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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

'cuz the photos tell the stories...


For the third summer now; I have volunteered at Winnipeg Folk Festival on the La Cuisine crew. This means that I am one of many people who assist the chefs backstage in preparing meals and snacks for all the performers and thousands of volunteers. Apparently, we fed up to 4,500 people per meal this year. Dat's a lotta chopping. The food is unbelievable- so fresh, so gourmet, so NOT cafeteria. We ate a lot of beans, a lot of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, cinnamon buns from Tall Grass Prairie Bakery, hummus, roasted red pepper and feta dip on grainy bread, creme brule, eggplant parmesan, raspberry cream cheese french toast, blackened chicken, fresh cucumber salad, and lots and lots of...

..Juice. That's how the boys entertained themselves while Brian and I were on shift. With their backstage pass came the benefits of the all-you-can-drink "juice bar". They sampled iced tea, mystery punch, lemonade, apple and orange juice, and hot chocolate until their bladders begged for mercy.

It kept them hydrated for hours of fun at the family tents. Micah learned how to twirl a plate, make a monster out of clay, and walk a tightrope.
Sam made a few hundred new friends, made a pair of bat wings out of paper, and did his best to master the hula hoop.
There was another really important reason to hang around in the family area. Fred Penner. Our fifteen year old had to convince her little brother to come into the tent for his performance so that she wouldn't look like a dork. But it was really her re-living her childhood. As I wandered around the area and noticed all the teens and adults singing along to all of Fred's favourites, I knew she wasn't alone in her love and reminiscence of her many hours listening to his marvellous cassette tapes. And what a sweet man. One evening we came to our shift and discovered that the team before us was waaaaaaaaaay behind and we essentially had half an hour to prepare and bake the supper meal. There were long line-ups forming, problems with the barbecues and grills, and eggplant still to bake. While cooking myself over a hot grill, I saw Fred out of the corner of my eye moving from barbecue to veggie chopping to long line of hungry people singing a song and playing his guitar to encourage and urge us all on to finding our happy places.
It worked, of course.
Who doesn't love Fred?!

Backstage was also our favourite place to re-group, relax, re-hydrate, and find one another.


The atmosphere is light, friendly, and relaxed.
Waaaaaaaay relaxed.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, at this year's 36th annual festival a new record of 73,000(cumulative total) visitors to the festival. That's an average of 14,600 people on site a day. Somehow with those odds, I managed to run into my friend Karla-with-a-"K", Heather
(fumbling for words), Linda (my voice), and repeatedly, a face I did not want to see. A man who used to be our friend but casually left his wife after 26 years of marriage because he "just wasn't into her anymore"....
At the Handmade Village, I had the great pleasure of enjoying Wanda June's work again, and supporting the marvellous, artistic jewellery made by Redd Line.
And that's not even mentioning some of my absolute highlights: camping in family campground in our brand-new-to-us tent trailer, getting caught in the rain with nothing but two spiderman ponchos and one garbage bag; and best of all? A "chance" conversation backstage with a beautiful, amazing woman who is giving her life to Rwanda. A priveleged Westerner who lives there as a local with no fridge, stove, hot water, or family. She spends her time at a local orphanage loving kids, and spending whatever money she can raise to buy fresh fruit and diapers at the market. For the kids.
Made me think long and hard about Jesus.
Inspired me to keep attempting to live life intentionally.
Hopefully, over the next year there will be more on that. For now, another fantastic festival is behind us.
With no regrets.

10 comments:

bria erskine said...

Haha, you have a picture of Matt Epp on your blog!? Do you know his music? He and my husband are camping buddies. Anywho, I think that I should work at the festival next year. My sister did that for a few years in a row and always had a blast. Looks like you guys had a great time!

joyce said...

Did you ever consider the possibility that I am stalking you? First, there's the weird little thing of me having borrowed your shoes without asking. Then there's me following your friends around and randomly posting their photos on the internet....

I don't know this Epp fella at all. To me, these photos depict that laid-back, happy backstage feeling. I'll go ahead and assume that your friend isn't the guy about to use the vase of flowers as a pillow?!

Linda said...

What a great summary of FF. So glad that we could have a few minutes together there.

Judy said...

Sigh...

All the cool people live in Canada...

joyce said...

judy= you'll be happy to learn that many, many people travel to Winnipeg from the U.S. for this festival. They are fond of asking questions framed like this: "Do you ------------- UP HERE IN CANADA?"

(it always makes us sound so very, very far away and so very, very different)

I met some really lovely Americans while taking the shuttle bus from the festival site into the campground.

bria erskine said...

You're too funny and you'd make a great stalker :) Haha. He's the guy with the white hat, the jolly smile, and the santa sized beard. If you are interested in listening to his music at all (I listen to his CD's AT LEAST once a day), you can find him at www.myspace.com/mattepp and listen to a few of his songs there.

(and I'd have to agree with you on the whole 'people watching' thing...gotta love that!)

Leanne said...

Looks like a fantastic summer tradition. And Fred Penner! Awesome!

Anonymous said...

I love the flower vase - who was the artist??? MK

Roo said...

loveliest post ever.

lettuce said...

cinnamon buns mmmmm
raspberry cream mmmmm

all looks fabulous, what great photos