Sunday, April 22, 2012

Main Street Art Festival in Fort Worth

Although it inherently defeats the purpose, I've thought a lot about the theme of this blog post before I attended the main street festival in Fort Worth, Texas. Like a lot of the city wide events, I've been going the main street festival from as long as I can remember. Along with other themes, I thought about the freedom of walking through the streets amassed with the clutter of people, art, and the fragrance of grilled foods. I thought about my high school years where I strolled through the street with my small group of friends, and even through the barrage of distractions and fascinations, all we could think about were our petty girl problems. And I thought about the nostalgia that I felt after I rode a train ride from college on my third year; I stepped into the festival grounds, and it felt more like home than the house where I spent majority of my life. Admittedly, these blog posts are meant to mimic the depth of the vlogbrother's 'thoughts from places' videos where they attempt to share their insights of experiencing an event in their lives, and pre-determining a theme for this blog post before I experienced the even would defeat the purpose of attending an event at all. If I go somewhere and experience something, I don't want to impose the agenda of learning something or forcing a certain life lesson. I don't want to be in my head too much or trapped behind a camera attempting to capture every fleeting moment. I want to experience it. And this weekend, without any imposing pretenses, I attended the main street art festival in Fort Worth, Texas with my dad.

For those of you who don't know, the main street festival is an event where the city closes a section of downtown, and the middle of the street is lined with booths where artists display their artwork. Per tradition with most festivals, there was music with three different venues, food paid with the inflated currency of tickets, and alcohol, lots and lots of moderately proportioned alcohol.

Herds in line for food versus herds in line to be food, 
the circle of life in downtown Fort Worth.

As with most years, the event was packed with people inching through the main street as they gazed at different art booths and spectators lined the buildings for a place to eat or observe the masses. Admittedly, we didn't go into any of the artists' booths in fear of being engulfed in the tent by other visitors who stayed to look through every one of the artists' painting, sculptures, or prints.

I'm not sure I noticed it before, but the art booths felt a lot like walking through a middle school science fair. Some of the artists were chatting with their visitors while other booths were cluttered with fascinated kids and adults alike by their vividly glass sculptures. Obviously, the baking soda volcanos of the event were the booths with moving sculptures-- the gigantic wind powered animal sculptures and the conceptual contraptions with delicately moving parts and spiraling metal pinballs that moved around like elaborate, never ending gum ball machines. Still, there were a few booths like the failed potato powered light bulbs that failed to attract an audience.
 And if you buy any of these beautiful sculptures, people will 
randomly stop and take pictures in front of your house too!

While perusing through the street, we were given a small flier about a short concert in the bass hall, which was performed by the Fort Worth Symphony. The bass hall is an immense performance theater with an extravagant exterior featuring sculpted angels blowing on brass horns. I've only been in the theater once when I was in elementary school, and I remember how big and grand it all felt when we were ushered to our seats. Now, even with its three tear balconies, I was surprised of how small it felt. I'm not implying that it was cramped, but even with its spacious lobby and 2,056 seats, it still felt intimate and personal. The symphony was great; they played a few songs ranging from classics to recognizable movie tunes with a guest appearance of Jack Sparrow while they were playing music from 'Pirates of the Caribbean.' They even let the kids on stage while they were playing, which was cute and a little distracting, but in a cute way.
Admittedly, I randomly stole this pictures from the internet 
because google images takes way better pictures than I do.

Afterwards, we walked around. On the street corner near the restrooms, there were a group of people giving free hugs. It's a slightly awkward cross section where there were bound to be a lot of people standing around due to the line to the restroom and the traffic, and you feel semi-obligated to hug someone if they ask. I hugged someone after being trapped in the cross walk and my dad hugged someone right after using the restroom. If it helps, I believe there were sinks in the portable restroom hubs.

We walked through the kids' section where we noticed an abnormal amount of pregnant ladies and kids with baby dolls. In hindsight, we had a bias demographic, but there were a lot. There were so many kids with painted faces caring dolls that I'm sure they could have made a killing if they charged parents' a few tickets to get their dolls' face painted too.

While walking I bumped into an old middle school friend, and I realized that I was out of touch with my generation when he attempted to slap my hand while I attempted to shake his hand. We had a short, awkward conversation, and I was very surprised that he recognized me since we haven't spoken in about nine years.

After a while, my dad wanted to check his facebook account so we strolled into the downtown Barns and Nobel and sat down in the kids' section around a children's size picnic table. All the adult seats were taken. While we were there, kids were quietly reading small chapter books, a dad read one of his favorite books to his son, and a group of teenagers talked and giggled on the next table over.

Before we left, we listened to a swing band play songs from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. My dad recognized the songs from when his father used to play them over and over again, and he sang along as he noticed most of the audience had wrinkles and thin white hair while they danced and cheered along.

The next band played alternative rock music, and on average, 
the audience was roughly twenty years younger.

As he dropped me off home, we talked for a while in the drive way about his old high school friends and how they would go to the beach, someone would play their guitar, and they would sit and sing, and in the words of Stephen Chobosky, '...feel infinite.'

These are all just snapshots. When I was younger, I used to play a game at annual events like the main street festival. At an exact street crossing or landmark, I would try to remember how I felt and what I was thinking about on the previous year. In certain ways, it was always romanticized. I would either try to feel like I matured somehow or that I used to be happier in the past. But in a way, it happened and it's always happening. It's almost hard not to feel nostalgic for the fleeting present, but it's better to actually experience an event instead of fabricating one behind posed smiling photos or preconceived life lessons and themes for an event that hasn't even occurred.

If I'm going to miss something, I want that something to be real. And when I reminisce about those events, I want them to be so tangible that I could hold them and never let go.

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