Thursday, October 04, 2007


(News-Herald, October 4)There’s only one thing I could be writing about this week. So now, before the Applefestering begins, let me offer some Applefestifying survival tips.

As always, parking will be an issue. You may want to park somewhere convenient, like a side street in the lower end of town, or the handy outlying shuttle-serviced parking lots, or Cleveland.

The quest for parking is an odd one. Why an able-bodied person would spend an hour driving around in order to avoid a fifteen minute walk is a mystery to me. Of course, I’m not inclined to buy a giant herb-encrusted hand-carved tree trunk; I suppose factoring in cargo transport makes a difference in parking considerations.

But if you’re not planning on heavy shopping, consider some other alternatives. You could take the bike trail into town from Oil City or Fisherman’s Cove or even Emlenton. You get a little exercise, a peaceful ride through nature, and when you get back to the car you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat without waiting in line. (You’ll need a chain to secure your bike to some large object, like a bridge, or one of those people who stops in the middle of the sidewalk and just stays there).

Granted, that means you’ll miss some of the Complete Applefest Experience. But for some folks, the CAE is a bit of sensory overload. For those folks, I’ll also offer the reminder that Riverfront Park (at the bottom of Ninth Street, for you out-of-towners) is just a few blocks away from ground zero and offers benches and green and a lovely, peaceful view of both the river and the creek. It can be a handy place to catch your breath or dangle feet in the water.

Speaking of natural splendor, remember that the predicted warm weather and giant park full o’food will make a big day for yellowjackets. That means women should plan to make do without hair spray. I used to travel with the FHS marching band back in the eighties, the days when young women wore hair so large that it could be viewed from space, said viewing made easier because the five pounds of hairspray per individual hairdo opened holes in the ozone. On a warm evening, the Knightettes, Majorettes and Silks collective hair products would draw a swarm of yellowjackets large enough to carry away a small elephant.

At any rate, skip the hair product. Just wear a hat or a babushka. If you forget, you can always buy one of those crocheted toilet paper roll covers, which look rather like small hats anyway. And don’t forget to keep a thumb over the top of your pop can or bottle.

Of course, food is part of the very essence of Applefestosity. I recommend that you eat nothing at all today to give yourself maximum capacity for the weekend.

I am also happy to announce the newest rule for the Any Excuse Will Do Diet Program. Previously, Applefest diners had to depend on the old rules that both food eaten while standing up and food torn into smaller pieces have fewer calories. But a recent decision ruled that all food eaten at big noisy festivals does not count at all.

In addition to all the booths, I recommend eating at any of Franklin’s fine sit down restaurants because, let’s face it, at some point any excuse to sit down will be welcome. The trick is to head to these restaurants between normal meal times. At least, that was the trick until I just told everyone. It's still worth it to stop in-- you get a chance to check out the new Oskie's menu and, of course, when you can eat at Leonardo's on a Sunday, that's almost as good as Christmas.

The most important survival advice for Applefestery is to give yourself time. Clear your calendar. Leave your watch at home.

Then you can simply relax and enjoy the day. Have fun cheering on the race. Stroll through some booths. Eat something yummy. Swing past the performance spots every so often to check out which special flavor of music is being served. Eat something else. Rinse and repeat.

With a good weather year, I’d guess we’ll have another record-breaking year for the car show on Sunday, so that may make for a day’s worth of browsing all by itself.

But the most important reason for allowing lots of time only applies to locals. Applefest is Franklin’s homecoming, an event that brings home people of every age and station that ever lived here. You will see people that you haven’t seen in ages, and in spite of the sprawling splendid carnivalous varied vast adventure that is Applefest, there isn’t anything better than that.

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