Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Parking Lottery…

Here’s an idea, I think really busy festivals and events should offer to sell potential attendees “Parking Lottery” tickets. This way one would at least have a chance for a decent parking spot.
 Whenever we go to a busy festival or event, it’s always a challenge to find a convenient parking spot! I can’t tell you how many times we have driven around for what seems like hours and miles to find a decent spot. It’s very frustrating. The was one time when I drove all the way to Toronto only to drive around for over an hour trying to find a spot that wasn’t miles away. Finally after much driving and looking I gave up and drove home. But don’t feel too sorry for the “old Nomad”. I have had some incredible luck too!
Take the time I drove, again, to Toronto. This time it was to the Beaches Jazz & Blues Festival. Now, for any of you who have visited the Beaches area, you will know that finding a parking spot even at non-peak times is an adventure! So here we were on a busy Saturday morning during the largest event of the year. We entered the Beaches area from Woodbine and turn east onto Queen Street. Traffic was at a crawl! The festival was taking place at Kew Beach. Slowly we edged our way along Queen Street. After what seemed like hours we reached the festival park. Just opposite was a street running north. As I looked up the street I saw an empty spot. I blinked, I could believe my eyes. I thought it must be a no parking zone! I am sure everyone else who saw the spot thought the same! I turned anyway. It wasn’t much of a spot, but it wasn’t in a “no parking” zone. With the help of my passengers, I edged my way into the spot. We were good for the day and legally parked!
We were lucky this day, but as I have said, more times than not we have driven around in circles trying to find a spot. Some of the more thoughtful events provide off-site parking plus a shuttle service (good for them!) but for those who don’t, a “parking lottery” just might work. And it could rise to few “bucks” to boot! There is, of course, a downside to a lottery. They would have to deal with those who paid good money and didn’t win! I would want to be the one to tell them that they still had to drive around for hours!

So, okay, maybe a “parking lottery” isn’t such a great idea after all. Happy festivaling (new word I just made up!) and remember the Festival Nomad’s mantra “DO I FEEL LUCKY TODAY”!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“Bury All Your Horses…”

When I was a kid, traveling distances with my family, we use to play all sorts of games to pass time. These days the kids play with video games, watch DVD’s or listen to their iPod, but back in my day we only had each other for entertainment! My Mom and Dad had a number of games they used to use to keep us occupied and make the journey seem shorter! Some of the games we played included: “I spy with my little eye something that begins with…”,I packed my bag and in it I put…” and “Name that tune…”. Perhaps my favourite was “Bury all your horses…”. This is a game where you find and count all the horses you see on your side of the car. The object is to see who has counted the most horses at the end of the game! One catch! If a cemetery is passed on your side and the other players see it and call out “Bury all your horses!!” you lose the count and have to start all over again. A tricky game, but a lot of fun. Judi and I play variation where you can only lose 10 horses at a time! Speaking of Judi and games, she tells me that when she and her sisters where kids they use to play board games to reduce the monotony of long drives. One game in particular that they use to play was “Clue”. It seems incredible that Judi was able to win (or lose) at will!! I told how great that was until she told me that she use to mark the Clue cards and knew right from the start of the game who the murderer was, what room and with what weapon!! I don’t think her sisters or parents knew until later in life! With all the long distances we drive today, we still use games to pass the time! However, I refuse to play, with Judi, anything involving cards!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A “Dog Day Afternoon”!!

Every once in a while we come across a funny situation when we visit a festival or event. But, when we come across two at the same event, it’s something to write about! This past fall we went on an artists’ studio and gallery tour. We traveled all over scenic Prince Edward County. After much time and mileage, we reached our final destination, the Town of Picton. Picton is a picturesque town located in the southern part of Prince Edward County. It is especially busy during the summer and fall months. It was towards the end of the day and we had only a little viewing time left to see a few more participating artists. Many of the artists we visited during the tour had their studios in their homes. The artist (who’s studio was in his home) we were about to visit was located in the south eastern residential section of Picton. After winding our way through a number of residential streets, we finally located his home. The artist was on the grass in front of his home sitting at his easel. He gave us a friendly welcome and showed us what he was working on. He then suggested that we enter his home to view his work. At the front door we were greeted by his wife. She directed us upstairs to the artist’s studio/gallery. Upstairs we were met by their son who was in charge of the gallery. After looking around and admiring the works of art we took our leave and headed downstairs and out to the front lawn. We looked to say goodbye to our host and found that he and the family dog were fast asleep on the ground. It must have been a long day! Our last image was dog and master raising their heads bidding us a goodbye. The next artist’s (a carver) studio we wanted to visit was located on a nearby street. We found his home and parked our car. We walked up to the house and went in. We were greeted by the artist’s wife who told us to take our time looking at the carvings that were placed around the living and dining rooms. As we were about to leave, our hostess suggested that if we wanted to see her husband at work we could go outside to the garage located at the side of the house. The garage had been converted into the carver’s workshop. We love to see artists and artisans at work, so we took the trip up the side of the house to the workshop. The door was open so we walked in. YOU GUESSED IT! Here was the carver, chisel in hand, fast asleep in his rocking chair! We quietly backed out of the workshop so as not to disturb him. This was not the kind of working we were used to seeing! Judging by the last two artists, it must have been a very busy day!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

You Want to Drive Where?!

This is a question that almost breeds as much terror, when asked, “You Want to Leave When”! I am not only a “time” coward; I am also a “distance” coward. It’s not that Judi is a tyrant. It’s just that she likes her sleep. If getting up too early cuts into her sleep time, you’d think that a long distance drive would be perfect! No, it’s just the opposite. Judi likes to be a “co-driver”. No, she does not want to drive herself, she just wants to “help”. This means being awake all the way!

Choosing the right event to visit is important. On any given weekend there are lots of events to choose from. You can visit our ONTARIO EVENT DIRECTORY (Click HERE for link) for a comprehensive list of festivals, events, fairs, heritage sites, attractions and communities to explore. It’s a daunting task to choose the right one.

In planning our own “Ontario Adventures”, we want our “Nomadic” wanderings to take us throughout Ontario. We want to visit different Ontario communities (large and small) along the way. And, we want to experience as many different types of festivals and events as possible! Since I was elected (Judi had the only vote!) to choose the events to visit, I have to take all these variables into consideration. That means the visits can’t all be local! Once I have made my choice, I have to inform the other half of the team (Judi) where we are going. If it is a short distance, it’s not a problem. Remember, distance = time (to leave). However, when it’s a long distance, say 2 – 3 hours, that a much different story. I get the “stare”. I feel like a “12 year old” reporting to the principal’s office. She asks me to explain where exactly it is. I try to tell her, but my answer normally trite, like “Try thinking of this trip as a great adventure!” or “Half the fun is getting there!” She normally doesn’t “BUY” my explanation, and just grits her teeth and says “When are we going?” Like a true “Nomad”, I love to travel (in a car, not on a Camel). It relaxes me! I can drive for hours without a break, so it’s hard for me to understand. The funny part is that once we arrive Judi has a great time. That’s what makes us a great team, I love to get there and she loves to be there!

Once we finish the visit everything is back to normal… that is until I tell her that there is a great festival in “Timiskaming” that I want us to visit! She is not amused!

Kid's Play...

Many of the festivals we visit are “kid” oriented. It is always fun to watch how different “kids” react to the activities and games offered. Many of the activities or games are very elaborate. I think that we have seen every type imaginable… the Midway, of course, with its rides and games; inflatable animals and buildings just right for jumping around; children shows featuring Barney, Dora, Bob the Builder, the characters from The Big Comfy Couch; the Ronald McDonald Sports Zone and Pepsi-Cola’s Climbing Wall and a whole lot more. Millions of dollars are spent each year by companies just to bring joy to children (and their parents)! So why is it that some of the best fun comes from very simple, ordinary things! Take our trip to the Spring Toad Festival at the Toronto Zoo. That day were accompanied by my three grandchildren and their parents. Yes, they loved the animals, but the area that they seemed to enjoy most was the kid’s area with their animal statues and cave-like tunnels. They climbed on the animals and crawled through the cave. No moving parts, no elaborate gizmos, no hype, no loud music, just a couple of inanimate objects! The best pure and simple fun we have seen during our travels came at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Judi and I had been walking through The Royal’s buildings and were now in the cattle area. As we had been walking for some, we decide to find a bench and sit down to rest. Across from where we sat was a young family, husband and wife and their little daughter. The parents were deep in conversation with one of the fair participants. The daughter, who appeared to be about age 3 or 4, was wandering around looking very looking for something to do. Suddenly she spied a large “broom” lay against a hay bale! She grabbed it and started sweeping up the hay and cow droppings that were scattered around the floor! She was having the time of her young life! She was oblivious of everyone around her! While we watched her I began to think about all the parents who spend $100 to $1,000 on toys for their children! So, here’s a “tip” for all my Festival Friends, buy you kids/grandkids a “broom”, they will have lots of fun with it and you will get the added bonus of a “clean sweep”!