15th anniversary and will stay all week, through all the dressage events at the Games.
Nearby, two children dressed in finery danced with the festively colored net ribbons draped around the trees in the park. Harper Hawkins, 6, and her brother, Jackson, 4, ran freely around the tree, disturbing no one, while their mother, Leah, watched from the sidewalk. Dogs played in the open field, too. It was busier at the Fifth Third Pavilion where many listened, but small children and an elderly couple were the only ones dancing to the music of the Kentucky Traveler Band. Leon Ginsburg, 87, and Pat Dahl, 71, are here from Boston and "where we come from, we never get to hear any country music," said Dahl, so they took advantage to take a turn on the floor. Here, fortuitously, to see Leon's first great grandchild, the pair intend to partake of all the week can offer, including several days of partying downtown and several days at the Games.
"Honey, we're going everywhere. If you want to be alive, be alive," she said.
At 4 p.m., sorority girls from Georgetown College were doing their best to sell beer from behind a portable Applebee's counter. Alyssa Potter, 21, explained that the tips from the 16-day bartending stint was a way for the sorority was making money.
Business was so bad, Layne Bush, 22, was making up a song to help it. "Come buy our beer. Please stop here. Come buy our beer."
The six girls giggled. Potter smiled and said in the beer stand's defense: "People aren't supposed to be drinking yet anyway."
Crystal Purcell, the DaRae and Friends Catering queen at the corner of Lime and Main, said she was "rocking the house" on Saturday night. But Sunday, she said, business would pick up but "not until after 9 probably."
"People go to church or they sleep late, or some don't work tomorrow, and there's no sense in starting too early. You know," said Purcell, "this is a once in a lifetime thing." And she wasn't talking about the World Equestrian Games.
"The city council has suspended the open container law for this," Purcell added, "and people like that."