Will Call: Are you going to the Mountain Fair | PostIndependent.com

Will Call: Are you going to the Mountain Fair

Ah, Mountain Fair.

My parents met there. I grew up having my face painted, performing in the Earthbeat Choir, and generally viewing it as the major event of the waning summer. I was even there for the great fireball and power outage of 1998.

In more recent years, I’ve savored the occasional escape from the sea of humanity and the drunks howling outside my window at 3 a.m.

This will be my 27th fair, and while I’m still not quite ready to skip it entirely, I’m pickier about what I catch and what I pass up. You probably have a list of your own, but here are my do’s and don’ts.

If you can make it the drum circle, do. I realize that 4 p.m. on a Friday is a rough time slot for the working class.

Still, ever since the big ball of fire and power outage, the drum circle has set the tone for the weekend. Even if you don’t drum, it’s a powerful communal experience and just plain fun to watch.

Do find a competition and participate, but don’t take it too seriously. As the person generally picked last for kickball in third grade, I learned to quash my competitive side. Still, there’s something to be said for pitting yourself against your friends and neighbors, particularly when the stakes are low and there’s no one to let down but yourself.

Last year, I tried my hand at hula hooping and discovered that, while my skills might be good for Rams Day, they’re not even passable for Mountain Fair. I had fun anyway. Someday I’ll gather the courage to tackle woodsplitting, though my father set a fairly high bar on that front.

Then, of course, there’s the pie competition. I won’t be judging this year, but I still urge anyone with a passion for baking to enter.

It’s an opportunity to showcase something a little unusual or perfect an old favorite— anything that showcases the subtleties of taste, texture, crust and presentation that make pie the ideal battleground.

Submissions have been down of late, and it’s a shame. For one thing, there’s a lot more fun and prestige in judging when there’s a wide variety.

There’s also a lot more satisfaction in winning, although I honestly can’t remember how many competitors there were when my brother and I got a ribbon in the kids’ contest.

Most importantly, it’s a venerable and tasty tradition that I’d hate to see go the way of hand drilling.

Do buy a T-shirt, but don’t wear it yet. The unspoken purpose of fair swag is to show that you’ve been attending longer than the other guy. Like wine, they’re fine new but better aged. Raffle tickets, however, are best bought early, since drawings take place throughout.

Don’t stay in one place. The main stage is always hopping, but there’s plenty going on around the park and downtown.

Check the program for a variety of programming for kids and adults at the Oasis. Catch your favorite band again in the intimate setting of Steve’s Guitars.

Patronize local businesses as well as booths.

Do plan on running into your middle school gym teacher, high school crush, the surgeon who removed your tonsils and everyone else you’ve ever met.

Don’t expect to move quickly through the tide of friends and acquaintances.

Most of all, do enjoy yourself and let others enjoy themselves.

Will Grandbois may also try to sample HeyDays this year. He can be reached at 384-9105 or will@postindependent.com.

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