Where the shores of Tourist World lap at the base of the Seasonal Condo Land Mountains we’ve gradually grown away from the habit of marking time with months. We now go by the festival of the moment. Art events featuring wooden or visual or woven arts follow what has now become an order regular as spring, summer, and fall. All the above festivals are entirely unique and distinctive except for having almost identical contents. A moment of lax attention, however, can lure a stroller among the booths to wonder what the theme is. There’s usually a banner somewhere with that info, necessary because all the offerings of rock lamps and dangly earrings would otherwise be confusing. Is this a woven arts rock lamp? Do these dangly earrings fit the concept of visual art or are they musical?

This is where the experienced has an edge over a visitor because we know Local Arts Weekend is followed by The Salute to the Fish (humanely caught) Sandwich celebration. Plein Air comes next and is followed by the Salute to Wooden Boat which is sometimes swapped with a Collector Car weekend so the order of weekly events is kept unchanging except for needed alterations from year to year. The new rotation of weekly tourism festivals is more decorous than the old days when we didn’t have as many and the ones we had generally swung around a ball game, a barbecue, and enough beer to cause an uncle to remember a long past slight and start a clan war over it. These days the family barbecue nature is largely gone. People walk around in their best flip-flops to look intently at art they will never buy while eating things they can hold in their hands. The ketchup and mustard stains on the sidewalks will be there until February when Old Man Winter finally blasts them away. If people think they look cool and trendy wandering in shorts and T’s among the booths while munching I’d suggest they take another look at that. If you want to eat then go sit at a table.

  I’m sure it will be said my attitude is not good for tourism. Well, I know when people are on holiday they should feel free to relax and be casual. I’ll accept that food stains on a promotional shirt are not the end of the world and should not be cause for concern. But it still looks funny and often fills in the bigger picture of how people end up by over indulging the casual side of their natures. On some the casual hangs out and is not especially attractive and not at all pretty.  Is that mean to say of our guests? Perhaps it is, but maybe if you saw for yourself? In any case if a sight ruins appetite why can’t you tell a person? I might go far as say doing so is an act of social minded kindness.

Not that we dwellers in the world of Tour-Whirl have any special right, but after enough years seeing casual comings and goings you can’t help develop some eye for things that maybe should become known to others. Wouldn’t that be helpful and a kindness? A scene I saw years ago drove the point home rather well, I thought. One gusty Lake Superior day in early October I saw a woman bucking the breeze as she struggled forward. This would have been a usual so-what but for her garb, a sombrero size hat topped by a bright (non-imperial) purple serape. One hand fought to keep sobriety in the sombrero while the other battled to prevent the caped crusader from flight. It looked like the Flying Nun mingled with Ms. Poppins plus, well you know the others that could be named. Now, it’s one thing to step out a door and realize a costume mistake. It’s another to persist in Wagons Ho against obviously rotten odds. I did give her credit for persistence, but difficult avoid logging trucks and see the sights with a purple cape obscuring one’s vision.

More recently (tourist viewing is a local sport I’m tempted to do a book on providing tips for best viewing times same as with birds and fall colors) I saw a young man gear up outside his trend machine for a hike up a nearby trail. I’d done the walk lots of times but never needed an adventure hat, colorful “hikers” and wilderness vest topped by a backpack with a hydration supply and tube. The destination was not far off. It was extremely unlikely dehydration would be a concern in the next three fourths hour, but he was prepared and had the high-shine walking stick and all the appropriate clothing and gear with logo proof. I wonder why retailers don’t erect statues to the breed. The same variety is responsible for the colorful plastic kayak industry providing pretty hulls to put atop trendy vehicles. Oh, I’m sure there is a place for the kayak, but I don’t think it’s in the practical and useful category of watercraft. The classification I’d put them in would be the Overpriced Toy Requiring Little Craftsmanship to Manufacture. That ought to offend someone, and rightly so. A person should be offended having paid way too much for a big piece of plastic. If a paddler built her or his own kayak from Legos I’d be impressed. Otherwise not.

I was recently advised to lay off politics for a while. This is the result. Politics and tourism seem equally frivolous much of the time, so how could I go wrong with that switch? No, frivolity is not the right word. It’s more a case of being astonished at the great lengths people go being political or vacationing and in the process miss the simple beauty of the effort itself. They try for the thing, but they miss it through over sincerity of effort. People are difficult, aren’t they? Try explaining to some of our fellow beings that all cultures are not the same. A culture that requires obedient submission is not the same as one that does not. They actually know that is true, but even more they hate being (see serape section above) wrong about it.