The fiddle festival was in town last week! I had so so so much fun! I always love that little festival each year, love the camaraderie in the air, the music, the sunshine, and the inherent nostalgia for a different time. Love the visitors enjoying a town that’s close to my heart, the excitement from the shop owners and residents, and the busyness of main Street. The town really comes alive for those few days.
This year I was able to enjoy the festival a little more than I have in a while, even if it was the smallest version of the festival yet. I didn’t end up in charge, or helping much at all, with the float for our local charity, and while I missed being involved more in the planning and building, it was a much needed change to just enjoy everything as a tourist. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again, if you are tired of living where you do, try playing tourist for a day or two and see if you can restore a little of that goodwill, at least temporarily. Everywhere I’ve lived that advice has worked, especially when I am especially fed up with the day to day.
Thursday I went into town to soak up some of the atmosphere on our main street. Our main street is actually called state street, and main street more or less just connects state street to the highway. State street has its ups and downs, right now a lot of the little mom and pop stores have had to close up, and when the grocery store collapsed a few years ago and had to be rebuilt, they chose to leave state street and move out to the highway for a bigger building and lot. It was a smart move for them but a bit of a rough one for the smaller businesses on state who enjoyed the impulse stop business of customers on the way to grocery shop.
Nonetheless it was light and happy all up and down the street, and its neighbors, on Thursday. First stop was the second hand bookstore, or course, where I managed to spend so much money it was a little silly. But I love to support local businesses and I really love old books so, win win, ya know? I got so many fun titles, my intention had been to pick up a couple Agatha Christie titles, because while I love my kindle for some things, mystery novels sometimes need to be physical. You need the dusty smell of the old book, the well loved pages, the slightly damaged cover where someone clearly clutched it too hard while reading… these all add to the perfect mystery book. And let me tell you, I found some great examples. I’m So excited to read them.
Then we went to a music store, focusing primarily on stringed instruments used in bluegrass and folk styles, but they also carry a few other things. My brother fell in love with some electric drums, and to be honest, if I can swing it, I might know what to save for his Christmas gift (don’t worry, he doesn’t read this blog). I wanted to ask about mandolins, as I’d really love to learn in my theoretical free time (the same theoretical free time I’d love to use to read more, learn languages, reintroduce myself to piano, etc) but some actual, legitimate musicians came in around that time and I opted to step back, since there was clearly a sale to be made there whereas I was just information gathering. Also, I live here, so I can go back whenever, no biggie. Of course no tourist day is complete without stopping by the candy shoppe, which also serves lunch and snacks. I got a soft pretzel with cheese, which I haven’t had in a while, and very much enjoyed the snack.
Finally we moved onto the festival grounds themselves after meeting up with a few of my extended family members, and while there were some cool things (I purchased some freeze dried candy, which I had never seen, taffy and skittles, and it is a new obsession), unfortunately as of late the festival itself has been slowly declining. I take some comfort in knowing it’s done this before, and comes back better than ever, but my love for this festival, and this town, makes me want to get involved and try to help fix it up. Unfortunately, anyone who’s dealt with small town politics knows why that’s a very daunting, possibly unattainable, goal.
But don’t worry, we still listened to the music and walked through the small festivities before scaring the pants off the workers at our local pizza joint. Twenty two people in a party is a lot for a Thursday evening.
The parade was on Saturday and, like I said, while it felt very weird to not be involved, it was so much fun to see the parade for the first time in years as a spectator. It was a short little parade this year, which makes sense with the smaller feel of the festival all together this year, but the turnout was big. It was so fun cheering on the charity and some of my family from the sidelines, as well as getting to see all the lovely participants. Lots of local Pageant Royalty, lots of horses, I was super happy to see the local 4-H participating as they had a bit of a rough patch. I got to reinstate my tradition of getting a fancy drink for the parade, usually I try to get something uniquely fiddle-y if I can, this year I tried a mint latte from the ever popular candy store. While we waited we also hunted down a small pawn shop that was new to me, and saw some lovely vintage jewelry.
All in all it was just a lovely time, got to reconnect with my town, unplug and get away from the normal, and see some family. I definitely need to take my own advice more often and go play tourist. My family often does, and I always “have to work” but this was a good reminder that work doesn’t trump everything.
Until we fiddle again my friends!