Tell me about your local summer festivals

I just got back from “It’s Better in Mentor Days”, a weekend event held by the nearby suburb with the usual high school parking lot amusement rides and greasy food vendors lined up along the small amount of midway leading to tents filled with local services selling their wares.

Around these parts, there’s one of these festivals a week after July 4th, usually held by small local cities or churches, though for some reason the festivals seem to be smaller this year than in past.

So tell me about the small local festivals you guys have in your part of the world.

We have the Fog Fest every September. A few years ago I was helping out the local cable station filming the Fog Fest parade. Said parade featured some sumo-sized Mexican guys wearing nothing but loincloths and feathery headdresses, a group of festively-decorated goats and dogs, a marching band formed of about six people, the “Rustiest Car on The Coast” and a team of very old guys carrying stalks of pampas grass shouting “DOWN with PAMPAS GRASS!” over and over.

Needless to say, I have not attended in years since.

A couple months ago I attended the yearly “Asparagus Festival” in beautiful Stockton, CA. It was like an outdoor all-day concert with a cool car show tucked away in back. The X-games team was there with some tight skateboard/inline/bike tricks on the halfpipe. As for the asparagus, well basically there were many booths selling fried asparagus and asparagus salad and all this stuff. It wasn’t particularly good food, although certainly better than a corn dog.

Oh, since having a URL is the “big thing” in Cali: http://www.asparagusfest.com

Did they have a “smelliest urine” contest?

We have the Blackberry Festival, which is an affair with music and pie and a lot of blackberries, which have a tendency to grow every fucking place around here. There is also Whaling Days, which is stupid so I never go to it. If you expand “local” we have Bumbershoot which is I think the largest urban festival in the United States. 140something acres worth of food, art, and best of all world class musicians. All for 15 bucks! There is also Seafair, Bite of Seattle, and Folklife, all of which I try to see some of.

Milwaukee has Summerfest (which is one of the largest music festivals in the country) and assorted ethnic festivals all summer long. Basically there’s a big (20,000+ attendee) festival every weekend in the Summer and tiny church festivals on every block too. Oh and there’s State Fair and Harley Days. Yeah, we make up for a lot after the spring thaw. Ainah-hey?

We’ve got more sweetcorn festivals than you can count around here, including the National Sweetcorn one in Hoopeston (which includes the National Sweetheart Pageant–a beauty pageant for all the Miss <insert state> first runners up from the Miss America pageant).

Plus, there’s a local strawberry festival in the early summer with free ice cream and strawberries, the Taste of Champaign-Urbana, and Ebertfest (Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival).

Here in beautiful Walnut Creek we have the Walnut Festival–practically right across the street from my house. Crappy rides, crappy food, and a guy dressed like a big walnut. Oh, and Eddie Money performing this Friday night for all the soccer moms. Two tickets to paradise? I think Eddie can’t get enough scratch together for one Greyhound ticket to Barstow.

We have a garlic festival. Among the olfactory-assaulting delights are pickled garlic, garlic candy, garlic ice cream, and such a variety of culinary creations with the stinky sprig that it rivals Bubba-Gump Shrimp. There is also the annual “Ode to the Clove” original garlic ditty sung by a sufficiently aromatic choir.