Friday, July 1, 2011

Memories of FestivALL

You know from my last post that we had to make a mad dash to get to Charleston for FestivALL and my time slot at the WV Writers' table. What is FestivALL? It's a two-week city-wide celebration of the arts. Plays, music, art installations, art shows, participatory art, dancing, sculpture--you name it, it is part of FestivALL.

This year the WV Writers decided to provide the beginning line of a story and let festival-goers add lines to the tale. We asked writers to submit ideas for the first line, and then let them vote on the best one to use for this project. A table was set up outside of Taylor Books, and independent bookstore (and way cool place); we provided a large flipchart and markers; the public provided the creativity. You can read the results here. We had the opportunity to talk to many people, give out brochures and tell people about our statewide organization.

I was scheduled to be at the table from 3-5pm. I got there (red-faced) about 10 after 3, which was pretty good, considering we had to get through a parade in Hillsboro, follow a tractor near Lewisburg and wait in long lines at the toll booths on the WV Turnpike. Nice thing about writers--they're a flexible lot! I settled in to see how the story would progress. And while talking to people and encouraging them to write, I saw the passing of many an interesting character:

Here Susan Nicholas talks with Barbara Bisby and poet Anita Skeens as as man in kilt and tennies passes by.

Can you walk on stilts and juggle at the same time? This guy made it look easy. 

Puppy Taxi?

Belly dancing, complete with antlers.

After we closed up our table, Larry and I cruised the craft tents. The variety of beautiful handcrafted items was amazing. This lady had tie-dyed clothing for sale, and she even had something in my size! A new storytelling dress now hangs in my closet. Happy birthday to me!

Last on our agenda for the day: the drum circle. We found out about it just before it was scheduled so we stayed to take part. If you have never experienced a drum circle I encourage you to give it a try. People of all ages, races, backgrounds joined together to drum shake rhythm instruments, dance and even sing. In all over 100 people took part. It was relaxing and peaceful. 

Children danced with gauzy scarves and several adults joined them. The look of amazement on the faces of those passing by was quite something! And they almost all joined in the fun. The organizers had many instruments available and readily handed them out to anyone who wanted to play. I learned that there is a circle that meets monthly in Charleston and it's on my calendar for August.

We stopped for dinner at the Vandalia Lounge: we were hot and tired and the sign outside said "Cold Beer and Wine." We ordered their Nero Salad, a spicy chicken salad that was the perfect meal for the end of a long day that included only peanut butter sandwiches for meals--it's what we got for staying up all night and sleeping too long!

We only experienced a small part of FestivALL this year. The event keeps growing and getting better and next year I look forward to spending a little more time exploring all it has to offer.


Mama-Bug said...

That looked like lots of fun. I love to people watch at events; never know what you'll end up seeing! Glad you had an awesome time. Have a great 4th!

Rowan said...

I'd have enjoyed joining in with the drum circle but as for walking on stilts and juggling at the same time - I can't do either even one at a tim:)

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