Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fun and Games…

I like to go to festivals and events that have a lot of action and have interesting things to do and see! Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy art and craft shows. I really appreciate the talent and effort that goes into creating works of art, but ultimately I like action. The McCann Super Dog Show is a great example. Watching these wonderful animals perform near impossible tricks catches my attention. Judging by the number of people who turn out to watch these shows, I know I am not alone. Then there is the West Coast Lumberjack Show. This show is not only exciting; it is filled with zany humour! A while ago I was at the Toronto International Circus Festival. The aerialist show was dangerous and spectacular! Three talented aerialists manipulated their bodies on thin ribbons of cloth, thrilling the crowd below! The Gregor’s Crossing Medieval Faire was the most awe inspiring event we have seen so far! Four Knights compete in various medieval games, trying to out-best each other. The culminating event was the joust. This event is not for the faint of heart. Here the combatants go head to head in a REAL joust. Yes, they are protected by armor, but the lances are real and each Knight wants to best the other to win the event. Knight against Knight, charging towards each other at great speeds with their lances lowered! As they reach each other and make contact, splinters of wood fly everywhere! One Knight was hit by a lance on his helmet and got knocked off his horse. He lay there for quite some time recovering! Fortunately he wasn’t badly hurt, but it was definitely breath taking for the audience. Like I have said before, we enjoy and visit all kinds of festivals and events and we don’t deliberately seek action filled festivals, but it is great when we do find them!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What Not To Wear…

Judi and I were traveling from an event and started talking about clothing. The conversation was not about how each other looked. It was about how many times we had gone to a festival wearing inappropriate clothing! Over this past year or so, we have definitely had our share of “What not to wear”!
There was time when we visited the Shelter Valley Folk Festival. We had parked our car in a farmer’s field. The field had just been freshly cut so there were lots of sharp edges! For some reason Judi had decided to wear sandals (she never wears sandals!) and the sharp edges really cut into her feet! Lesson learned!
Then there was the time that I visited the Brighton Winterfest. I decided to wear a pair of cotton pants and deck shoes. The weather was supposed to be sunny and reasonably warm for that time of year. It started off that way. Unfortunately it didn’t continue that way, and once I had reached Brighton large flakes on snow were falling! One of the festival’s events was snowmobile racing at the Brighton Speedway. This is where the snow really started to fall! There I was, the lowly “Festival Nomad” sitting in the stands with cotton pants and deck shoe, surrounded by “winter” people all dressed in heavy parkas and warm snowmobile boots! As the snow continued to fall, I am sure I started to look like a giant snowman!!

You would have thought a reasonably intelligent man would have learned a valuable lesson, but not the “Nomad”, lesson NOT learned! A few weeks later Judi and I visited the Ajax Winterfest. You guessed it; I was wearing the same cotton pants and deck shoes! Although it wasn’t snowing, it was extremely cold and it had just snowed the night before. I am sure I must have posed quite the figure as we tramped through the snow following other festival visitors who were wearing snow boots or snowshoes! I had to follow in their tracks so that I wouldn’t have to break a new path in the deep snow. As it was snow managed to sneak into my shoes causing a wet crunchy feeling next to my socks! Lesson FINALLY learned???!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Getting There (Part Two)…

Fortunately, this time I followed Judi’s advice and turned right. We followed Hwy. #48, passing the “Sutton this way” sign and headed south towards Toronto. A few kilometers south of Sutton we saw a sign saying “this way to Keswick”. We turned right and followed the sign’s directions! We eventually came to Woodbine Avenue and another “Keswick” sign. We turned right again and this time drove straight in to downtown “Keswick”. From there it was easy to find the re-enactment! It was being held at the Georgina Pioneer Village which was part of the Georgina Community Centre complex. The way to this complex is very well marked, we couldn’t go wrong! The sad ending to this story for the “know-it-all Festival Nomad” is that if we had turned left in Jackson’s Point, as Judi had suggested, we would have driven directly to the complex and the re-enactment. We would have arrived a half hour earlier and would have saved a quarter tank of gas! The moral –
“The Nomad isn’t (sigh) always right, but his trusty side kick (Scoop Judi) is!”
UPDATE ~ I wrote this Blog article a number of years ago. Since then GPS devices have taken over the directional thought process. It’s a “sure” way of getting to you final destination… well, MAYBE not so “sure”! One Christmas, my daughter and her husband gave us a GPS device. We were so happy to have it that we named it LUCY, after Schultz’sknow-it-all” cartoon character. All was going well with “LUCY” until I programmed if to find a route to Creemore. LUCY seemed to start off right until we got deep into a forested road. All of a sudden, in the middle of the forest she told us to “turn right” We entered a road that was a “Dead-end”. As we stopped, LUCY announced that we had “Reached Our Destination”! Creemore, my friends, is NOT located in the middle of a “forest” on a “dead-end” road! We started out again, this time with Scoop Judi navigating the route and we successfully found our way to the “real” Creemore. To “punishLUCY, I put her in the car’s “glove box” while Judi (me navigation hero) and went into the town’s great bakery for a coffee and goodie.

I think that this punishment might have taught LUCY a lesson, because she didn’t “mess up” again!
"Coffee & Goodies Galore!"

Friday, August 11, 2017

Getting There (Part One)…

As I have said before, getting there can be half the fun! I hadn’t been to Keswick in many years. This was where the “Rise to Rebellion” re-enactment was going to take place, and Judi and I wanted to be part of it. Rather than drive the boring highways, we (I) decided to take the back roads to Keswick. In the past, any time I had traveled to Keswick I had taken Hwy. #48 from Toronto straight to Keswick, no problems! Being the “Festival Nomad”, I, of course, know all the correct route to get to any Ontario festival or event!!?? With this confidence, Judi and I set out for Keswick and the re-enactment. All was going well, the sun was shining and the roads were clear of traffic, so what could go wrong? Nothing, until we turned from Hwy #12 onto Hwy #48. This is where I encountered my first “Brain Lapse”! I assumed (you know what that means!) that we were south of Keswick. Imagine my surprise and concern when signs started telling me that we were heading “SOUTH” to Toronto! It couldn’t be! I pulled over onto the shoulder of the road and stopped the car! I took my road map out to see where we were! No help! I turned the car around and started to retrace our steps! Then I got “cold feet”, I turn around again and headed “SOUTH”! One of the signs that I had seen earlier had said “this way to Keswick”! I decided to trust the signs and not my brain! At each indecision, Judi just “sighed”! We continued traveling “SOUTH”! This is where my second “brain lapse” took place! I mistook “Sutton” for “Keswick”. Don’t ask me why, I just did! I turn down the road that said “this way to Sutton”. We traveled through Sutton towards Jackson’s Point. I was sure we were on the right track! When we reach Jackson’ Point there was a “T” in the road. Judi suggested that we should turn left. I confidentially said “no, we should go right”. We turned right, followed the road and eventually came back to Hwy #48. We had just traveled in a big (scenic!) circle! Now I was REALLY lost!
(To be continued - Part Two
"Which way to the Rebellion?"

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Life in the Midway…

Every time I visit a festival that features a midway, I am transported back to my childhood! These memories are quite vivid as midways played a large part in my past. My first recollections of a Midway are of the long gone “Sunnyside” which was located in Toronto along the Lakeshore west of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds. I can remember, as a little boy, being taken there by my parents. I was allowed to ride the kid’s rides by myself, but I think the biggest thrill was climbing into the bumper car s with my mother. I’m not sure who had more fun. She loved crashing into other drivers and encouraged me to help her! Later on, when I was allowed to drive by myself, my mother would still climb into a bumper car herself. It was always a challenge to see who could out bump who! I think my mom likely won more times then she lost! Another wonderful Midway memory, was at the CNE. As a youth, my friends and I were allowed to visit the CNE on our own. The excitement of trying to win a big stuffed animal as the barkers yelled out “You ring one, you win one!”: the challenge of riding as many thrill rides as possible to the loud pulsating music and the determination to outsmart the age and weight guessers even though they could win any time they wanted to, all added to the mystic and charm of the Midway. And then there was the “FLYER”! It had been a feature of the CNE forever and it attracted kids, big and small! We all tried to see who could ride the longest with our hands held over our heads. We always fought to get the front car! It was the scariest position of all, and the most fun! When I see the excitement in the faces of today’s kids enjoying a Midway, I see myself. I hear my mother say “Have a great time, be careful and I’ll meet you at the Bingo Hall when you are through”.