Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Three Rivers Festival - Fort Wayne, Indiana
We've attended most of the 3RFs since we moved to town in 1975. The parade, the ice cream social, food alley, midway, and the fireworks are the usual suspects, with special events thrown in occasionally.

We'd watched half the parade on Saturday (with a 9-year-old who was anxious to "get to the lake" and start having fun). Half was better than none, I guess....

Last night it was Food Alley and the rides a Headwater. VERY light crowd--no lines even for the Fried Wisconsin Cheese! We were hoping it was due to the weather, although the weather was great while we were there--I mean, if people weren't downtown, I hope it was because they were afraid it was going to rain, not boycotting the festival for some unknown reason.

It was definitely Loud Bad Music Night. Bad for me, anyway, not having much appreciation for head-banging, atonal, atunal (I made that word up) alternative music. I appreciate the need and right of young persons to express themselves in music, but I wish it could perhaps have been scheduled for 9p.m. or after.... Maybe that attributed to the light family crowd.

It was also stunningly expensive. And we're pretty immune to expense, having been to Disney World this year. $6 for the Wisconsin Fried Cheese...$5 for a large lemon shakeup. $2 for the corn dog was a little better.

But the cost of the food paled in comparison to the cost of the rides. One really appreciates the bargain Cedar Point is. M. paid $20 for J. to get a wrist ticket. The big rides were five coupons, or $5 each, so all he had to do was ride four rides (and I think he rode seven times, a couple twice) to make the wrist band worthwhile. The little kids' rides were $3 each, and he bought enough tickets for the two of them to ride three rides each, plus their mom rode the train with them. Do the math.

No craft fair or anything going on in the west side of Headwaters, so no crowd movement or any sense of the excitement that used to be so fun as people moved from one area to the other.

Something was going on in Freimann Square, but I have no idea what...we just saw people as we drove by on our way home. I should have checked the booklet, but just forgot. And no way to tell -- There's no big "what's going on today" board anywhere in Headwaters--wouldn't that be a good idea?

Also, a dearth of benches in the ride area. After a long day a work, even a short break on a bench as we waited for the girls to get off the ride would have been great. Why does such a big park have so few benches? Or, why couldn't some temporary benches be placed around the area.

I was sad to evaluate to myself the festival failed on two of my three criteria for a fun time. (And this criteria applies to both temporary events as well as permanent ones.)

1) Food-passed. Expensive, and I don't think as many vendors as usual, but there was plentiful food. Too bad the experiment years ago with local food vendors failed. That would really make 3RF unique to FTW.

2) Music-failed. No problem with having a teen event, but early evening in the main tent--not the time or place. We were afraid someone was dying at one point, but they exited their set with such a flourish we had hope for their continued existence. At a big park like Headwaters, you would have smaller groups playing all over, something for everyone...a really festive atmosphere. And we have so many local and diverse musical groups.

3) Shopping/Exhibits-failed. Nothing to look at or buy anywhere. No art, no crafts, no business exhibits, nada. Boring.

I had hopes with the new director that 3RF would be better than ever. Last night, it was just another over-priced street fair.

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