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Saturday I went out to the Strawberry Festival in Happy Valley. Katie went with me. I hadn’t been out there in a really long time, so I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going. As we drove, Katie mentioned that this was the kind of area/activity at which she half expected the “Hill People” to be coming out. I laughed, and agreed.

The place was pretty packed with cars and pedestrians. As we walked in, Katie and I could hear a live band playing and the lyrics to “I’m Just A Girl” filtered our way. Katie mentioned this was one of her favorite songs of all time, and the singer was doing a fair job of it. I thought that was a nice touch of irony and a fitting welcome to our outing, especially as we entered the festival by way of the tractor display. Of course we had to document.

Ooo! Tractor! I had to choose the red one.

Later, after perusing many booths and stands, we found another group of live entertainers, trying to compete with the crowd-noise; a motley crew of elderly gentleman playing fiddles, banjos, and guitars, and singing old, folksy songs. Something about “Women like you are a dime a dozen” and other timely lyrics I can’t recall. They were charming in their way, frequently getting their instruments too close to the hot mics and sending out a squeal of high frequency feedback. They still retained a dedicated cluster of fans perched on hay bales and picnic tables.

There was a decided air of the country faire about the place. Housed in the field of an elementary school playground, it also had that decided scent and impression of childhood oppression. Children yelled and screamed their wild abandon as they conquered the playground structures located in the heart of the activity. Tired parents half-heartedly watched their young, fending off the early summer heat and the low rumble of milling gawkers.

Being the bookish type that I am, I was delighted when Katie pointed out a tented stall of paperbacks. Neither of us found any treasures, though. I’m amused that such a booth was even there amongst the handmade rugs and handicrafts, the soaps and jewelry, the wood carvings and prints of area wildlife. I do love library castoffs.

The festival was a fitting start to summer festivities, and a herald of summer heat to come. We walked back to our car, enjoying the slight breeze, and I felt both stimulated by the sights and drained by the sun. As we drove to our next destination, the car was filled with amiable conversation and the sense that this was only the start.

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