Monday, August 04, 2008

Sweet Pea Festival

This weekend we decided to forgo the usual hiking activity and hit up the Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman, MT. I had overheard a few people talking about it, and when I found out that it was a arts festival, I knew we had to go. There were multiple stages with dancers & musicians, and about 100 vendor tents.

The art vendors were pretty impressive - there were many talented and creative artists and craftspeople showing everything from pottery to jewelry to wood furniture. (And one person with the largest amount of tie-dye I have ever seen in one location.) Unfortunately, the entertainment wasn't as professional. When I read there would be Hawaiian dancers, I was excited. But take a look at the picture below and tell me how many of these girls look "Hawaiian." (Answer: possibly one. The rest are pasty Montanans.)

Then there was a "folkloric" dance group. I was also excited to see this performance, as I took Folk Dance as my physical education requirement in college and really enjoyed those classes. But this performance... how can I describe it? Basically, these ladies took every dance form and combined it into one mishmash with no coherent theme. The lady below in the mask seemed to be the leader, and let me tell you, she was a certifiable nut job. She spoke in an odd manufactured accent, peppered her introductions with Irish words, and pretended not to know what a computer was. She kept saying things like "The magic is growing stronger! It wants me to dance!" Then she put on this Carnival mask and waved a scarf around. I guess the moral of this story is that perhaps more people need to ask themselves if their hobby, when performed in public, will be potentially embarrassing. It really was uncomfortable watching this performance because I was so embarrassed for the dancers.

I also was excited to see some Irish dancers (by now you can tell where this story is going.) I wasn't expecting Riverdance, but paying $15 to watch someone else's 7-year-old skip around a stage is not exactly good money value. I'm all for kids' dance lessons and recitals to make them feel proud of what they've learned, but at an arts festival I would have hoped to see something a little more professional. The only professional act we did see were Japanese drummers... but there were only 2 of them. Not exactly visually stunning, but they were talented.

Because we were in the big city, we spent the next day binge shopping (this is how its been for the past year... go shopping every 2 months and buy things while you can. I'm not really sure what people who actually live by shopping do - do you spend more money or less?) Because I'm predictable, I bought books and tea (total cost for everything: $14. I'm a big spender. The rest of our money was spent on food.)

I got some Vanilla Tea, which seems pretty decent, although a little weak. I haven't tried the Assam, but considering that the tin cost $2.69 and the contained tea doesn't even smell like Assam, I'm not too optimistic. But really I just wanted the container because I liked the label and it has a hinged lid. (The stupid people at Ross had to put the price tag right over the label... dorks.) The Zhena's Coconut Chai is excellent, and also gets props for having a cool looking tin (oddly reminicent of the insane dancers.)

The books I got were My Hutterite Life by Lisa Marie Stahl, Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Some of these were in the bargain books at Border's, and the others came from a thrift store. Obviously the whole "don't buy anything because you'll have to fit it into the car when you drive home" concept hasn't hit home.
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