This year was a good Fair, but one in which things added up to not coming back next year. First of all, the last several years had an optional higher price for supporting the Fair's sustainability initiatives, like Peach Power/Alternative Energy, Durables/Zero Waste and others. This year it was not an option. ALL tickets were Green tickets. Hmmm. Then, last year and AGAIN this year we were not allowed to park until the "Main Gate" opened by a person I shall call Stone Woman. Usually we could drive through the side entrance and have the privilege of waiting at the outside gate until 10am, then at the Dragon Gate until 11am, when "day trippers" are allowed in. Yea, the people who paid more than $20+ a day (basically to fund a huge private party)....Funny when the "Main Gate" opened sometime after 9:30am (when told it was to open at 9am by Stone Woman) the PUBLIC parking was already 1/3 to 1/2 filled. Hmmmmmmm... It put me in a right foul mood.
While waiting at the Dragon Gate, I connected with a old time Fair worker named Willow who started in 1976. She got tired of it all and moved to Arizona around 1998. This year was her first time back. She was camping nearby and walked in. They would not let HER in, (with her "day tripper" ticket in hand) until 9:30 or so when the Main Gate opened. She said it was "Bullshit".
There were other signs... On the way there, the osprey nest that was next to the highway at the edge of the reservoir was empty. No birds or babies in sight. I called an old acquaintance who'd managed to get onto the Music Crew...no answer all weekend; (he'd hinted last year it might be his last, the partying and long hours-among other things- were frustrating). Then there was the cost of two hotel rooms instead of the usual one (3 teenagers!) and the realization we no longer wanted to spend money on the same old vendors. The ones we really like we can buy from anytime because they also have a web presence. Finally, the whole reason I wanted to come early on Friday was for the special limited edition sarongs they sell (well, since 2006). Nope, they didn't exist for 2010! Evidently the people who had been primarily responsible for them started working for an NGO in Haiti..so the batik contact in Bali was lost.
So what was good? We introduced Beaniac's boyfriend to the Fair. We had her other friend down from Alaska for his second Fair. The kids got alot of swimming in at the pool too! We enjoyed some great meals at the Glenwood Restaurant again. I got a beautiful Mehendi done and spent some very fruitful time in the Labyrinth. I was able to clarify alot of things about what I want I want to focus on in the coming year. I was also able to hear Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim speak about her fears, hopes and her work for the future. Her talk was very inspiring actually and confirmed a path I'd been moving towards for some time (living a more simple self-reliant life style and gaining the skills to do so).
The Last Day ..at the Labyrinth!
Last but not least, Snabby and I decided we no longer wanted to be tied down to the second weekend in July as we have for the last 12 years. It was a slightly bittersweet decision for me, but when something starts becoming a chore instead of a rousing fun inspirational fest, it's time to move on. See the 2010 poster image at the top? Another sign, flying away for another adventure!