I went to another festival over the weekend. This time it was a Greek one. Unlike the Highlands games and Celtic Festival held in Sarasota, the Greek Festival was held by a local church. The size and scope of it was smaller but this one was catered more towards families with little children and fellow clergymen.
The carnival rides and bounce houses were set up for immediate viewing of the kids as you walked to the entrance. This helped build up excitement for the little ones. Once you got in though, you were guided into the newly built main hall where various vendors showed off their creations catching the eyes of the wives while the children tugged haredly at their father’s arms, begging to get to the rides. The wise wives would take the initiative and suggest that the Father go on with the children, lest they break something. They would find them later on.
All the father’s wanted to do was exit door right and get to the various food vendors where delectable meals of Saganaki and cold beer was to be had. The father was usually the last to get his way.
What interested me was not the various games, rides, vendors, or food; but the general popularity of the festival itself. Look around you. I bet that somewhere, sometime over the weekend there is a festival going on that is in driving distance to you. It may be held indoors because of the weather, but it’s still going on. There is a resilience to the festival. The size and activity amount may change according to the local economy, but not matter how bad it gets, there’s always one going on. And why not? People always want to have happiness in their lives. The festival can be an inexpensive way of doing that.
Festivals even show up in our displays of culture. In such dark movies like “The Postman” or television series such as “Jericho” there’s a scene where people go to a festival and celebrate life.
That’s what we do. That’s what we’ve always done. We celebrate life, family, friendship, community, and are optimistic of the future. Sure things have been bad for a while. Yes there’s always uncertainty during an election year. But these events are not permanent and we do not let them control our entire lives. The festival is a symbol of that optimism. So what if the rides are bad and the calories high. Life is meant to be enjoyed. The festival gives us another excuse to enjoy it.