Friday, October 7, 2011

The FESTY Experience - Day Two (Friday)

Continued from Day One!

After a good night’s sleep, I was up at a reasonable hour making chocolate chip pancakes. These are great from camping because the sweetness is built in – thus no need for syrup – and can be eaten with fingers – thus far fewer dishes, especially when you’re feeding nine people.

Babyman's chocolate pancake face!

The area the FESTY is set up in is a fabulously beautiful valley. Though it was plenty cold overnight, it warmed up very quickly.

View from our "front porch".

After breakfast cleanup, Kitmama headed into town to see about a new wardrobe (she found some fabulous outfits at a local thrift store) and to pick up David at the airport, while Billy and I herded the kids over to the FESTY grounds. First stop: the climbing wall, of course.

Thomas nearing the top.

LittleMan decked out for climbing.

The Pirate getting a grip.

William ascending.

Michael streeeeeeeeetching.

I couldn't believe what little monkeys these guys were, going again and again and again! Even Babyman got in on the action...

Babyman geared up and standing by.

Doin' it....with a little help from daddy.

The next big attraction was the roasting pig ("It still has eyeballs!").

(I'm not sure William made the connection between the pig and the pulled-pork sandwich he devoured - yes, they were kind enough to give me a carb count on the bread!).

Followed by the Kona Ice truck...

I think the coolest (ha!) thing about this rig was the self-serve flavorings that were available (they also had another huge list of more specialized flavors that they would pour for you). You can see the "fountain" on the lower left part of the van, just under the penguin. The guys were very nice, gave me a carb count for the size we got for the kids, and measured out the syrup to get the right amount for a serving for William.

Of course, there were grown-up refreshments as well…the Devil’s Backbone Brewery was on hand with four choices of their lovely beer on draft.

Vienna Lager in a fully compostable cup.

I was impressed with the environmental conscientiousness of the organizers. Aside from the compostable cups, they had recycle bins next to each trash bin, and compost bins next to most of them. They had a canopy set up just for the collection of compostable materials from everyone who was there, camping or otherwise. Big blue plastic bags were freely available for collecting recyclables in the campground. And throughout the campgroud they had specific areas roped off and labeled "landfill" as a subtle reminder to appropriately sort trash.

So after our wanderings and tastings, we were on hand, and right down in front, for the opening act, Sarah Siskind & Her Infamous Friends, some of the sweetest and tightest harmonies I’ve heard in a very long time. (I would have posted a link, but couldn't find one that does justice to the spectacular vocals and instrumentals that I experienced, sitting there in the grass).

The Pirate and daddy (with The Infamous Double Hat).

BabyMan, post-snack.

By the time we returned to camp, the previously empty campground was loaded to the gills. Kit and David pulled in just as we showed up, and we tossed together a quick dinner before heading back to the grounds for more music and fun.

My overall impressions of FESTY after the first day were very favorable. The grounds themselves are contained in a fairly small area, so it’s easy to find and hook up with others in your party (especially helpful when you’ve got a pack of kids). There isn’t too much “stuff” going on, not too many vendors, so the area does not feel cramped. There’s plenty of lawn area to sit and take a rest, and you can hear the main stage bands from every area of the grounds. And there is a second stage with performers playing while the main stage is quiet. There were plenty of porta-potties, which were frequently serviced, and the overall organization was very smooth.

I really appreciated the more relaxed approach in the kids’ area where parents were on hand, but not hovering and squirting sanitizer on everything every ten minutes and telling their kids the “proper” way to do their crafts. Most of the kids were running around barefoot and everyone was pretty much doing their own thing the way they wanted to do it. It seemed to have been enough of a shift for Michael that it inspired him to really sit down and focus on his “art” for longer than I’ve seen him do before. He spent a good half-hour simply coloring a coloring book page, completely filling in all of the spaces, and meticulously staying inside the lines, something he’s never done before. Even at the climbing wall, it was assumed that everyone (including the kids, with some parental oversight) had enough common sense to stay safe with minimal rules posted. Notice most of the kids in the pix are climbing bare-footed, which is most efficient, but which is generally a violation at other walls we’ve visited.

But the best part of FESTY, aside from the fabulous music (obviously), is the people. I did not come across a single person, either working for the FESTY, a vendor, or a visitor, who was not friendly, kind, and pleasant. There is a great blend of people attending, from young families, to college-aged people, to older generations who’ve been attending these types of festivals for decades (think Dead Heads). There was a wide range of fashion choices walking about, and I don’t remember ever being anywhere before and seeing so many people who were so comfortable with themselves and how they present themselves to the world (or, at least, the world of FESTY). Lots of cute dresses and skirts with boots; patchwork baggy pants on guys; unique layerings of unexpected fabrics and articles of clothing; over-the-top dreadlocks; and more tie dye than I’ve ever seen in one place before. It really got me thinking about how I might indulge in developing a more unique sense of personal style as I mature.

The only thing I would like to see changed for next year is the vendors. The food vendors were great, and I believe all were local eating establishments. I enjoyed a fabulous lamb gyro, Thomas and William had the pulled pork sandwiches, and Michael snacked on some outstanding home-cut spicy fries. But, the “stuff” vendors were disappointing for me. I felt sure that I would be able to find a sunhat (I left mine at home, and really needed one!), but there wasn’t anyone selling sun hats. Some of the vendors were selling art or crafts that were handmade, but there were also vendors selling stuff made in China. I think this would be a great forum for presenting artisan-level crafts (with an emphasis on sustainable or Earth-friendly), making it a secondary focus of the FESTY. After all, at least for me, Bluegrass and Artisan Crafts go hand-in-hand.

More tomorrow!

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