The difference between a fair and a festival


by Ted Holteen

I have an affinity for watching things I don’t like. Of course this flaw is not mine alone, as most traffic jams are caused more by rubbernecking passersby than the accident itself, and “Growing Pains” stayed on the air for no fewer than eight years. If it is macabre enough, or cheesy enough, they will come. The most recent example is a morph of the two, a program on FX called “Over There.” Produced by Steven Bochco (he of “CopRock” fame), it’s a Rumsfeldian portrayal of life on the front lines of this oddly war-like liberation going on in the cradle of civilization. It’s the story of some of the most educated and insightful front line grunts in military history, some black guys, a Latino or two, a couple of white chicks and a redneck, with a script ripped right out of last spring’s headlines. Oh, and there’s an Arab in the company, too. It’s terrible, and I’ve watched it twice now. And the worst part is that Fox now has another vested interest in the continuation of hostilities. But if you think that’s bad, wait til you see the early returns on that damn Dukes remake. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there is no God.

Over here, while our soldiers fight to keep insurgent Shiites from marching down Main Avenue and slitting our throats while we sleep on our Christian sheets, things are better. One of the defining elements of small-town U.S.A. is the county fair, and ours is under way. Despite the formative influence of “Charlotte’s Web” on my early development, I only recently realized that these things were really exhibitions for the agricultural community and not just a good excuse to set up a ferris wheel and have a demolition derby. Lucky for us, though, there is a demolition derby, which takes place on Saturday, although no one at the Fairgrounds could tell me what time. I guess the best of our public sector is Over There. Anyway, it’s an honest-to-goodness demolition derby, with your last chance to see a few models of steel cars left over from the 1970s. As old cars become rarer, not to mention collector’s items, demo freaks will soon be left picking through the plastic and fiberglass trash that passed for automobiles in the ’80s. Picture a ’72 Impala ripping through a K-Car, and you’ll understand what the “sport” is facing in the future. But we live in the now, and if you want to see this year’s spectacle, get there early, otherwise you’ll be shocked at just how many poor people still live in La Plata County. As for the rest of the fair, there are the standard rusty rides, diseased animals, carnies, funnel cake and that agricultural stuff that I don’t understand. It’s happening all weekend at the Fairgrounds – have fun.

The fair also will have a favorable impact on the 12th annual Main Avenue Arts Festival, going on all day Saturday and Sunday. My hope is that most of the children

 

The fair also will have a favorable impact on the 12th annual Main Avenue Arts Festival, going on all day Saturday and Sunday. My hope is that most of the children and other undesirables will spend the day petting goats and weighing sheep and allow me to hobnob and shoplift with the good people of Durango in a downtown, open-air strip mall. By the way, that’s the answer to the question in this week’s title – festivals don’t have farm animals. The Arts Festival is a great local tradition, put on by and benefiting the Durango Arts Center, which means that the proceeds go directly to the promotion of local and regional artists. All kinds of art-related stuff will be on sale and on display, as the weekend is also a juried competition among said craftspeople. Food, beer and music are integral parts of the art world this weekend, as concessionaires will be scattered all over the streets and there will be live music with performances by The Frank Trio at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Freewill Recovery on Sunday. I hope moderation is in the Trio’s plans, as they’ll be back on stage at the Summit at 10 p.m. If they can do it, so can you. I’ll be asleep. It is, however, your last chance to see the Frank Trio before they head east for dates in Virginia, New York and Vermont. Just think – some day you’ll be able to tell some jerk from Oregon, “Bro, I used to see these guys at a little hole in the wall joint in Durango, Colo., back in the day.” Then he’ll say “cool” and give you his weed. Rock on.

My final item this week is directed at those of you who have children or, if not, are not above sharing an educational experience with children. On Friday night, some very nice and dedicated librarians from Sunnyside Elementary School will host a meteor shower viewing, starting around 9:30 p.m. If you think that’s too late for kids, just think what a quiet Saturday morning you’ll have. The smart people will have a telescope on hand and will point out constellations to the kids and stupid grown ups, among whom I number myself. Sunnyside, situated just this side of the Gobi Desert, should be pretty close to pitch black and therefore a good, low-light viewing area for the shower. At least I’m sure that’s the plan. And if it’s too cloudy to allow for a successful night under the shooting stars, I would again suggest that no God exists who would create such a spectacle only to keep it masked from his minions. Just a thought. In case it escaped you, the shower will be visible in other areas, so if you want to beat the crowd, find a dark place and check it out yourself.

Tell me your war stories. egholteen@hotmail.com. Be all that you can be. •

 

 

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