Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day of Rest

My neighbor has a maple tree in his yard and at this time in October it aligns perfectly with the setting sun which turns the tree into a natural kaleidoscope just for me. Today has been a day of rest for the Watson household. After two fun but grueling days at the Frog Festival and Chili Cookoff, we were both spent. We went out for breakfast this morning and came back to the Sunday paper. We drank coffee and listened to "A Place Without Noise" on the stereo. We napped and read all afternoon.
We spent Friday setting up for the Frog Festival. It was a wacky day because there didn't seem to be a plan and no one in charge. Worked proceeded in spurts and everybody spent a lot of time looking around and scratching their heads but slowly things started coming together. Someone brought in a flatbed truck for the music stage and someone else showed up with a truckload of bamboo. Why the bamboo I asked. "Well we went after corn stalks but we took a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong cornfield and the owner took a dim view of a bunch of strangers cutting down his cornstalks," he explained "so he ran us off." They knew they couldn't come back empty handed so they improvised. In the scheme of things it worked out just fine as a fall festival did however look a little like the pictures of illegal pot you see in the paper after drug raids.
The city had American flags from Veteran's Day so we used them as a back drop at the back for the music stage which made the photos of the musicians really cool.
On Saturday morning vendors started showing up at dawn with stain glass, painted goards, scented candles, redneck yard art, parched peanuts, handmade crocheted items, and huge hickory BBQ grills. By 11 a.m. you could smell the shredded pork and the ribs. A line soon formed at that booth and was there until all the food was gone. I would have paid to lick the forks. It was that good. There were clowns, and people dressed up like Batman and Spiderman.
The music started at noon and continued until about 7:30 p.m. Jilda was the stage manager and set up the sound man and all the bands. All the bands played for free. Late in the evening the sound guy called her over to say that he had done sound for festivals all over the south and he was amazed by the quality of music.
Our friends Mark and Frog Palmer closed down the show with a scratch band. Mark has a band called Deja Blue (Blues) and Frog is with Henri's Notions which is a really well know Celtic band. When we call Frog to ask him to play, he told us up front that his band could not play but that he would put something together. These guys had never played together as a group but you would never have guessed it had they not told us. I am amazed at what I heard.
We closed the stage after dark and help the sound man pack his trailer and we were home by about 9 p.m.
We were exhausted but it was a lovely day. The weather was good and the community came out in force. We had hoped to have 1500 people...we had over 5000. Small-town festivals are the best. It was like a reunion. I saw people I hadn't seen in years. When people come up to thank you, you usually get a hug too. At at time when people are pulled by football, NASCAR, and other large events it was gratifying that so many came to the streets of Sumiton, Alabama to celebrate autumn.

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