Saturday, May 03, 2008

Beef Fest Redux

This weekend was Spring Fest, an event that I rhapsodized about in this space last year. Not a street fair (since it takes place in a grassy park, and there's really not much to buy) and cozier than the county fair (we can walk there, and had no problems getting curbside seats for the parade) Spring Fest is in a category by itself. Last year, Jarrah was only two and not talking much, and called it "Beef Fest" for reasons known only to her. Since the lovely smell of sausages permeates the place (and because it's funny), the name stuck.

The build-up to this year's event was intense. I talked about it constantly and tried to recruit everyone we know into going. Most people were polite, but the look in their eyes suggested that they think I don't have much going on in my life. Jarrah heard about it so much that for the last month, she woke from every nap exclaiming, "I go to Beef Fest now today?" Sometimes she even cried when I said "Not yet." Of course, it's not like she would remember how much she liked it last year, but I was so goofy about it, she figured it had to be good.

If anything, we had even more fun this year. I know you're relieved to hear that, Readers. For one thing, this year we remembered to bring money (!) so we didn't have to spend Friday evening gazing longingly at the other folks enjoying their ice cream. For another, we had the company of Jessica and Yea-Yea both days, and of Mary, Paul and Joy today. As I'm fond of telling Jarrah, it's nice to share.

Last night, we lit out shortly after Nia, and Jarrah had her plan in place. "First Dumbo ride, then popcorn, kay?" First, though, we had tri-tip sandwiches, which David and I agreed were the best we've ever eaten out of doors. Already the event was surpassing expectations! There was some dancing (aka flinging and falling) to the great Beatles cover band, Rockola. And finally...the Frog Hopper.

The Frog Hopper is a sort of pulley ride that rises high and then drops you, suddenly and at intervals, down to the bottom. You only have to be 36 inches to ride, but I can see how it would be alarming for someone of any age. Both Jarrah and Yea-Yea looked ready to lose their lunch after about 15 seconds. Both went on record to say that it was scary and they wouldn't be doing it again. Sound reasoning. But about 10 minutes later, Jarrah mused, "I ride again, and I like it next time."

And apparently, she wasn't kidding. This morning she told David, "I had dream that I rode Frog Hopper, and now I like it." We didn't pay much attention, but she kept talking about it. And dammock if she didn't mean what she said. She rode it again, more stoically this time, and right before we went home today, she rode once more and grinned the whole time. It was pretty cute, dammock.

There were many, many other attractions to today's portion of Beef Fest, starting with the parade, which we saw most of from primo seats at the beginning of the route, where--as David noted--the participants still have the best candy. Yes, candy. David suggested it was a reverse Halloween--we sat comfortably while people in costume pelted our ankles with big handfuls of Tootsie Rolls and Dum-Dums. The parade itself is the most small-town spectacle you've ever seen that goes on for 90 minutes. It ranges from hairdressers from the local salon sporting beehives to little kids doing karate demos to school principals waving from convertibles. Two of the best-loved features are the Shriners funny cars (often with Elmo or Big Bird riding shotgun) and the tricked-out low riders, bouncing up and down, what Jarrah calls "the bumpy cars."

Beef Fest has its charmingly wacky moments. We were dealing with a mini-tantrum under a shady tree when we were suddenly accosted by Frank, who was dangling an orange handkerchief and wanted to know if we liked magic. I know, I know, sounds like a recipe where all the ingredients make a fabulous penis souffle at the end, but really, he was incredibly sweet. He got the girls to assist him in about 5 different magic tricks involving cards, ropes, coins and scarves, and then thanked us profusely for being his audience before disappearing into the afternoon. And the girls thought they were super-lucky for getting a private show (with three parents there, of course.)

We had a yummy lunch, we had "Make-Your-Own Slushies" (how smart is that?) we danced crazily to the bands in the mild, breezy sunshine, and we supplied tickets for several trips through the blow-up obstacle-course/slide thing-os. We frolicked in bubbles blown by a 10-foot tall Uncle Sam on stilts, shilling for the Republican Women's Group. We practically shut the place down. How is it possible to enjoy more than five hours in the park down the street from our house, you might wonder? Ah, that's the magic of Beef Fest. Go next May, and discover for yourself.


Smitten Knitten said...

We had so much fun at beef fest with you guys! Looking forward to next year already!

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of this blog -- how you slip "dammock" in. :) My second favorite -- the picture of you and David in your cute little matching sun hats! :) xxx Lix

Jennifer said...

After telling annoying kid stories at lunch the other day....about some of those wackadoodle kids in our classes, I told your "dammock" story. We needed a funny story! They loved it!!! Toddlers are much cuter to us these days than 5th graders! Can you tell school is almost out for the year?? :)

Mary said...

We had a great time with you guys, too!

I can see why you get excited early on. Beef Fest puts all those other "Street-Tar-Too-Hot-Swap-Meet-Fests" to shame!



The Wades said...

Jarrah is gorgeous!

I just love the word dammock. My friend, who has checked out your blog and finds it totally amusing,wrote "dammock" on a piece of paper during a meeting we were in on Sunday. It was so funny--just think--your daughter's perfect word will soon be mainstream in alb, nm! :)

Glad you had fun at beef fest.

The Wades said...

"I know, I know, sounds like a recipe where all the ingredients make a fabulous penis souffle at the end, but really, he was incredibly sweet."
I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this line. :) Great stuff!

I saw the same thing on the dictionary page about bandana. It just seemed that bandanna was the preferred, esp. when blogger didn't approve of bandana. But if you, my wise and proofreading friend approve, I'm switching back to bandana. It just looks better! Man, I need to get a life! Dammock!

Samantha said...

@Bandana Gal:

You can't imagine how pleased I am that you commented on my penis souffle line! It was my favorite! :) I was hoping someone would notice it! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm "Wades" peeping NM friend that has been desperately waiting for the next installment of Jarrah's life...and dammock, life has just not been the same with out any! I love her antics and adorable words. Please don't leave us hanging much longer!