Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mixed Berries

I love festivals. I really do. Ohio has A LOT of festivals for many things and I was thinking today about how odd it is that South Carolina doesn't really have a lot of festivals. We had The Grits Festival in St. George. I don't like grits, but I would always go since it was the only festival around. I always wanted to and enter the "Rolling in the Grits" contest. Basically you get weighed before the event. Then you roll around in a huge pool of grits and the person who has the most grits stuck to them wins. My thought was bigger body = more grits. However, I just didn't like the idea of getting weighed in front of hundreds of people.

Then, we had The Chitlin Strut in Salley, SC. I never went to this festival because ... well, it scared me a little. I have had people tell me that this is, by far, the smelliest festival they have ever attended. Ugh.

My favorite festival in South Carolina was the Gullah Festival. I noticed on their website that they actually moved it from St. Helena Island to Beaufort, which I think is tragic since St. Helena Island is much more a part of the Gullah culture than Beaufort. They are also now charging $20 to attend on some days - WOW! When I went years ago it was a small festival for FREE. I mean, who pays to go to a festival? That's just crazy.

We had other festivals in S.C.... really small ones like the Greek Fest and really large ones like the week long Spoleto Festival and Piccolo Spoleto, but these are nothing like the festivals here.

People in Ohio are serious about their festivals and I appreciate that.

Today Justin and I went to the Strawberry Festival in Troy. I was dreading the amount of people that were going to be there, but I like to go to festivals and I like strawberries so off we were. When we got there we met up with Andy, Dawn and their cute fairy baby (Tyler) and walked through the main drag of the festival. Andy and Dawn had been there for a while so they headed out and Justin and I walked back through to look at all the vendors.

The sky was starting to get really dark and we felt a couple of rain drops. The temperature dropped and it was actually quite comfortable compared to the scorching heat earlier in the day. We made it through half of the festival and it started pouring rain. At first it wasn't so bad but then the downpour came. Justin wanted to look at a particular vendors jewelry so we made it to their tent. There were a ton of people in there hiding out from the rain. We stayed there for a bit because it was really coming down. Soon we heard a HUGE clap of thunder which scared pretty much everyone in the tent since it was very loud and very close.

The wind picked up and we all started holding on to the tent so it wouldn't blow away. We could see across the way that other tents were bending in the wind and threatening to fall over. It was quite surreal. I told Justin that I had an image of when the rain stops that we would all creep out like the Munchkins did when the house fell on the Wicked Witch. It was quite a strong little storm.

When we finally did leave the tent we saw an ambulance coming down the main drag of the festival. Most people had run for their cars but there were a couple hundred of us fools that stuck around. They kept making announcements to get out from under the trees because the lightning will stike there. They said that several times but there were still several people who didn't listen.

We decided to get ourselves chocolate covered strawberries and go back to the car. On the way out they made the announcement that the festival was closing and for everyone to leave. The rain had let up so we thought that was kind of odd. They weren't very nice about it either. It was pretty much like "Get out!!" on the PA system.

People were still coming to the festival so we kept telling them that they had closed down so they wouldn't waste their time. The mass exit made traffic a nightmare. When we got home we found out that when we heard the loud clap of thunder it was when a bolt of lightning struck a tree. The ambulance was for a father and his two children who were under the tree when it struck. The news tonight said their condition was unknown. I really hope they are okay. I think that would traumatize me enough to never want another strawberry in my life and how sad would that be?

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