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Your lifestyle, your quirk
The three-day, city-wide drinking binge has finally ended. The Port-o-Potties have been removed, the thousands of beer cups have been picked up, and the drunkards have (presumably) made their way home. Old Towne has been quiet, presumably as its inhabitants attempt to sleep off their hangovers before returning to work on Tuesday.
I’m referring to the Orange International Street Fair, of course. Its website describes it as “the place where friends, families and neighbors get together to experience a wide variety of food, music and dance from cultures and ethnicities throughout the world.”
The reality of the situation is best described on my blog: “In reality, it is the perfect epicenter for the zombie apocalypse, being a small area full of people jammed in together tighter than sardines in a can. There are food vendors, beverage vendors, and recreational vendors, along with booths for…well, everything. If you can sell it or want to attract attention to it, you can get a booth for it at the Orange Street Fair.”
It is also one long frat party for my otherwise quiet little city.
I skipped day one of the festivities, but was out in full swing on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s the highlights:
Petty insults. A man in a kilt called me a redneck. I do not know why he called me a redneck. I also do not know why he was in a kilt. But now I can say I’ve been called a redneck by a man in a kilt.
Greek Street. Because baklava gives me superpowers. Alas, I can’t take pictures of food and eat at the same time, so you’ll just have to fantasize. I like to think maybe Paris of Troy stole Helen’s baklava recipe, not Helen herself, and that is why the Trojan War raged on for ten years – Agamemnon needed his fix.
The American Wake.The first time I heard them (a few years back), I thought they were Flogging Molly – the lead singer sounds almost exactly the same, and they were playing a Flogging Molly song. These days they do a mix of covers and original stuff, and the whole town gathers on Irish Street and attempts to mosh. The moshing usually doesn't get very far, but it’s fun to try. Also, Bon Jovi sing-alongs never, ever fail.
Viking hats. Come on, how often do you get to see half the inhabitants of your city prancing around in Viking hats? Answer: exactly once a year. Photographic exhibit here (not my picture) and here (also not my picture).
Zombie awareness. “Dude, the zombie apocalypse could start right here and everyone would just be like ‘Oh shit, it’s just bath salts’ and we would all be eaten and it would be NO GOOD I tell you, NO GOOD.” You know what, I’m glad the kid is paying attention to his surroundings.
Further public displays of drunkenness. I'm pretty sure just about everyone at the fair was at least mildly inebriated, if not outright drunk. I saw drunk young people, drunk old people, and drunk in-betweeners. It's not every day you get to see everyone in your city staggering around like zombies. Let's not forget the lone designated driver being forced to rely on her drunk friends to guide her out of the spot she got boxed into. I probably shouldn't have laughed...but I did.
Lightsabers. Okay, they weren’t really lightsabers, but rather lightsaber-shaped lights that glowed and were generally spectacular. I would have purchased one and waved it around maniacally…actually, I’m not sure why I didn’t. Lost opportunity there, Suz.
As I walked back home after the fair closed on Saturday, I passed at least a dozen house parties, two fender-benders, a fistfight, and someone squealing, “Seriously?! SERIOUSLY?!”
I’m beginning to think I’m getting boring…
The Brick Top Blaggers. I caught these guys by accident on Sunday; I went to Starbucks to grab a drink, then walked around the Circle before the crowds came in, hoping to get some shots for my article. I caught sight of a guy in a kilt on the main stage and went to take a look, thinking this might be the kilted maniac who called me a redneck…no dice. I stuck around for the sound check (they had a mandolin and a fiddle—always intriguing) and wound up watching the entire show. Awesome performance, lots of traditional songs plus some fun rock. They turn the traditional sailor song "The Bonny Ship the Diamond" into a kickass Celtic punk song called "The Bold Harpooner." I kind of want to be their groupie.
Also, thank you, random fairgoer, for photobombing me. You have a most excellent smile. Aside from you, I didn’t get any good shots.
(While waiting for BTB to complete their sound check, two girls in front of me paused. Then this happened:
Girl 1: Who the hell are the Brick Top...Baggers? What's a Blagger?
Lead Singer: [starts talking into his microphone. Is apparently Irish.]
Girl 2: WHO CARES HE HAS AN ACCENT!!)
Being mistaken for a drug dealer. Um, long story short, someone's drug dealer was described as "Alyson Hannigan" and apparently I look a bit like Alyson Hannigan when it's dark out and when the person who wants the drugs has had a few too many beers from Irish Street. We all laughed about it in the end. (Then I promptly ran for my life.)
Feces in the sinks on Almond Street. Okay, I can't verify these were genuine feces. Maybe someone played a prank and left fake feces there. I did not get close enough to look, but frankly, with thousands of drunk people passing through...I wouldn't put it past them. C’mon, rows of Port-o-Potties aren’t bad enough? Now we have to embrace public defecation? You disappoint me, Orange.
Running into an ex-boyfriend downtown. Haven’t seen the dude since college ended. He now has a zillion tattoos and pierced ears. I wouldn't have recognized him if he hadn't cooed, "Hey Suzie” before making out with his new girlfriend, who is just as tatted up and pierced as he is. I wish them well. Also, that much tongue in public is tacky.
Random cowboy wandering around. I have no clue who you are, dude, but you looked awesome.
American Wake, again. Aside from closing the final set of the fair with a ballad (I firmly believe every concert should close with either “Last Ride of the Day” or “The Cage”), they rocked it. They rocked it so hard they gave me a neck injury. I am not kidding; apparently I really am getting old. Dancing in the streets is catching up to me.
OC Paranormal Society. Yes, Orange County apparently needs one of these. They’re a lot of fun and know all kinds of fun facts about the history of the area. I didn’t see Ecto-1 hanging around, unfortunately.
Ready for the dinosaurs. I ran into my guy pals at the end of the night and they declared I looked “ready to lead a tour of Jurassic Park, like Ellie.” Am not sure what this meant, but I like Jurassic Park, I like dinosaurs, and think Ellie Sattler kicked ass, so…am taking it as a compliment.
Overall, it was another memorable year at the Street Fair. I’ll be ready for it next year…and next year, I’ll bring Ben-Gay.