In case you haven't gone to a Highlands Games event, the festivities exist to celebrate all things Celtic. There are bagpipers and dancers, herding dog exhibitions and athletic events (people toss heavy things as far as they can be thrown). There are booths selling food, drink, and t-shirts. This time, there was even a whiskey tasting.
We decided to skip the Highlands Games for three reasons. One, both of us would prefer to be there as participants instead of observers (but we don't get to play. Damn our lack of Celtic heritage); it just seems like it would be a lot more fun. Secondly, neither of us really, truly enjoys whiskey. Even the good stuff.
And, far from last, we would have had to buy tickets. It cost $16 a person to walk through the gate. For $16 a person, we reasoned, we could buy a pretty decent bottle of wine.
So we went to the town's other celebration of life. We did this because, one, we like art; two, we like wine; three, and far from last, the show was free for anyone who came downtown. In case you haven't gone to an art show/wine tasting, the festivities exist to celebrate good art and delicious wine. There are no bagpipers or dancers, no herding dogs and the only athletic event is pretending to be sober when you've spent too long sipping at the tiny little cups that contain the grape squeezings.
When we arrived, we found booths lining the streets and vendors selling food, drink, art and wine. We also discovered there were people selling jewelry and pottery, cowboy hats and bumper stickers. Wind chimes were available, meat seasonings merited their own booth, and there was a pasta company selling...well, pasta. We walked past every booth and all of the random musicians strumming on their random instruments. When we were done, we found very little actual art available for sale and most of those pieces were pleasant and a little, uh, boring. Why?
"People who come to a street fair could care less about artistic merit," one vendor/artist told us. He said this without bitterness but, then, his flower-filled booth was directly next to the kettle corn vendor. He was eating kettle corn as he talked. "They're looking for something sweet to eat and something fun to drink. If it's cheap enough, maybe they'll get some watercolor lilies. People want 'pretty'. They want 'pleasant'. These days, they don't want to be challenged."
Well, now we know. Freshly enlightened (and intrigued by the homemade fudge at the corner booth), Renee has decided to put away her latest canvas (the layout currently features an early-1960s Ken doll and emphasizes castration). Let this be a warning to you, too. If your artistic project is dark, gritty or unnerving, set it aside. Let the Chicken Soup for the Soul series be your guide. Somebody somewhere has sold over 100 million copies of those things.
Meanwhile, our most popular Kindle title (sadly, dark and gritty) has barely crossed into the four digits.
Currently drinking: Pillsbury Wine Company's WildChild Red. If you can find it, you should try it.
Currently enjoying: Better Off Ted. Why didn't we know about this show when it was on the air? (We're watching on Netflix.)
Quote of the day (just because): "Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" -- Mary Anne Radmacher
Kettle corn recipe: Thanks to the good folks at AllRecipes.com -- here