This weekend found us at the Dublin Irish Festival and the Olde Pickerington Village Jazz and Blues Ribfest. The Dublin Irish Festival is a really large scale festival while the Pickerington Festival was more of a community event. The weather all weekend was just perfect, really enhancing the festival experience. Both were lovely, and they provided a nice contrast to each other.
At the Irish Festival, we spent a little time learning about traditional Irish instruments and crafts. We spent a little MORE time shopping a very wide variety of Celtic craftspersons wares. We ate a little; Killian's were consumed.
As for the fashion show, whereas last week the show belonged to the women, at this festival, the show belonged to the men. More specifically, men in kilts. There were a LOT of them, and there certainly was not a stereotype established. There were utilikilts (also doing what appeared to be a thriving business on the festival grounds) and tartans. Men wore them with tasseled knee socks and dress shoes, with sandals, and with tube socks and sneakers. They wore them with T-shirts and rugby shirts and polo shirts. These men were skinny, muscled, heavy; old, young; clean-cut, pony-tailed - you name it, they were wearing a kilt. I know Tom slowed down every time we passed the utilikilt vendor. I encouraged him to try one on, but he's not quite ready. He pointed out - probably (sadly) correctly so - that this festival would really be the only place he'd feel comfortable wearing one. A pricey investment for once a year.
The main reason we attend the Irish Festival each year, though, is the music. Five or six years ago we discovered that we really like Celtic rock/punk. The paradox (at least it seems paradoxical by our established cultural standards) of having a high energy punk/rock sound supplemented by accordions and bagpipes is so wrong it's right. (Side note: perhaps this goes back more than 5 or 6 years. When I was in college and boys were playing air guitar, one of my roommates always played "air bagpipes". We thought it was high-larious. Perhaps the stage was set then...) One of our favorite bands for several years now has been The Prodigals, and they were headlining the Irish Festival on the night we attended. They did not disappoint. They put on a great show. The perfect ending to a pretty swell evening.
Saturday night, I was scheduled to work in the Beer Garden at the Pickerington Jazz and Blues Ribfest. As opposed to the sprawling Irish Festival, this one had more of a block party feel. Tom and I went down early to listen to some music and eat some ribs before I had to start working. I surely do like me some ribs. Then I settled in at the Beer Garden and Tom headed home. I spent the night selling beer tickets and pizza in what was essentially someone's back yard. It had a really cozy community feel to it. Everyone was so friendly, I had so much fun talking to folks and listening to the blues. I ran into friends and acquaintances I hadn't seen in months (stoopid arm!) and, after a few beers, strangers were pretty friendly, too. The lines between very small festival and very big party got blurry and I liked it a lot.
I'm not tired yet! More festing, please!