Appleton rocks, especially this past Saturday where, within a two mile stretch, you could watch a National Tree Climbing Championship, attend the first annual Irish Fest, walk through a peak-season Farmer’s Market and enjoy Rhythms of the World, a celebration of multi-cultural generosity and transcendent beauty.
After all of that, we were also lucky enough to attend an open house for one friend and a touching memorial service for another.
It was a glorious day to celebrate life, adventure and friendship. Sláinte!
As Irish luck would have it, the Tree Climbing Championship took place right across the street from our house at Erb Park, so I strolled over several times to check out the action. One of the more unique athletic events I’ve attended, it definitely deserves its own post. I’ll write more about that on Wednesday. In the meantime…
Irish Fest, with its thick beer and cheeky ballads, arrived in Appleton at the perfect time, as summer winds down and winter looms. It did my somewhat-Irish-depending-on-which-relative-I-talk-to heart good to see Jones Park hopping, and there’s nothing like a little Gaelic Storm to get your toes tapping.
Facing the same volunteer shortage as other festivals and events, Irish Fest blazed forward, powered by the extreme dedication of the people who were able to donate their time. At one point, a volunteer rushing from one tent to another to deliver food, paused briefly to link arms with me and dance a little Irish Jig. The whole festival was a delicious (sure and begorrah there was corned beef and mashed potatoes too!), rollicking good time.
Saturday morning we headed down to the Farmer’s Market, which looked incandescent in the September sun. The tomatoes! The sweet corn! The leafy green vegetables! The flowers! The sticky, smiling children!
A delightful show on the Houdini Plaza stage caught our eyes, so we sat down for a little while and took it all in. Rhythms of the World featured musicians and dancers from Trinidad, Bali, Mexico, India, Polynesia, Laos, India, the Phillipines and more. The event also included both a food and blood drive and raised funds for World Relief.
I didn’t bring my camera to all of the activities, but I did to some. So, I am going to let my photos tell the rest of the story.
I hope you all had a spectacular Saturday as well.