Attending festivals is often a fabulously fun idea.
While you people, with your Facebook Friends and so-called Twitter community, may call whatever it is you do in some virtual reality as a form of social activity, I tend towards gatherings of real, honest to goodness, warm-blooded, Piggy Flu disease-carrying folks, where we engage in high-risk human interactions, such as contrived athletic activities and the copious consumption of non-virtual, actual alcohol.
This may result with an infection by a virus not easily cured by McAfee Virus software, or at the very least, a nasty hangover.
If you didn’t already know it, the root of the word “Festival” is from the ancient “Festoon,” which—loosely—means “tying one on”,” combined with “val” (or “vom” as in Old Gaelic German), which was abbreviated from “vomit”, as a result of too much festooning.
It is one of the many risks I undertake as a Global Adventure Wannabe Humorist. It’s what I do for you people.
It is in this quest that I search out opportunities for finding festivals all over the globe. Thus, that I took careful note of a newspaper story about an upcoming event that involved the much maligned fruitcake—the bane of any serious pastry aficionados—and bowling—the epitome of an age-old American pastime.
And I assumed that alcohol would be involved.
A while back, I participated in a well attended, yet-to-be-reported-on, local representation of the national Lebowski Fest, which—true to the movie—included bowling while enjoying the appropriate drink du jour, the White Russian (or “Caucasian,” as it is called by the Dude).
So, I fully expected as an enthusiastic a response to the story in the Sacramento Bee about fruitcakes in general, and specifically, a holiday carnival Fruitcake Bowling event.
Given the reputation of this iconic Christmas gift item that has the density of a heavy metal, the texture of solid rock, and taste of aged cardboard with unnaturally colored chips of petrified fruit, it was only logical to see bowling as the perfect use for this regularly re-gifted “food” product.
The dessert version of Spam, if you will.
“Many people consider this the gift that keeps on giving. No one ever eats a fruitcake; they just send them on.”
So, I eschewed a warm living room, my fluffy slippers and Snuggie and football on the widescreen to join in the revelry, with the assumption that if there is fruitcake, there certainly will be rum.
Wrong. There weren’t even people.
I found a deserted carnival event, a bowling alley tent that housed a couple sets of 3/4-size plastic bowling pins and two big, round soft fruitcakes that looked and felt like cupcakes on steroids. These were soft and fresh cakes that actually looked edible: not the perennially passed on aged cakes that typically come delivered in a metal tin—that is no where as indestructible as the supposed food item contained within.
I give credit for the group that organized the event but they forgot that the only reason ANYONE ever attempted to consume a fruitcake was for the rum residue “baked-in goodness.” Certainly, anyone contemplating using one for a pseudo-sporting activity would like-wise benefit from imbibing said rum.
Maybe next year.
But, it should be no surprise that other enterprising individuals with a flavor for festivals have developed events that find some use for fruitcakes, other than as an immovable door stop.
Take for instance, the folks in Manitou Springs, Colorado, who employ modern versions of the Old Gaelic German catapults in an attempt to locate a fruitcake as far away from themselves as possible.
But wait…there’s more. One of the event activities is an attempt to CATCH the far-flung fruitcake.
I am compelled to ask “Why?” would a sober person even consider such a potentially dental-damaging activity.
Oh, wait…did I say “sober?”
Looking at the costumes they are wearing while standing in the freezing snow and the plethora of ice chests, is there any chance—any chance, whatsoever—that alcohol might be involved with these cheery-looking people.
They even have taken to euphemistically characterize the event as a recycling project.
Of course, as a professional seeker of global festivals involving semi-crazy people, I have learned to carefully research these events.
I mean, isn’t it only logical that when I saw an announcement for The 2nd Annual Fruitcakes In The Alley Bowling Tournament that I would assume a) it would involve fruitcakes and b) bowling would be an integral ingredient?
But, apparently not. As I read the information, the only fruitcakes involved are the Jimmy Buffet groupies.
(Before you start emailing me nasty notes about devoted, so-called Parrot Heads, this is how these Florida folks describe themselves.)
To their credit, while engaging in worthwhile fundraising, the pictures clearly depict plenty of bottles and pitchers of beer.
And as far as I can tell, no one attempts to catch a real bowling ball at the end of the lane.
Although, given enough beer—or Caucasians—landing in the gutter is a legitimate possibility.