Labor Day has come and gone and you know what that means. No more white shoes or Seersucker! Uh, no. It’s the start of a new season. I don’t mean the change from unofficial summer to unofficial fall. What with meteorological autumn and astronomical autumn and autumnal equinox and the fall TVseason the last thing we need is any unofficial season. No, the period after Labor Day is the beginning of a new festival season.
Ok, those of you who have always suspected that I’m closing in on batty it’s probably official – or maybe even unofficial. I’ve been marking the seasons by the changes of festivals for years. Winter heralds holiday festivals, spring brings my beloved maple festivals, summer is the season for arts festivals, and fall is the time for covered bridge festivals. This should be nothing new for regular readers of RRSB. I’ve brought up the local covered bridge festival before. (See “Passages of Fall,” September 15, 2014.) (Come on, give me a little break. I’ve been doing this for almost five years. We’re going to revisit some things every now and then.)
But let’s digress here for just a moment. Festivals have morphed terribly from the traditional definition. That is, “a day or time of religious or other celebration, marked by feasting, ceremonies, or other observances.” Modern festivals often include feasting, otherwise the corndog and kettle corn industries would be in shambles, but around here they’re known more for jamming as many hand-made and/or ersatz hand-made crafts, foods, clothes, and furniture into any open field and for the greatest concentration of the Square point of sale app per vendor per acre.
And that’s what I love about them! You can buy anything at a festival – and I have. Chain sawn eagle yard ornament? Bought one. Framed, numbered, signed pencil sketch? Bought one. Metal sculpted snowman family. Bought one. Commemorative newspaper front page parodying offspring’s eccentricity? Bought one. Hand-hammered silver jewelry ensemble featuring recycled place settings? Bought one. Hand-made left-handed wooden kitchen utensil set? Bought one. Full scale carved wooden Jack-o-lantern? Bought two!
Oh sure, you can buy maple syrup at the maple festivals and real art at the arts festivals and traditional Christmas decorations at the holiday festivals. But you can get that stuff at lots of places. But where else can you find a four foot, hand carved, wading flamingo carrying a surfboard under its wing? What can I say? I live for kitsch.
That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?