Saturday, October 22, 2011

Festivals and Bazaars

This weekend there are no fewer than four festivals in my town. With all the recent festivals and church bazaars, there is no lacking of things to do around here on the weekends.

I think the crunch of festivals this weekend is because the university is in a off week in the football schedule. I know that there are more weddings scheduled for this weekend than almost any other three fall weekends. So the social calendar is full of other events. Oysters, Blues, Italian food, Greek food, Okra and Chitterlings are all being celebrated this month. The state fair is also in full swing with all the gastronomical delights and disasters that comes along with it. So everyone is walking around with a slightly bigger waistline these days.

I have already written about fair food, but this year they have added fried cool-aid as the latest addition. This obsession with frying things that have no business being fried started back in the nineties when someone started serving fried Snickers bars. I thought they hit a new high, or low, depending on your point of view with Krispy Kreme Cheeseburgers. Yup, instead of buns, they wrapped these cholesterol monstrosities in Krispy Kreme donuts. I kid you not.

Festivals and bazaars have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Back in the day, I attended my first church bazaar. It was wonderful and magical. The play ground was converted into a fairground with all kinds of simple games. One of my early favorites was Go Fishin'. We would be given a cane fishing pole with a clothes pin instead of a hook on the end of the line. We would put a dime in the clothes pin and "cast" our bait over a quilt held between two poles. The game worker would take our dime and replace it with a prize and then tug on the line like a fish would. We would then pull he line back and retrieve our prize. It was simple but we would be guaranteed to win. To a 7 year old, that was fun!

In a way, those old church bazaars have a hand in guiding me to my DJ career. One year, my Boy Scout troop set up a demonstration camp in the corner of our bazaar. We had seven or eight tents set up and were cooking hotdogs and hamburgers with s'mores for dessert. There was a band playing from a flatbed stage in the middle of the bazaar and I was chosen by the scoutmaster to go over to the stage between sets and tell the audience about the display and invite them to come over and share the treats. I was so nervous that I could hardly jump onto the state the first time. But only that first time. That did it; overcoming my fear of public speaking called out the ham in me that never quite went away. I was hooked into entertaining people.

So, a simple task so far back into my childhood that it is almost obscured by the mists of time lit a spark in me that still burns today. Tomorrow, I am performing as DJ and Master of Ceremonies at the annual Greyhound Pets of America reunion. That kid is still walking up to the microphone, this time without sweaty palms and a lump in my throat, but filled with the almost overwhelming anticipation of helping people have a good time. Oh MY!

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