Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Return of Beef Fest

This weekend was our neighborhood Spring Fest, which I've recapped for the past three years. Missed those bewitching posts? You can read them here, here and here.

If you'd rather not and are wondering about the name, Jarrah didn't understand (or couldn't say) "Spring Fest" four years ago and thought we said "Beef Fest." And there's a lot of beef there, so you can guess the rest.

This year, my Beef Fest Experience was sadly truncated by a previous engagement at a little old theater in Point Loma, and since it would be hardly fair to the rest of the cast to plead a previous engagement, I had to skip the evening festivities and a Saturday night karaoke contest (which David totally wanted me to try out for anyway, especially when he saw the other potential "talent" auditioning with such showstoppers as five-way "Baby Got Back." I said, "If they picked me, I'd just be disappointing them! They'd be waiting breathlessly at the Main Stage at 7:00 p.m. for my big number, and I'd be miles away." I gotta be fair to the fans.)

But I was rarin' to go Saturday morning for the big parade, whose charm is that it's NOT big--some highlights of which are pictured here. There are strolling small businesses, kids doing karate and playing instruments, local politicians and principals, and Shriner funny cars to behold in the hour-long extravaganza. But for Jarrah, the sole reason for the parade is the shower of candy raining down on our perched-on-the-curb-nearest-the-start-of-the-parade-route heads. They are always overly generous at the beginning, and within 10 minutes Jarrah's purse was bursting with Beef Fest bounty.

There was a new concessionaire this year, resulting in different rides, including bumper cars, Jarrah's new fave. Driving a little car is even more fun if you're actually encouraged to slam into people. I'm glad she hasn't developed my childhood bumper car phobia: I would spend the whole time staring nervously at the ceiling where the sparks flew, expecting my hair to burst into flames at any moment.

Because everything is a little better at Beef Fest, there was a pony ride that was actually a ride, not just a tired circular shuffle. A gal would saddle up two kids at a time and trot them around the park, which was just perfect for Jarrah and Joy, though Jarrah was a bit disappointed she didn't get the "pink" horse (as you can see, she got over it.)

Jarrah picked her favorite car at the classic car show--the yellow one--and a bunch of roadies invited J and J up on stage after School of Rock left to showcase their sweet mash-up of "Money Money Money" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb."

What's not pictured here is me, wandering the grass in my straw hat, smiling serenely from the weirdly peaceful, small-town vibe that Beef Fest brings me every year. Eating corn on the cob with lemon pepper. Chatting up Mary Kay reps. Consulting about solar panels. Marveling at the old photos of our neighborhood, circa 1957, in the History Booth. Getting to catch up with Mary and Paul while the girls ran happily from ride to ride.

And then there were the chair massages Mary and I had at the end of the day. A cool breeze had picked up and I reveled in having my neck rubbed while listening to little bits of Beatles covers and far-away screams from the Zipper with my eyes closed. And then for no reason at all, I got to spin a wheel and won a free massage. That's just how it rolls at Beef Fest. And p.s.: I had that massage today, and it was the perfect way to wrap up three awesome shows this weekend.

But next year, look out "Baby Got Back" wannabes. I'm entering that karaoke contest, and I'm playing to win.


Mary said...

What a wonderful way to kick off the summer!



Stephanie said...

Okay, the photo with sunglasses perched on top of their heads just kills me!