“A festival way of life” could be a description of how I sell my novels, at book festivals, arts festivals, and crafts festivals. At the Vermilion (Ohio) Festival of the Fish this past weekend I thought about that term in a couple of other ways.
At many festivals, in addition to the local people vending their food, jewelry, candles, scents of all kinds, artwork, stitched goods, books (in my case), there are often people (sometimes families) who travel all over the country selling their wares at festivals. At the Vermilion festival I was not a “local” but perhaps more so than the festival friends we met from Equador, China, and Senegal, now living in cities in the U.S.
We especially enjoyed watching the young man who was vending across the sidewalk, as he methodically set up his double-sized tent, filled it with tables and racks,and then loaded those with products from Equador – stitched goods, jewelry, small musical toys, alpaca animal toys, artwork, etc.
Many of the colors, pictures, and patterns were ones that we associate with Native Americans here in the United States. It was a very popular tent, and he was constantly on the move, hanging garments, arranging merchandise, pulling boxes of additional goods from under the table.
Out of conditions at festivals comes a camaraderie of strangers who look out for one another, especially when one is vending alone and needs to take breaks for the necessities of life. When we packed up and left the festival, Jairo was completing his methodology in reverse, putting away all of the merchandise and all of the pieces of tent poles and hanging racks, on his way to the next gig in New Orleans.
Another way I thought of a festival way of life is the tradition of festivals: this was the 49th Vermilion Festival of the Fish and apparently there are many such festivals in small towns in Ohio. There was much pageantry — the Guppy Pageant, the Junior Miss Pageant, the Princess Pageant, the Queens Pageant, the Queens Breakfast, the Visiting Royalty introductions (which helped to inform about all the other festivals going on in the state), and then the parade in which the royalty rode. The outgoing queen had represented Vermilion at more than twenty festivals around the state of Ohio during the past year.
In addition to pageantry, there was the very cute pet parade, the big parade around town, fireworks, a 5K run & 1 Mile walk, a sand castle contest, a pirate-themed crazy craft race at the public docks, a lighted boat parade, and the Vermilion firefighters’ water fight, not to mention a number of bands and lots of food! (This was a three-day festival). And, oh boy, were those perch and walleye sandwiches good!
And the festival-goers seemed unfazed by the pesky attack of billions of Canadian soldiers (that’s what we used to call the the mayflies when I was a kid in Cleveland, although I’m told that the Canadians called them called American soldiers), covering cars, tents, doors, and everything, and then dying in the effort.
In case you saw the previous post in which we were surprised that Cologne No. 10 for Men was outpacing Canoedling in Cleveland sales on the first day, the war satire maintained its lead by the end of the festival although sales of the two were even for the day on Saturday.