What? You didn’t know that yesterday was the summer solstice? There wasn’t a festival down there in the lower 48? Ha. You people are missing out. Lucky for me and Eros, our day off happened to be on this most blessed of days. After a very long and slightly traumatizing week (for me, anyway), it was fabulous to have a day to ourselves again. We stole some bikes from the program and rode around town, rummaged through an antique store, saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Eros liked it, I thought it a bit lame), showered, and started the midnight sun festivities. Fairbanks has a big festival that goes until midnight, right in the downtown area on the Chena River.
I find it neat that some enterprising immigrants have Alaska-ized their native foods. Some locals didn’t take to this well, however. We overheard some people looking at the Bolivian’s empanada trailer say, “What’s that? If I can’t pronounce it, I ain’t gonna eat it.” Clap it out: em-pan-a-da. Geez. It’s not like it’s Yupik or something. (If you can tell me what that is you get a prize).
So we gorged on food, walked around stuffing our faces like big fat slobs, and people-watched. The bellydancers were fabulous and a definite favorite. All in all, it was very pleasant. Crowds here are apparently well-mannered. I didn’t have the urge to trip, smack, or make faces at anyone behind their back. Rare.
So after that we walked to the Midnight Sun baseball game between the Fairbanks Goldpanners and the Omaha Strike Zone (yeah, yeah – that’s their team name. We heard enough heckling at the park by a big Comicbook Store Guy in front of us). The game started at 10:30 and the park was packed. We found a teensy spot of grass behind some old people and staked our claim (pun totally intended – get it? They’re the Goldpanners?). It was quite fun, aside from the old guy getting nailed by a foul ball and bleeding everywhere (also pictured below).
Since I like lists, I will now list the top 5 reasons why a Fairbanks Goldpanners game is MUCH cooler than a Chicago Cubs game:
1) The people there actually know that they’re at a baseball game rather than a frat-party
2) The bathrooms are porto-Johns and are still more sanitary than the Wrigley flushables
3) I didn’t see one person on a cellphone
4) No trixies
5) The beers are $2 – $2!!!
So that was the solstice. It would be nice if it were that cool everywhere.