Last Saturday, despite the incredible amount of work and responsibilities pressing down on me, I got in my car and took off.
Well, to be honest, I had the GPS set. I’m just not that spontaneous. I headed north to meet my daughter in the little town of Barberville, Florida for a festival she was attending, volunteering for, and camping at. I am butchering the name, I think, but it’s something like the Barberville Pioneer Festival of the Arts.
I had originally agreed to camp with my child for the weekend. However, the week leading up to the weekend was the most ridiculously exhausting of my school year. Field trip, bus duty, workshop, tutoring, report card conference night – AARRGGHH! So I promised my daughter I’d drive up for the day, not realizing at the time that it would take me almost three and a half hours to get there. I am an idiot.
Had it not been for the fact that my child was waiting on me to bring her some much-needed stuff in the way of note taking supplies and a Coleman lantern, I probably would have backed out. And that would have been a mistake.
The place was crawling with interesting characters. The “folkies” who had their guitars, banjos, fiddles, washboards, and the like; the “period folks” dressed in old pioneer garb; the crafters, the beekeepers, the quilters, the weavers, and on and on.
My daughter volunteered in the musical “petting zoo”. Instruments were available for anyone to pick up and shake, hit, or strum.
One of my favorite parts was listening to the jam sessions around the park. There were anywhere from 3 to a dozen or more musicians gathered here and there playing fiddle tunes and old folk songs. The largest jam session included a man playing a washboard, an autoharp, and a bass in addition to fiddles, banjos, and guitars.
I’ll leave you with a few more photos of this wonderful event. I plan on attending next year for the weekend and hope to spend more time with the artisans and musicians who so graciously and unpretentiously shared their crafts. I haven’t spent a day that relaxed and happy in a long time and I felt like I was finally among a group of people who shared my love for the simple, but most beautiful things in life – a pretty melody, a little history, and a thing of beauty made by human hands. Many of those participating were my age and older, which reminded me that it is never too late to start doing that which fulfills you. In fact, I met a lovely couple around my age who just starting playing a year ago. Now they’re moving onward and upward!