Falling For Festivals

Besides cool weather and lower humidity, a sure sign that it’s Fall is the plethora of festivals taking place in the area.  And while I like to get out and about, I’ve become very selective about which festivals I attend.

It’s axiomatic that a festival needs a theme.  Preferably one which will entice folks to attend, thereby increasing the “ka-ching” which is often the real theme of a festival.

Festival themes n my relatively rural area range from savory to bizarre.  And I’ve very enticed by bizarre… 😉

In the savory column is the Stone Crab festival, held last week in the small coastal town of St. Marks in the next county.  The 2010 census put the town’s population at just under 300.  The festival website proclaimed that last year’s attendance was over 12,000…ka-ching!

I love crab.  Especially soft shell crab in butter and garlic.  But I didn’t attend the Stone Crab festival.  I’ve found that food-themed festivals are overpriced.  I don’t like the long lines either.  Those crabs will be cheaper and the line much shorter now that the festival is over.

Food is the main reason I attend the local Asian Festival, which has a cultural focus.  I can enjoy, in one place, a variety of Asian fare – Indian, Thai and, yes, Filipino.  There’s no place else I can wash down some adobo and pancit (Filipino) with a mango lassi (Indian).

Japanese taiko drummers Matzuriza

Check out the mostly women Matsuriza drummers’ rousing performance.

Earlier this year, I attended, for the first time, the Jewish Food and Culture festival held at a local synagogue.  Oy vey!  The separate lines for the two main entrees, corned beef or pastrami sandwich platters, were …painful.  I wussed out and went with the shorter pastrami line.  The bakery was packed too but I managed to get some rugalah.   Of course, it was inferior to my Jewish grandmother’s rugalah but since she’s not around to make it I have to settle for what I can find.

Animals are a popular festival theme around here.  My wife’s hometown of Blountstown held it’s 26th annual Goat Day last weekend.  We went one year and I was hoping they’d be serving goat but I guess that’s too Third World for them because all the goat was “on the hoof.”

Nearby Calvary (Georgia) celebrates Mule Day. Checked that out once too.  And no, I wasn’t interested in sampling mule… 😉

Rattlesnake Roundup is no more because it is a threatened species.  That was a monster festival but my attendance was spotty because it was held in winter, when reptiles are lethargic.  I’m lethargic in winter too…

Towards the bizarre end of the continuum is the Scarecrow Festival, which happened this weekend in Live Oak, about 90 miles west of where I live.  Coming up in December is a “different” type of holiday season festival: the Lawnmower and Golf Cart parade in Havana, about 15 miles north. Watch out Macy’s….!

Since I’m a garlic lover, a festival at the top of my list is the Gilroy (California) Garlic Festival, which I’ve been to twice. This festival has a 30+ year history and attracts 100,000+. Check out their website for the 2013 festival.   (Besides garlic, Gilroy also boasts a very large outlet mall.)

If you like garlic, get to Gilroy

Last week, I mentioned Vegas might be my next vacation.  But San Francisco, with all its great ethnic food (especially Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino) with a side trip to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, is an appealing option.

Lechon – prime rib of the Philippines


2 responses to “Falling For Festivals

  1. I thought Live Oak was east of here? I heard just what you said about the Stone Crab festival, that it was outrageously expensive.

  2. Oops..you’re right – Live Oak is east, not west. I should not have made that mistake because whenever we head to Jacksonville / St. Augustine or towards Orlando, we stop at the S & S off the exit ramp there.

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