Songkran, WGI, and #JLS5K
After settling back in Chiang Mai in mid-March, I got to experience the "hot season"....also known as the smoky season.
Why is it called the "smoky" season, you ask? Well, it's when all of the local decide they want to get rid of all tourists and they terrorize the area by....
Around this time, every year, farmers in the surrounding area officially end the harvest season and begin prepping their land for next season. To do this, they burn of the harvested crops. Since there a MANY farms around Chiang Mai, and the city is located between mountains, the smoke just kind of settles and sits in the air. Climate-wise, there tends to be a lot less rain during this time of year. Whenever there is rain, the air pretty much clears up...but it gets back to being smoky as farmers continue to burn crops.
This period of time usually ends by early/mid-April. From what I've been told, rain picks back up, coincidentally, during Songkran (the Thai new year). Ironically, Thais celebrate Songkran by taking to the streets in MASSIVE water "fights". I quote fights because it's all in good fun. People line the streets with water guns and buckets to drench each other, along with anybody traveling on the road. Not gonna lie, I wish the US New Year fell during a later month so that we could do this. So much fun!
Right after Songkran, I made my way back to the States, ending up in Dayton, OH. While Dayton isn't known for much by most people, it has a special meaning for the marching arts community. Aprils in Dayton are home to the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships. I've been going to Dayton for the better part of 12 years now. Even after aging out of the activity (ie. passing the maximum-allowed age limit), it's still fun to go and see the groups perform. Also, it's a good time to reconnect with old friends who live throughout the country (and the world).
If you're curious about what these championships are for, check out the videos I've posted on YouTube.
After Dayton, I headed home to Pennsylvania. The primary reason I ventured back to the States this time was to take part in my family's fundraising event, Julianne's Journey. This will be the 4th year in a row we've held this fundraiser. All proceeds go towards my sister's scholarship. If you're curious about the 5K and/or the scholarship, check out our website and Facebook page for more information.
After 3 years of cold/wet weather, the sun finally joined us this year (though it was mostly hidden behind clouds )! Lots of people came out to participate in the 5K run, 3K walk, and the 1K Kid's Run. In addition to the runs/walk, we also had numerous basket raffles, a 50/50 raffle, and even a free photo booth!