So, life wouldn't be much without the 'living,' right? If there's one thing my Momma, and Grand-Momma taught me it's that life is meant to be lived. Live hard, live fast, live without regrets. Nobody wants to find themselves in their golden years wishing they'd jumped out of a plane before they'd replaced their hip, or eaten that extra slice of pizza before the bypass. Of course, not everything we want to do is good for us, and those are the compromises we make as we move through life responsible for family and friends. It's never really 'just you' in your life, right? So today's bucket list is all about activities, festivals really, that can be enjoyed with others. Some of my best memories, so far, are from exploring life and all this crazy world has to offer with the ones I love!
Whenever my father's parents come in from Massachusettes they like to take a week-or-so trip up the California coast sightseeing. The Redwoods and National parks are among their favorite must see attractions, in addition to plenty of photo-opportunities along the Pacific Coast. Unfortunately, I'm at the prime of my 'working' years and never can work the time out to take such a big chunk off and explore the state I live in with them. Along with the Winchester House, Gilroy, CA is one of their favorite stops along the way.
Known as the Garlic Capital, this sleepy little town is mainly a quiet tourist and trucker stop on the way to bigger and better things. However, much like my hometown is transformed with the California Strawberry Festival once a year, Gilroy comes to life every July to host the Garlic Festival. (There's also a gorgeous botanical gardens in Gilroy if you're ever just passing through.) This past festival was actually on BlogHer weekend (the 64th annual event,) and I found myself so close to checking this must off my Bucket List as I drove past on Friday night! It's your standard festival, really, sprawling and massive with a royal 'Garlic Court' of local beauties residing over garlic eating contests and an assortment of food vendors making heaping piles of garlic fries and even garlic ice cream!
Also in July, and in it's 8th annual year, San Fermin in Nueva Orleans is more of a (race?) style event that pays homage to the Pampalona, Spain Encierro (Running of The Bulls) event. It is probably one of the most unique annual events you will find in the U.S., and I dare think how it got started. Sure, the patrons dress up in traditional 'runners' white and flee the streets running for their lives, but this reenactment has one particularly peculiar caveat; the 'bulls' are local 'Big Easy Rollergirls' dressed up with plastic horns and bats, in red, on roller blades!
It sounds, and looks quite chaotic, as I'm sure it is, but the event is not considered dangerous in any way. In fact, the event's website wants you to know "no one has ever been hospitalized," which puts this crazy lifetime event on my radar for a must try experience!
The Idiotarod, named as a spoof on the famous Alaskan dog race, is a 'race' often held in colder weather months, with no real official branding hub. That is to say various major home cities have adopted the event through the past 10 years and on the ground teams have promoted and organized festivities. Before you go judging the ridiculously fun photos, this cross between a shopping cart team relay and costume contest/pageant is actually almost always charitable in nature. Most major towns require the participants to bring donations (in specific quantities and items) in exchange for free entry and participation.
The point of the event? Aside from raising charitable awareness, which you an imagine is done in droves of free event 'press' as costumed participants march down main streets, it's generally a good time. Take the 'sleds' and turn them into decorated shopping carts, and the 'dogs' turned into costumed people and you have yourself on crazy, but surprisingly well mannered race. As you can imagine a great deal of creativity and planning goes into themed costumes and carts, and I suspect I'd most like to attend as a photography and spectator. After all, where else can you spot the robot and mother from 'The Jetsons' cartoon running to catch up with a team full of human pigs?
What 'annual' style events are on your Bucket List?