Mall took place today. 200,000 of those to whom Girl Scouting (and its 100th Anniversary) is very near and dear converged on said grassy spot to celebrate, sing and, yes, swelter (it is DC in the summer after all).
Kelsey's troop decided that arriving early was best and this was likely true. We were able to snag a good spot not terribly far from the main stage and thanks to the jumbo size television screens, no one had a bad view of the stage. Technically, the morning was the preview show, but events (such as the top seller tent!) were taking place all day long. The afternoon was the main event (from 12 - 4 p.m.) and while I am sure it was fabulous, we bagged it at one. Why?
It was just too darn hot and there were too many people.
While we brought plenty of water and food, the sun was just too much, and there was simply too little shade. It was a gorgeous clear day, but no matter how much water was consumed, it seemed like we were all dragging by 1 p.m. (having arrived at 9:15 a.m.). As much as we wanted to participate more in the sing-a-long, the swelling crowds and long lines began too be too much. We finally opted out and let others take our place so they could enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
The best parts of the day:
- Swaps! The girls absolutely loved exchanging them and there were some darn creative ideas! Props to girls in Florida (bags of sand & mini fake shells) and in Maryland (Old Bay spices in a bag!). Loved the creativity and only wish Kelsey hadn't possibly lost hers (holding out for a troopmate finding them).
- The mood! Despite the heat, other than a few girls cutting in line at the water fountain, everyone seemed in a good spirits and polite was the word of the day. It did get very crowded, but leaders and girls alike remained civil and calm (not all Mall events are so kind-spirited), and with all of the people and the weather, I was surprised how no tempers seemed to flare anywhere (that's the Girl Scout spirit).
- The location! Really...it could not have been better. What better place than the mall to have such a rally? Despite the heat (perhaps earlier in the year might be better?), it really was a neat event.
Things I'm glad we thought of:
- Bringing our own food. The lines for food and drinks were insanely long. The mall almost seemed to small today as so many converged on it at one time. If you ever attend, it is well worth it to lug along a (small) cooler filled with cold water and nourishing food. We never actually found the water stations, but did make use of a hidden water fountain (until the lines for that became too long).
- Chairs! It was a tiny bit cooler to sit in our camp chairs (when we had time to sit).
- Walking shoes. We walked A LOT on the mall. Enough said if you know anything about the mall and how some areas are not so grassy.
- Lowered expectations. We weren't sure what to expect and given that 200K were slated to be there, we did not want to assume that we would hit every booth or see all of the show. This turned out to be best, as we stopped at the most important places and missed a lot of lines (not a bad thing at all).
I have to say I was a bit disappointed that there was still so much trash. Swaps were dropped, plastic bags were handed out by vendors (after Girl Scouts were advised NOT to bring bags), Dove was a corporate sponsor (huh?!) and recycling bins were few and far between. All of that being said, probably still one of the cleanest events I have seen on the mall in ages and the girls had a really good time.
Best of all? Kelsey was able to use her all access pass to the top 100 tent! Thanks to all of you who purchased cookies, Kelsey sold a whopping total of 907 boxes to people in over 25 countries and several states. She had a chance to sit in the cookie throne, decorate special sunglasses with quite a bit of bling and take a break from the heat in the special tent (perhaps the biggest treat). Oh, and yes, she totally plans on being at that tent next year, too.