Nothing says Autumn Leaves Festival like an eye-catching beverage.
For Autumn 2017, the accessory of choice for the most stylish festival-goers is a refreshing libation contained in a chic functional vessel.
Those vessels run the gamut from drinkable boots to transparent legs encased in fishnet stockings perched above black stilettos all the way to coconuts sporting fishing hats pierced with a straw. There are enough silver tankards roaming the streets to make one think perhaps a pirate convention is in town. And for those with more conservative tastes who want to be stylish but not too showy, small old-school bottles of pop are available directly from a vintage soda cooler.
Autumn 2017 is all about the beverage.
The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History has dragged a big old pop cooler, the kind that once was found in every country store, to the front of the museum and have been selling sodas in the small glass bottles of yesteryear.
Coco Bongo, with a booth at the corner of North Main and Independence, is purveying fruity drinks in a variety of containers. Kristan Sparks and Kayla Simpson chose coordinating cowboy boots filled with red and orange beverages.
“It’s so good, cold and refreshing,” said Simpson.
Sarah Bass and Irina Trenkova shared a drink in an almost life-sized leg clad in black fishnets and a high black pump topped off by a jaunty red garter. Friends of the ladies suggested that after finishing their beverage, the container might be upcycled into a leg lamp, a la “The Christmas Story.”
“It’s very versatile,” said Bass.
The silver tankards that populated Main Street were not the spoils of pirates, but the product of Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Pop Co. Wild Bill’s offer seven alliterative flavors, Rocky Mountain Root Beer, Vintage Vanilla Cream, Gatling Gun Grape, Rocky Mountain Diet Root Beer, Sarsaparilla Six-Shooter, Outlaw Orange and Blazing Black Cherry.
Jesse Zimmer of Wilmington explained Wild Bill’s unusual sales strategy. The tankards cost $16 and you help yourself to the self-serve barrels of soda all day long at no additional charge. Come back tomorrow and another five bucks sets you up for the day.
Bring your tankard back next year to the 52nd Autumn Leaves Festival and $5 will take care of your olde-fashioned soda needs for the day. Go to another festival next weekend and if there’s a Wild Bill’s dealer, same thing. Doesn’t have to be Zimmer. Just present your mug at any Wild Bill’s booth. There are 15 of them crisscrossing the East coast. Zimmer alone has been to 28 festivals so far this year.
Zimmer has been selling Wild Bill soda for one year but the company has been around for 15.
“I’ve served people who have had their mug for 10 years,” he said. “It’s exciting to see people bring the mug back.”
Zimmer says the charge is per mug, not per person. Share your soda with whomever you don’t mind drinking after, your significant other, your whole family, random people on Main Street. Wild Bill doesn’t care.
But try to get dibs on carrying the mug. It’s trés chic.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.