Rode down to the festival around 11 – noticed for the first time a couple of signs that said ‘do not cycle on the footpath’. I wasn’t sure what to do – the path had started out as foot/cycle then suddenly you’re not supposed to cycle anymore. I tried riding on the road a bit, but it wasn’t that pleasant, so ended up back on the sidewalk. There weren’t many pedestrians so I didn’t feel that bad about breaking the rules.
Found the festival grounds without much problem – the festival itself actually goes on for a couple of weeks with lots of things happening at various places throughout the city, but what is going on right now at the park is only for today.
The first thing I came to right at the entrance was a free bike inspection booth so I naturally headed straight to it. The fellow was very nice and had a look-over of Colin’s bike for me. It didn’t need any chain oil, but one of the brakes was making a slight noise so he made a small adjustment and said everything else looked ok. I then took it right across to a free bike lock-up – they give you and your bike a ticket and won’t let anyone without the proper number leave with a bike – I also, of course, locked it to the metal fence they had setup for that purpose.
Walked around and saw it all – first were the food vendors – several tasty looking choices, then the main music stage. Listened there for a bit, then strolled through the market part – booths of all sorts – animal rescue organizations, clubs, food products, jewelry, handicrafts, hobby stuff – a great assortment of things, with something to interest almost anyone.
Checked out a couple of the exhibits that had been judged – photography, of course, was especially interesting, but there were lots of other things as well. Lyn from next-door has won first place in handicrafts for the last three years but didn’t enter this year – all of the other participants in that category are likely breathing a sigh of relief.
Went back to the food vendors and decided on a perogie with bacon, spinach and cheese – the sign even said ‘not a pasty’ but that’s exactly what it looked like. I took it into what I thought was the ‘eating tent’ but saw that it was actually a beer tent that also, lucky for me, had cider on tap! So I sat and ate my pasty-that-wasn’t-a-pasty and drank a pint of lovely local cider while listening to a local singing group. The group was huge and consisted of dozens and dozens of women and a few men and they were really quite good.
I have to mention that the folks that were pouring the beer and cider did an incredible job – the line-ups looked so long I thought it would take forever but it was only a couple of minutes – really efficient and I think they must have made a mint because the customers never stopped coming.
After eating I headed over to the ‘kitchen tent’ for the wine tasting, which apparently started a few minutes early, although I didn’t miss any of the tastings. The presenter was very knowledgable and managed to give a lot of information about the wines and where they came from and how they are made and taste, mixed with a fair amount of humour. We tasted 3 whites, 1 rose (that doesn’t look right without the accent over the ‘e’, but you know what I mean) and 2 reds – a couple from South Africa, one from Italy, the rest from France (I think).
Next up in the kitchen tent was an excellent chef from a local restaurant that showed us how to make fried duck breast, lentil and vegetable cassoulet and poached pear. He also was very entertaining as he made the dishes, and the end product was delicious.
After that I wandered to the other side of the park where the kid’s area was, as well as the dog agility place. Lots going on, including face-painting, which I thought was cute. I took a picture of a little girl getting her face done – really pretty colours – but the face-painter moved her hand right when I took the pic so it covered most of the face. As I walked away a lady came up to me and asked if I was a professional photographer – I didn’t know why she was asking but of course I answered truthfully and said no. She then asked if she could see the photo I had taken and then I wondered if she thought I was a child-stalker or something and that was her little girl I’d taken the photo of. I showed her the pic and offered to delete it but she said it was ok as the girl’s face couldn’t actually be seen because of the face-painter’s hand. I walked away feeling like I’d just been accused of being a child molester or something and that everyone in the whole area was looking at me with loathing and scorn. Then I felt very guilty – oh my god – I should ask permission of everyone before I dare take a picture! I left almost immediately, feeling like shit after such a wonderful afternoon.
I stopped briefly at the band stage to listen to a couple of songs – decent covers of REM and U2, but felt so lousy all I wanted to do was get home.
Found my way to the canal path and rode home – the sky, like my mood, was now very gray. Had dinner then face-timed Dom – felt a bit better after talking with him and seeing the kitties. Watched the final few events of the World Athletics Championships – have really enjoyed them for the last week and a bit.