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Summer fun

There is something special about being able to sit outside with friends on a warm summer night sipping a cold beverage and listening to a live band performing their versions of classic songs.

It is evenings like that, which make the rest of the year more tolerable to live in Wisconsin and give us something to look forward to during the cold and dark winter months.

Putting on events is a tricky business with many variables that could put a damper on an otherwise good time.

After last summer’s steady stream of cancellations and postponements, the stars aligned to bring near perfect conditions for the annual AbbyFest celebration which kicks off the region’s annual festival calendar. I have been meaning to get to Abby Festival for the past few years, but life and a busy schedule seemed to conspire to wreck any plans I might make.

As a newspaper reporter and active community member, in an average year I end up attending a lot of festivals. Most of the time, I am either covering them for the paper, or helping behind the scenes in putting them on, or both. My children and their friends still find great amusement in my particular style of hawking popcorn at the 4th of July.

While it felt a little odd to leave my camera at home on Friday night when we headed down to Abbotsford, it was nice to attend a festival as a “civilian” and not have to worry about catching the photo of the toddler’s icecream covered face or the smiles and shouts of people on the rides.

I was there simply to have a good time.

After more than a year of shunning any type of crowd, it was refreshing to be sitting in a crowded plaza listening to live music. The advertising for the event promised rides, great food, and a band playing Classic Rock. They delivered on the rides and awesome food and even though the band seemed to stick with their country music playlist they were enjoyable enough to listen to while sipping cold beer on a near perfect summer night.

One of the things that appealed to me about Abby Festival, is that it is held in the community’s downtown with the rides and food vendors all jammed together along their main street forcing people to interact with each other. It created a familial coziness that I think is one of the keys to Rib Lake Ice Age Day’s success. Either that, or I am just a sucker for street festivals.

As you shared in dodging the laughing children running through the crowds or shared a picnic table with another family, it was a chance to get to share laughter with other community members and to ask them where they got that amazing looking food they were eating.

Among the more common festival food, there were a number of local vendors showing off the culinary traditions of their community. There is a sense of adventure in trying new foods and in butchering the pronunciations of their names. Let’s just say the cold beverage was necessary to wash away the spiciness of the pickled jalapeño that had come with my overflowing torta.

With a full slate of summer events planned for the coming months, there is plenty to see and do throughout the area. Take the time to stop by a community festival and while there, thank the volunteers and organizers for the hard work they do behind the scenes to make the event fun for everyone. *** My daughter is not a morning person.

As in the past she is working this summer at the Girl Scout camp near Irma and one of her duties includes handling the weekly delivery from the Sysco food distribution company.

Anyone who has worked in food service is familiar with dealing with these types of deliveries and the fact that the companies arrive on their own schedule. For Beth this means getting up at the crack of dawn once a week to unload and put away supplies.

This wouldn’t be so bad, she said, if it wasn’t for the fact that the sunlight and morning song of the birds wake her up.

“I understand the need for a way to communicate, but does it really need to start at 4 a.m.?” she messaged me Tuesday morning.

“This is why it’s good that I don’t have a gun. There would be no more birds if I did,” she replied to my laughter. Some people, just can’t appreciate the morning.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.