The Anatomy of a Fall Festival
Winter has twinkle lights and snow storms. Spring has blooming flowers and rain showers. Summer has fireworks and carnival rides. Fall, fall has a lot of things from leaves to pumpkin beers to digging out those boots and knits. Fall also means it's festival season. You already knew I was going to say that? Yup, I'm all about those fall festivals.
Nick and I have made it our goal this fall to spend time at many of our favorite new and old fall festivals. I can't say that our tour of festivals was extensive; we're busy creatures after all! But we did get to quite a few and that got us thinking: what makes a festival a good festival? Believe it or not, not all festivals are created equal and there's definitely an art to creating the perfect fall festival.
1. Bring on the crowds. This is probably the one and only time you will see me excited about crowds. The less people I interact with on the weekends the better but a good fall festival should definitely bring in a crowd. Bring in a few overly excited types to hype up the crowd and say, "OMG, this is SO much FUN!" so that people start thinking, "yea, this is great!" A little excitement and few extra people never killed anyone.
2. Make it more than one block. If your festival is not taking up a street, don't even talk to me. Street festivals are the best, especially if you're over 21 and are not stroller-prohibited (though I'm pretty sure that's not going to stop me when the time comes). Farm festivals are great for the under 10 set but real festivals happen in the street. Make it more than one block and you're golden.
3. Delicious food and drinks for the masses. I am not about to get myself out of bed and dressed up for an art festival unless Henri Matisse himself strolls down the street. Nope, I need food and drinks and plenty of both. There's something about eating in the street that makes my fall day that much better.
4. Weather perfection. This is a tricky one; you simply cannot control the weather. But I'll be totally honest that the weather makes the festival. Sunny skies, a gentle breeze, and some orange leaves make me say, yay fall! Then I start thinking I never want to leave and five hours later when the sun is going down behind the buildings I have spent all my cash and eaten my weight in soft pretzels and gourmet tacos.
5. Entertain me! When I first became a frequent visitor of fall festivals a few years back I did not want music. It clogged up the street and usually it was pretty crappy music. Someone somewhere read my thoughts and found some musical acts that sound fantastic. I've heard nothing but good music this year and my ears are happy.
6. Keep it free...but not too free. I love free stuff but when it comes to fall festivals, there is a fine line. I am still young enough that I get apprehensive about buying a ticket to a street fair but I am old enough to realize that anything that offers totally free entertainment or drinks or food can bring in a totally different element. So there needs to be a good split; admission should be free but food and drinks might require some cash. It keeps the festival from being overrun with sketchy people just looking for freebies. Keep that in college people!