Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's festival season...

Yes, when you live in an area densely populated with Catholics, summer means you can start gearing up for church festivals. As best I can recall it, here is my personal festival evolution:

Phase 1: a grade schooler who spent 85% of her time at the candy booth, trying to win whole boxes of jolly ranchers, sugar daddy’s, or the always popular jumbo bag of PAL bubble gum. A creature of habit, I always placed my quarter on the 10/20/30 trio as my uncle’s neighbor spun the wheel. I continued this routine until I had secured enough candy to participate in the neighborhood candy poker game throughout the summer. This consisted of 5 or so tweens sitting around my friend’s bumper pool/poker table using candy as the kitty for 5 card draw. We had our own system of weighting the candy (ex: 5 PAL bubble gums = 1 stick jolly rancher.) We reeked of coolness.

Phase 2 in the festival evolution: In the high school days, festival attendance was merely a social event. I don’t recall playing any games during those visits, but I do recall spending time figuring out which short shorts to wear before attending.

Phase 3: It seems I should have a collegiate themed phase 3 in here, but I don’t have any special memories of that time. Many might say that the phase marked an important turning point in that they could officially enter the beer gardens and experience the festival the way so many church going folk do. However, I tried to avoid this, knowing that I would inevitably run into someone who wanted to make a big deal of the fact that I was drinking a beer because that wasn’t so much my image in high school.

After several years of only minimal festival attendance, I now find myself in a 4th phase.

At the start of summer, I turned to my husband and said “we’re about to kick off festival season.” Although we aren’t quite as intense about it as Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are about wedding season, we did verbally map out some of the festivals we could make it to this year. You see, in phase 4, church festivals provide an opportunity for an “outing.” Yes, nothing more than a reason to get out of the house and go to a place that welcomes our children with wide open arms. The duck pond, the sucker pull, and of course those rides…the kids delight and we might even run into a few people to talk to along the way. We just hit our 4th festival of the summer over the weekend. It was a bit steamy out, but overall, it made for a nice little Sunday. We’ll be closing the summer circuit with our home parish’s festival in a couple weeks.

Looking back, there have been some highs and lows from the first four festivals of the summer:
Festival #1: An all around low. Jumped the gun a bit and arrived before it started on Friday night. I suspected this may happen, but my husband assured me it would be open. Not the case. I played through my agitation and tried really hard to find watching the local meteorologist broadcast from the bungee wire even remotely as entertaining as all the people gathered around him seem to think it was. The heat and temptation of set up booths with no workers was ultimately too much for the young kiddies to handle so we headed out for a creamy whip instead of waiting until start time.
Festival #2: My husband’s childhood parish. This was during prime potty training time and thus my daughter and I took 3 trips to the port-o-lets which was a real treat. Overall, though, it was a pleasant night.
Festival #3: Attended with our neighbors and their two kids. Memorable moments include the bus ride from the remote parking lot to the site of the festivities…my older daughter felt pretty cool sitting next to her friend on the school bus. The funnel cake tasted especially good that night.
Festival #4: My childhood parish. Noticed my uncle's neighbor still working the candy booth, though the prizes were paltry compared to what they used to give out. (Part of the junk food crackdown I suppose.) My younger daughter rode a ride for the first time. She sat next to my older daughter who gave a report every lap that “she like it mom, she like it.” Pretty darn cute, NTB.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there still a treasure chest at festivals? I kind of remember picking an envelope hoping it contained the $1. Good times! You are a much better mother than I. I am afraid I would have abandoned ship on the potty training if it involved trips to the port o let. M

PITA said...

9-19-29

MEP said...

Our parish festival is an Octoberfest in September, if you want to make one more stop on your festival tour! My favorite festival prize was the box with 24 packs of lemonheads inside.
I also enjoyed the Nevada game, where you picked the cardboard tabs to try to line up three bars or cherries or whatnot.

Anonymous said...

I miss festivals--none in VA Beach despite the heavy Catholic population here:( We always had a cake walk at the SPS carnival. That was my favorite:) Lori

Anonymous said...

We too have been on the Festival Circuit this summer. I am happy to say no trips to the Port-o-let. Your memories made me laugh.

Thanks
bdavin

 
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