Thursday, August 13, 2009

Life on the farm 08/10/09: Fool's Fest, This Little Piggie

We are officially over the hump; only eleven (or maybe twelve) more Saturdays remain in the summer Burlington farmer’s market season. It seems colder in the mornings and hotter in the afternoons than it should be, but that might be ague and global warming.

This week, Burlington played host to the Festival of Fools (again).

If you recall last year, we had two too loud performances placed tight to the market. Our paid for parking spaces were roped off, and a row of Porto-johns lined St. Paul Street.

This year, its impact was greatly diminished. There was a single aerial “stage” set up near the fountain, leaving the other half of the park completely deserted. Various performers used the same area every fifteen minutes. No plein-air potties. Ample parking.

Even so, by the end of the day we were hoarse from yelling, “What did you say?” over the recorded music that blared during some acts.

This festival made the market atmosphere ‘small town fair(y)’, which was kind of a nice touch. Too bad we couldn’t add local performance artists to the farmer’s market on a regular basis, like we do with musicians. Or maybe no one has thought of that?

Among the performers:

(That piece of paper held on the right is the size of a Post-it)

A dude with a bullwhip who shredded incrementally smaller pieces of paper held by his assistant. I swear he nicked him once, but that was probably part of the act. Suspiciously though, they did not return to their slot in the performance rotation.

Amanda Crocket was the hat-juggling/trapeze/balance artist/clown. Her act was cutesy and geared to kids; she was one of the few performers that I was able to find any information about.

There was a performer doing one of my favorite acts – aerial silks – you know, those high-wire acrobatics with wide strips of fabric ribbons? I think it was Shayna Swanson, or one of her troupe.

They also did “ropes” and were as close to a Cirque du Soleil performance as one could ever hope to see in a Vermont park.

Dan stopped packing up at the end of the day to sit on the tailgate and watch the hula-hooper. She was as far away in type from his least favorite performer, ‘any kind of clown’, as it gets.

In spite of watching bits of professional acts all day, the most entertaining thing I’d seen had been early that morning, when a man walked by with a fresh roaster piglet hoisted over his shoulder. I haven’t seen anyone tote a raw animal around since Dan and I did a New York City delivery run for Vermont Quality Meats in the early 90’s.

I offered him a bag to put over the pig’s head, since it was dripping blood.

I guess, what a person finds tickles their fancy is highly subjective, because the memory of a man with a pig walking through my booth makes me smile, and I know that that same pig, eight or nine hours later, made a lot of people even happier.