I cant escape my undergraduate degree in Sociology – its everywhere. Then again, I have always been a people watcher, relishing the little things observed, odd and exotic behavior, and totally nontraditional things that crop up.
This past weekend was one of our really fun weekend art festivals – Hessler Street Fair. Located on CWRU’s campus, its a throw back to the hippie era of tie dye, rasta hair, and lots and lots of music. But it is the people that are the real adventure. Sure there are normal folks that just want to walk a festival, eat food and listen to the endless succession of bands. But then there are some that break from normal.
We met a guy named Tiger when he walked into out tent. It was hard not to miss that he was in some way associating himself with the Buffalo Soldiers, which are a defunct unit of the US Army. During the Civil War they were formed as an all african american unit (or units). Often they fought some of the most difficult suicidal missions no other unit would do. Tiger wears the name and bikers colors, and is the historian of the group… a wealth of knowledge.
There were a few old hippies that still looked and acted like old hippies. I always wonder where they go the rest of the year… And more tie dye that you could imagine. But this year seemed a bit different. There was less of the flamboyant hippie stuff, and a lot more of just normal people strolling through.
I had one rather humorous thing happen – a woman tried on a pair of earrings, and put the pair back on the card, tacked it back on the display (or so she thought). About an hour later i found the card – 1 earring was mine, the other hers….oops. So i thought it odd, put the card behind the booth and tried to guess what happened. Then a email came from her with a huge apology. I think this happens with a lot of us. When there is a lot on the mind, hard to keep track of
The guy we refer to as the Sausage Superman ( a man wearing a superman costume that is at least a size or 2 smaller than it should be) was strolling the festival singing to anyone who would listen. We wondered where he was because generally he is one of the first to walk down the street and stays long into the evenings. But this weekend he seemed like the starch was out of him, struggling a bit with health issues.
And the pack of single wild 20 something hippies that has been there the last few years were now hippie families with young infants. Must have been a good year for them.
There were art vendors new to Hessler, some embracing the flow of humanity through the brick street, and others a bit horrified and not fond of the experience. I must say if you have never stepped out of the comfort zone of life and into another culture this can be a bit shocking.
But it would not be Hessler without that blend of normal and not so much.
But one thing i never saw before was the new orleans style jazz band march the length of the street playing tunes like “when the saints go marching in” and gospel songs like “this little light of mine”, as the crowd slowly began to follow and sing along. The loud horn sounds, the soft muffled singing, and the energy of people dancing with the parade of musicians was so different for Cleveland Ohio… we loved it.
Only at Hessler.