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Monday, July 1, 2013

ComFest, an explosion of fun, and rain.

Every summer in Columbus, there is a celebration, called ComFest (Community Festival, personally I don't think much of the name, it sounds too military, and official, "Commander, move the threat level to ComFest 3," but they never asked me).   This was our first visit, despite living here for over 20 years.  We really didn't know what to expect.

So many times these things are so disappointing, so filled with stress, tension, conflict, turmoil, it is like a walk through your worst high school memories, with a plastic glass of beer, which might have made high school better, (maybe I should pitch that idea to the local school board, think of the profits) except for the the hangovers, and all of the vomiting children, maybe that idea needs a little work.

Personally, I didn't expect too much, my wife is more of an optimist, (she still thinks I might turn out all right, poor, confused girl) so she was upbeat and happy.  If I found something a little silly, a little pretentious, something  that might make me feel little superior, I would have felt it was a success.  My wife was hoping for fun, entertainment, and a little release from everyday life.  We found a place to park and walked over.  Who would be right?

As we approached the park a cyclist was being put into an ambulance, blood running from his nose, his split lip and cut under his eye.  He was agitated, and seemed more than a little angry.  It was unclear what had happened, (it might have been a fight, or a wreck) but it seemed like a bad omen.  Still, we were there.  Might as well check it out.

It would be simple to find the flaws in a undertaking so ambitious as this.  But, there is a real feeling of community in this festival.  It is a diverse, colorful, noisy, community, with variety, and spirit, and a flare for fashion.  A community that does not minding getting wet, within limits.  There were people of all shapes, walking around, a careful dance, simple, casual, friendly and respectful.

Essentially, this was an anarchist's dream, cheerful, friendly chaos.  There was no order, no reason, just a wild, tangled mass of humanity, many people strolled casually through waves of music, and enjoying themselves.  Others were sitting up little communities, and talking amicably.  Lining the streets surrounding the event were vendors selling tie dye shirts, handmade jewelry, hand woven hats, and scarfs, and with the music in the background I understood what Garland Jeffreys meant when he sang "all due respect to art for art's sake."  It was almost magic.  And there was food, a lot of food, which, thanks to rains that were almost biblical, I didn't get to try.

There was a basketball game (that kept going after the rains came), a person walking a ferret (or something like a ferret, what am I a zoologist), people throwing a frisbee, who didn't mind a bit when people strolled through.  Music filled the air, music in all varieties, and it was a happy event.  In 100 meters you could walk from the blues, through some metal, into acoustic folk music, and all of it was enjoyable.  And we were only there for about an hour and a half, until the rains came, and drove us away.

When we were too wet to ignore the discomfort we left, walked a short way, found a restaurant with an open table and a ROOF, and had some food.

Nancy and Susan looking splendid in
Red ponchos and their cups.
A small warning;  This might be a good time to mention we probably would not have even thought about going, but a friend of ours asked us to come down.  She is a wonderful person, and she was part of a forum I joined almost two years ago when I quit smoking.  The month of July is going to be a celebration of the accomplishment, (or at least as long as I can dream up new true stories) with tales of the friends made along the way, the amazing trip we took together, and my gratitude to each of them.  For now, I will introduce Susan, everyone please say hello to Susan.  But, there will be much more about her later.  She will object to parts of it, but most of it will be true, and all of it will be flattering.

Bil, and Brian, (in the middle) a little angry, and they
always seem so nice.
Plus, a brief upadate;  For those of you who thought Bil was only an undefeated chess boxer, and Brian was just a gardener extraordinaire, well, think again.  They are both accomplished, widely respected and well recognized musicians, too.  Here is the proof.  There are copies of the Columbus Alive with their band on the cover for sale in the lobby, so grab several, they make wonderful gifts.  Particularly for people who like pictures of Bil and Brian frowning and looking surly.