Friday, October 02, 2009

Applefest '09

(News-Herald, October 1) This week I’d like to talk about a guaranteed path to true love and peace for all the people of the world.
Ha! Just kidding. The only thing I could possibly be writing about this week is the 473rd Applefest in Franklin. Crowds may not top one million, though a large turn-out is anticipated for the launch of a moon rocket containing the bones of Col. Drake, followed by the Beatles reunion concert.
Okay, still just kidding. Generally the only way to say something new about Applefest is to make stuff up. As a pretend journalist I’m certainly not above that, but I am reluctant to do so when 100,000 fact-checkers are expected. (Disclaimer: the above details were exaggerated for effect. The Beatles will not be at Applefest, as far as I know.)
Every Applefest brings small variations on past festivals, mild mutations that have allowed the original small celebration to evolve into a sprawling monstrosity in the same way that single-cell organisms eventually led to more complicated structures capable of sitting on a couch, eating pizza and hollering Jeopardy answers at the tv.
So, yes, there are some new wrinkles. There’s the wedding, some new musical offerings, probably some new tchotchke shops. But let’s be honest. If you wanted new things at Applefest, you’d start your festing by first visiting all the stuff you never got to last year.
Applefest is festival comfort food. There is something pleasant in the consistency. We look forward to the music, the pancake breakfast, the race, the show at the Barrow, the cars, our favorite shops, the carved stumps and the seashells painted with Jesus and Elvis—it’s so much like visiting with old friends that visiting with actual old friends seem perfectly suited to the occasion.
However, if you are a mildly wild soul looking to spice things up just a bit, let me offer some suggestions for new Applefestian adventure.
Franklin Pizza Challenge: Next to churches and bars, we have more pizza sellers than Dunkin’ has donut holes (and why can’t we have one of those again, huh?). So—can you eat pizza from every pizza place in town before the weekend is over? (Disclaimer: note that I asked “can you”—the question of whether you should is one I’m not going to raise. The moral, ethical and dietary issues of the pizza challenge are ones that every person can only answer for him/her-self.)
Create Marketing Ideas: The Chamber needs ways to market Applefest like I need hair ribbons. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good ideas out there. For instance, Pittsburgh folks might be interested to know that Applefest is going to be way more fun than the G-20 summit. No demonstrators terrorizing local businesses and citizens, no local police terrorizing demonstrators. “Applefest: No Tear Gas Here” may not seem like a natural slogan, but I bet once it’s on a few t-shirts it will grow on people.
Cell Phone Games: Years ago, I suggested cell phone tag. To play that game, you call your pursuer and give hints for finding you. Back then, cell phones were mostly for talking. Now, of course, cell phones can be used for texting, photographing, and performing minor surgery.
So, for modified cell phone tag:
Team I starts by picking a location and taking their picture there. The picture location can be easy (by the fountain) or hard (by the roof slates painted with pictures of fish). Send that picture to Team II, who now have to find the location and take their own picture there and send it. Then Team II picks a new location and sends a picture to Team I. Rinse and repeat until it’s time to eat another funnel cake (approximately 30 minutes). Time stamps on the phone and math skills will tell you who found the locations fastest. Winners pick the place to eat supper; losers buy.
Cell phone teams may also compete to collect the largest set of pictures of incredible Applefest sights, from the above-mentioned Jesus seas shells to a ferret on a leash. Each special sight can only be claimed once—first team to send a picture to other teams gets the point.
(Disclaimer: If you don’t know what I’ve been talking about for the last two paragraphs, you should not attempt to play these games. Instead, just move along the sidewalk at a leisurely pace and when you see someone using a cell phone, shake your head and mutter, “Kids these days!” Then go get some pizza.)

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