There are many Pioneer Valley traditions that I’ve never observed. The Big E, for instance, for some people is a ‘not miss’ but I’ve only been a few times over the past ten years. Other events I always seem to end up hearing about after they’ve over, like the Garlic and Arts festival in North Orange. For many years I always missed the Green River Festival too.
But this year it’s different. After my first Garlic Fest, we joined a throng and drove up 116 to the Ashfield fall festival, taking along my granddaughter Sofie for the day. It was another in a long line of festivals I’d take in…and I am happy that I did.
The Sunday had the torpor of August, and the leaves haven’t yet become dramatic fodder for leaf peepers. The number of cars proved a stellar turnout and we made our way to the bandstand where familiar musicians were up on stage. Mary and I both recognized friends playing up there, one of the joys of small town living are these familiar faces who dot our lives.
One festival beginner’s mistake we made was not grabbing a stroller for the two-year-old, since the walk is quite a distance and the whole festival is spread out along the main street in the village. I kept thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be better if they blocked off the cars?’
The kids games were truly kids games–run by kids, with kid-sized prices and all built in someone’s garage. The one with the longest line was a rope ladder where the climbers try not to swing overboard onto a pile of hay. This looked like fun and Sofie got into the line. But when her turn finally came, it all looked a little too scary. Oh well.
We made our way up to the final tag sale where a group of elderly women had beanie babies for sale. Sofie chose one, a pink octopus and delighted the folks in the wheelchairs when she walked over and paid them. Fun in the fall, fun in another small town, glad we made it to another festival on another Sunday.