David (orangebeaver) wrote,

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The Ozfest

Yesterday evening we went to Chittenango (near Syracuse) to attend the first night of the "Ozfest" which commemorates the fact that L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz books was born there in 1856. The sidewalks through the small downtown are painted yellow, several businesses have names like "The Emerald City Cafe" and there are fireworks every night.

We were excited to see the petting zoo set in the middle of the quaint little town's main park, but found it sort of disappointing. Well, that's an understatement: the petting zoo SUCKED. A few nibbly goats, a shy tortoise that wouldn't give anyone the time of day, two aloof llamas, skittish emus that would assault anyone who came near them, (out of fear) a small bull that kept trying to lay a goat, two rabbits that nobody could touch because they were in a wire enclosure, a wallaby that bites and a rather disheveled zebra. The petting zoo was over in seconds.

There was also a hideously overpriced carnival with about four rides, $4 cotton candy, $3 slices of pizza, and a stand that sold Confederate flags (and a banner that read SOUTHERN BORN BY THE GRACE OF GOD. Err, I thought we WON the war?). I'm still overcoming culture shock at being in America and was a little shocked to see 13 and 14 year old girls wearing short-shorts and tank tops trying to hook up with the local 14 year old versions of Sk8ter Boy, (while screaming "WHERE THE FUCK IS JASON?!!..." into cellphones.

Somewhat depressed by all of this, we drove to Chittenango Falls State Park which is pretty awesome, and a few miles from town. It's about 60 meters high, and cascades over a very impressive rock face into a white river. There is a trail that leads from the top of the falls down to a wooden bridge across the river down below. So, American culture disappoints at times, but nature rarely does.

I was curious as to whether anyone besides Ami and I had actually ever READ any of the Oz books. Shouldn't the Oz Fest have something vaguely to do with L. Frank Baum? To be fair, they were selling some of the books, (along with other stuff, including wooden plaques that read WORLD'S GREATEST RETIREE and mood stabilizing rings, shark teeth, desert rose quartz and hippie jewelry).

To cap the evening, we went on a tethered hot air balloon. I don't know how far we were off the ground, but we saw Chittenango from the air. The hot air valve where the fire comes out scared the shite out of me and I was kind of glad when it was over. Then they had 20 minutes of pretty cool fireworks. There were apparently some of the surviving Munchkins there earlier in the evening, but we missed them. It continues today with a parade, but it's rainy...
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