Since 1978, the city of Odessa has gathered in August to celebrate the history of the town and enjoy rides, games, activities, and contests that remain vivid in the memories of the countless attendees, and it was held to instill pride in Odessans and their hometown. The event was named after the trains that stopped every few miles along the tracks, delivering travelers and salesmen to and from bustling small towns like Odessa. This type of travel turned dusty little towns into thriving hubs of business and other activity.
Puddle Jumper Days acts as a homecoming for many former Odessans who travel from all around the country to visit with their families and friends. It also acts as a sort of homecoming for current Odessans, as it brings feelings of nostalgia for younger years spent enjoying the charm and excitement of a hometown fair.
Over the years, plenty has changed in regard to what activities and events are still held, but the old standbys can still be found. The parade remains the big draw for crowds on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the chugging and rumbling of the Optimist Train can still be heard. Happy children continue to ride the rails of the tiny train as their parents reminisce about their time spent on it years before, circling round and round as the smells of cotton candy and kettle corn filled the air.
The celebration should reflect the pride and joy Odessa citizens take in their hometown, and it is important to remember that, with a little effort, we can make it as sweet as our memories.