Fred had a co-employee that was from the Mission area and told him about the BIG flea market that was in Mission that was held only on the weekends, so off we went to find it. Well it was just out of Mission right at the city limits of Alton and it was big. Covered both sides of the road and you had to know which side you wanted to go to as they both were very different. Now knowing we went to both; one side was really very much the locals that came there with their garage sale items and/or just whatever they had. We found livestock of all sort, hay, garden plants, electronics, and just about anything you could think of being sold out of the back of their trucks. It was interesting to say the least.
The other side of the road was more commercial I guess you could say as they had actual booths/store front areas. This size all had the farmer market area and the fruits and vegetables were right from the field. Some of the best fruits and vegetables you could get in the area.
The following weekend we headed back to get more vegetables (loved having fresh vegetables) but when we got in Mission the police was closing off streets, bleachers were along the road, and there were BBQ teams located along the side of the road, so we stopped to see what was happening. As we walked around we found out that the Citrus Festival was that day, so we stayed to see what was going on. There were booths set up everywhere selling all sorts of things as well as food booths.
The BBQ was a cook-off and we never found out how you could get some of it. There were local dancers and singers performing.
Than the parade – WOW. The parade route was 3 miles long and had 190+ floats. (Oh by the way, it was election time so the parade had a lot of political floats). The bleachers along the roads was so you could sit and watch - a seat cost you $2.00 per person and then it was your reserved location for the parade. Right before the parade started the BBQ trucks came down the parade route and stopped in areas selling sandwiches and drinks. This was something new for us as what we see at home is vendors walking up and down the route selling their things, but that was not allowed here – only the BBQ trucks. The other thing that was usual to us was that there was no beer, wine or liquor sold anywhere in the festival.
Then the parade started and boy is was a parade – lasting about 3 hours. After the parade things just ended and everyone packed up and left. It was a very interesting day.