Thursday, November 25, 2021

INSIDE with the Festival Nomad (No. 13)

 Over the years I have attended, worked with and organized hundreds of festivals and events. With this new series, "INSIDE with the Festival Nomad", I want to give you an "inside" look at some of the festivals and events that I have been involved with or that I have visited. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun and sometimes frustration, but I have never been bored!

ACROSS CANADA … Up Island

I think Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities in North America. It still retains its “Old British” charm! Tea at the Empress Hotel is a must, especially if you have any “British blood”! When we arrived on Vancouver Island we drove straight to Victoria. We were early enough to spend an hour or so sight-seeing. Victoria is a very expensive place to stay! So we decided to drive a short distance out of town to the Village of Sooke. There was a camp ground in Sooke that suited us and our needs. That night we had a fabulous meal at a Chinese Canadian restaurant. I don’t think that I have had a better meal! The next day we spent exploring Victoria and the Foot Rodd Hill Historic Park. Refreshed after a relaxing day, we packed up the van and started off towards “Up Island”. The trip takes you along the Malahat Highway. It is a spectacular trip and one well worth taking. There are several interesting towns along the way, but the one I was looking forward to was Chemainus. I had first visited this interesting town twenty years before and was anxious to see how it had changed. It has an interesting history. A few years before my first visit it had been a lumbering town with one main employer. The employer decided to shut the mill down and let all its employees go. Most towns facing this type of challenge would “fold up” and fade away. Not Chemainus! Some enterprising residents suggested that they hire several artists to paint murals on the sides of many of the buildings throughout the town. Each artist was instructed to paint an accurate painting of historical life in the area, but were to include one small inaccuracy in the scene. Once the murals were completed (with inaccuracies) the town offered a reward to visitors if they could identify all the inaccuracies. They offered a sizeable reward to the first person who could identify them all. Word spread about this unique contest and people “flocked” to the town. It has now become one of the most successful communities on the island. Artists, seniors and business people have chosen it as a great place to live! It's known as "The Little Town That Did"!

Friday, November 19, 2021

INSIDE with the Festival Nomad (No. 12)

 Over the years I have attended, worked with and organized hundreds of festivals and events. With this new series, "INSIDE with the Festival Nomad", I want to give you an "inside" look at some of the festivals and events that I have been involved with or that I have visited. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun and sometimes frustration, but I have never been bored!

ACROSS CANADA … Crossing the Rockies

As I said, I had had a number of people tell me how monotonous crossing the Prairies were. I didn’t find it that way at all, and I don’t think Judi did either. I found beauty all around us,; the interesting little Prairie Towns, the fields of waving wheat and the long straight roads. The sun, especially at dust, was spectacular! However, after traveling so far on flat ground, reaching the foothills of the Rocky Mountains was a pleasant relief. I had traveled to Calgary many times by air, so coming into the area by automobile was a new experience. Calgary, itself, is an interesting city, full of life and excitement. Fortunately, we had two good friends who lived in Calgary and they had offered to let us stay with them while we were in the city. Our friends, Melody and Dick Farmer, are wonderful people and we always have a great time when we visit them. At this point in our trip, our stay in Calgary was going to be very short, one night! Our plan was to drive straight through to British Columbia. We had arranged several appointments so we were on a tight schedule, plus, we had to get back to greet the “Queen”! For anyone who has taken the time to “Cross the Rockies”, I am sure that you will agree with me that it is an amazing trip! Along the way we stopped at Yoho National Park. As Judi’s notes in her trip diary, “ground squirrels, mule deers, very spectacular mountains, green, clear rivers, and lush forests!” I think that sums up our Rockies experience! We arrived in Langley, B.C. in time for a meeting with the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF). From that meeting we went directly to the ferry that would take us to Vancouver Island!

Friday, November 12, 2021

INSIDE with the Festival Nomad (No. 11 - Continued)

Over the years I have attended, worked with and organized hundreds of festivals and events. With this new series, "INSIDE with the Festival Nomad", I want to give you an "inside" look at some of the festivals and events that I have been involved with or that I have visited. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun and sometimes frustration, but I have never been bored!

ACROSS CANADA … Winnipeg and the Prairies (Part Two)

After a successful visit to the Assiniboine Zoo, we climbed back into our van for the long trek across the Prairies. Someone once told me that it was the most boring time that they had ever taken. To me, a city boy, it was one of the most exciting! The fact that you could see for miles ahead was awesome. Passing through the small prairie towns with their tall granaries towering in the distance were a sight to see. Judi and I took numerous photographs! Many have become inspirations for some of Judi’s paintings. Along the way we stopped in search of towns such as Swift Current to visit the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Regina to visit the Plains Museum. Our over night stop over was at Riding Mountain National Park. Here we found peace and solitude! The remainder of the trip was uneventful and we entered Alberta with great expectations. We were about to stand a few yards from the QUEEN! 

Friday, November 5, 2021

INSIDE with the Festival Nomad (No. 11)

 Over the years I have attended, worked with and organized hundreds of festivals and events. With this new series, "INSIDE with the Festival Nomad", I want to give you an "inside" look at some of the festivals and events that I have been involved with or that I have visited. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun and sometimes frustration, but I have never been bored!

ACROSS CANADA … Winnipeg and the Prairies (Part One)

After our “Interesting” experience the night before, the next day had to be anticlimactic. To some it might seem like that, but to Judi and me, it was the start of our great adventure! As I mentioned in a previous article, one of the purposes of our cross Canada trip was to promote Canadian Wildlife artist, Michael Dumas. Michael, an internationally collected artist, in conjunction with Buckhorn Publishing, together, offered to create original paintings that could be made into fund-raising limited-edition prints. Our first stop in this regard was Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Zoo. This is a world class zoo with a fantastic reputation. And, like all facilities of its type, it’s always looking for unique ways to raise additional funds. After we had made our “Michael Dumas” presentation to the zoo’s management, we were invited to a private tour of the zoo! It was an amazing experience and certainly gave us a different perspective of zoos and zoo keepers! Over the years we have been invited to visit other similar facilities, but this first experience was certainly our most memorable.

(To be continued)

Friday, October 29, 2021

INSIDE with the Festival Nomad (No. 10 - Continued)

Over the years I have attended, worked with and organized hundreds of festivals and events. With this new series, "INSIDE with the Festival Nomad", I want to give you an "inside" look at some of the festivals and events that I have been involved with or that I have visited. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun and sometimes frustration, but I have never been bored!

ACROSS CANADA … Where to Sleep? (Part Two)

We had just gotten to sleep when I was awakened with a flashing light! It was the police! The police car came to a stop behind our vehicle and an officer got out of his car and approached ours. He taped on our window and I rolled it down a crack (you can’t be too careful!). The officer bent down and said “I don’t want to alarm you (he did!) But right across the river is a penitentiary and two convicts have just escaped! We would suggest you not open your door or window to anyone!” I thanked the officer and he walked back to his car and drove away. What took place after that could have come straight from the Peter Seller’s movie, “The Pink Panther”. Police cars came passed us, to and fro, over the bridge and then back! I was looking for men in "Gorillas Suits"! Lights were flashing! Everything was a whirl! Finally the action stopped and all was quite again (so much for the romanced!) Judi and I had just gotten to sleep again when another police car, lights flashing, pulled up behind us! The office got out of his car and then tapped on our window. Once again I rolled the window a crack (still careful!) The officer said “I don’t want to alarm you, but there’s a penitentiary across the river and two convicts have escaped! I would suggest you leave this area immediately!” Talk about being alarmed! We told him that we didn’t know the area (we thought that we were in the middle of no where!) The officer said “Just go two blocks across the bridge and you’ll come to a main highway. There’s a truck stop right there! You’ll be safe at the stop!" We of course, thanked the officers and moved quickly down the road. Another night of adventure and lack of sleep! By the way, we never did find out if they captured the convicts! 

Friday, October 22, 2021

INSIDE with the Festival Nomad (No. 10)

 Over the years I have attended, worked with and organized hundreds of festivals and events. With this new series, "INSIDE with the Festival Nomad", I want to give you an "inside" look at some of the festivals and events that I have been involved with or that I have visited. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun and sometimes frustration, but I have never been bored!

ACROSS CANADA … Where to Sleep? (Part One)

We eventually had a great meeting in Minneapolis. The Hadley House people couldn’t have treated us better. After a breakfast meeting brunch and a tour of their facility, we were back on the road. The good night's sleep had done wonders for us. Now we were off, back to Canada and the City of Winnipeg. Winnipeg is almost directly north of Minneapolis and the trip can be a fairly tedious long drive! We played "travel games" to pass the time. We traveled the route without incidence and even crossed the border smoothly. The Canadian Boarder guards seemed to be less bored then their American counterparts. Of course, when we crossed the border this time, it was late afternoon. When we finally reached Winnipeg, it was early evening. we decided to drive around the city to get our bearings. We had an appointment to visit the Assiniboine Zoo the next day. Because of costs, we decided to find a safe place to park and then to sleep in the van. By the time we started to look seriously for a place to park, it was becoming quite dark. After much “driving around”, we found what appeared to be the perfect spot! It was a parking lot located right on the edge of a river. It was a clear night, and the moon reflected in the ripples of the water. Very romantic! After we parked, we settled down for a good night’s sleep! Judi was in the back of the van and I was lying back in the driver’s seat. What happened next was hard to imagine!

(To be continued)

Friday, October 15, 2021

When in doubt…turn right…again!

 Okay, so I’ll admit it! I got us lost! We left the Rockton World’s Fair on our way to the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show and I got us lost! I turned right (at the advice of Judi’s festival tips – “When in doubt Turn Right) when I should have turned left! However, when you really think of it, her festival tip actually was correct, because every time we came to a dead end, I turned “Right” and finally, after a lot of "Rights", we were on the “Right” road to Simcoe and the Norfolk County Fair. All through the trip we used all manner of “help”! First we turned to the “Google Map” directions that I had printed off before our trip began. I must admit that I was quite tired when I brought the directions up on the Google Map. I had reversed the directions and had us traveling from Simcoe (Norfolk Fair) to Rockton! Bad move, this really messed up my sense of direction! Everything was reversed. To make matters worse, my natural “internal” compass, seemed to be broken that day! That’s when we started to use Judi’s “Festival Tips”! We turned “Right”! The “turn” after traveling a few miles, didn’t seem “Right”! Confused yet? That’s when we brought out the “BIG” North American Road Map! The roads shown on the map didn’t look anything like what we were experiencing. All too quickly we came to a “dead-end”. We turned “Right”! After determining that the “BIG” map wasn’t going to help, Judi rummaged in a bag she had been given at the Rockton Fair. It contained an area map! We were saved! Or at least, so I thought. The roads on this map showed a little better! I were cautiously optimistic! Before we could really get our bearings, we came to another “dead-end”. Oh no! We turned “Right”! As we travelled in our new direction, we started to see some familiar landmarks. There was the church, the farm, the service centre, all familiar! We had just travelled in a complete circle! That’s when we started seeing signs saying “Simcoe this way”! I looked over at Judi; there was a very satisfied "smug" look on her face! The words “When in doubt, turn right” hung in the air!