Sunday, August 6, 2017

Festivals & Festivities

Friday August 4, 2017
This was the weekend of the 30th annual Dublin Irish Festival. I was eagerly anticipating it since we had such a good time last year and there were some arts and crafts classes I wanted to participate in.

Like last year, my husband and I met at the festival after I took the shuttle over (it’s convenient since we both work pretty close to the festival grounds). It was a nice sunny day, and unlike previous years not quite so hot, at least ten degrees cooler than normal I would say, though it was still a little humid. I had to keep my hair tied back since it was so windy though.

We bought dinner from a couple different food trucks and sat down to eat in one of the covered pavilions while listening to the first band warm up. When we were finished we walked over to the tent where the Finger Loop Braiding class was going to be held. Since Finger Loop braiding wasn’t Andrew’s cup of tea (and there certainly weren’t many men in the tent), he left me to it and we met up afterwards.

Although Fr. Stephen Hayes gave a decent demonstration, I’m not always that quick to pick up on things, and I was off to the side where he was giving the demo, so I didn’t exactly have a front row seat. He basically showed us how we could make a belt (or at least a long braided strand of yarn) while one of the volunteers held the other end of his loops and helped push the braidings together. You use five loops – two held on your left hand and the other three on your right hand and you turn one hand, then loop your right over your left in some sort of a sequential pattern (there are many different patterns you can do).
Still feeling a bit confused and not too bothered to make a belt, I left the tent and decided to meet up with Andrew a little bit early. Still, I guess I’m glad I attended, but there was no way I was going to get my creation done in the approximately 20 minutes we had left after Fr. Hayes was done demonstrating and explaining the procedure.

Our next activity was Irish Laughter: Comic Irish Songs, a lecture and songs sung by guitarist, singer and Greene Co. Librarian, Karl Colon.
This was the first lecture either of us had attended at the festival, and it was definitely interesting and entertaining. However, by this time in the evening the chill was definitely starting to set in since the temperature was slowly dropping down into the 60s while the wind kept up at a steady pace. Even Mr. Colon commented on it and suggested people come closer to the front and huddle to keep warm. “Who would have thought we’d ever be too cold at the Irish Festival?” he joked. [it’s notoriously hot every year.] I later found out one of the vendors sold out of all of their long sleeve hooded t-shirts, which is probably a first.

Not wishing to be a party pooper, we stayed for the last event on my list which was Irish Ghost Stories being told by the foreign born, Yvonne Healy (who was apparently reared with Irish language on an American Main Street). Andrew even bought me a cup of wine with our last three liquor tokens hoping it might help warm me up (not sure if it really helped, but definitely made me have to pee by the time I was done with it).

The two or three stories she told were really more silly than scary, but had to be age appropriate for the mixed crowd. When she was most of the way through her last story of the night a heckler started interrupting and asking her questions, which was not only rude, but surprising as I’ve never been to an event where a heckler has interrupted (except in maybe a comedy routine, but even then…).

Needless to say I was glad when her last story was over and we could head back to Andrew’s car and warm up on the way home. We both agreed we definitely would have had a better time had we both dressed warmer (I wanted my fleece jacket, hat, and scarf).

Saturday August 5, 2017
Irish Festival, Day 2….

Today on the agenda was a Celtic Knot coaster class being held at noon in the same tent as last night’s Finger Loop Braiding. Having gotten a good nine hours of sleep, I felt well rested and ready to take on the world, so I was looking forward to having more success with this class. However, I guess I overestimated my ability to follow instructions by studying a series of photos. A kindly gentleman sitting near me (who was apparently a Boy Scout troop leader) tried to help me out with the first series of instructions, but gave up when it came time to do the whole procedure a second time, which is how you get the multiple layers for the knot. The instructor, Ms. Nancy Flynn suggested taping down our piece of cord and making smallish loops since your coaster can only be so big before it’s not a coaster anymore.

While trying to follow along with the pictures I had flashbacks to doing the same thing about a year ago when Andrew and I were trying to make origami cranes. I got as far as about three or four pictures before I was lost, while Andrew slowly proceeded onward and created a pretty nice crane that he took home and still has displayed on a shelf in his room.

Later in the evening Andrew and I were watching “The Great British Bake-off” when their technical challenge was to create a “jumble” consisting of two different biscuits (cookies) in the shape of two different Celtic knots, which everyone totally struggled with (one baker got points off for not leaving any gaps between the knots).  I could definitely sympathize!

Needless to say I failed again and sadly just brought home a strand of rope. “That’s one expensive piece of string,” Andrew commented (since admission for that 45 min cost me $10). The lady sitting to my right, who told me she is does editing and proofreading for a living (too bad I didn’t get a chance to ask her more about that) said she has an easier time with words than pictures. “Me too,” I agreed. She grabbed her piece of string and left before I did, so I wasn’t the only one who called it a day on that project. I might have stayed longer and tried it again, but I was short on time since Andrew was picking me up to take me to his company picnic at the Columbus Zoo (and food was only going to be out for perhaps an hour or so).

Leading Edje Summer Picnic at the Columbus Zoo…

Having just been to the Toronto Zoo less than a month ago, neither of us were really that excited by another visit to the zoo, but not wishing to be antisocial and skip yet another company event (it’s been y-e-a-r-s since we’ve attended a company picnic), we headed over in good spirits (even after having to park about a half mile away). Upon arriving we helped ourselves to the buffet of potato salad, hot dogs/sausages, pulled pork, bags of potato chips and bags of cookies (I saw another company had an ice cream cart which I would have liked to have helped myself to). After eating (we were pretty much the last ones to arrive) and chatting briefly with some of his coworkers and Joelle, one of the founders of the company, we headed out to see which animals were out.

Looking at the map we decided to head to Asia. Our first stop was to see which baby animals were on display. We lucked out and saw a couple sleepy Geoffroy cats.
According to Wikipedia, “Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is a wild cat native to the southern and central regions of South America. It is about the size of a domestic cat.  The Geoffroy's cat is about the size of a domestic cat, but has numerous black spots and dark bands on the cheeks, head and neck as well as on the tail and limbs. The background colour of its fur varies from a brownish-yellow coat in the northern part of its range to a more grayish coat in the south. The underbelly hair is cream-coloured or even white. The backs of the ears are black with white spots. Black individuals are common.”

Definitely the most unusual creature we saw all day was a golden Labrador in a pen with a couple mixed breed foxes(?) of some sort.

All three seemed to be friends and played together in this rather large enclosure. If I had to guess I’d say this enclosure was/is also home to a Rhinoceros or perhaps a Hippopotamus, neither of which we saw.

The funniest site we saw was a pile of cats, literally, in the pen that houses a lion and several members of its pride, most of which were sleeping overlapping each other on the roof of their pen.

That’s not something I can imagine house cats ever doing, unless maybe they’re still kittens, or perhaps members of the same litter.

Hence, even though we were prepared for a pretty routine day at the zoo, we still saw a couple unusual things, so it was definitely worth a visit. Also, it was a nice day to be out since the temperature & humidity was similar to the previous day, so not a scorching summer day (which probably explains why it was so crowded).

All in all a pretty fun and busy weekend. Have a great week everyone!

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