Finally had fun at an event

By Andy Winemiller -

Week after week, I tend to be a Negative Nancy in this opinion piece. The fact is I enjoy watching the game of politics, and there aren’t a lot of positive things to write about in that arena these days.

However, once in a while I just have a yearning to write about something positive. Thinking and writing in a positive manner can help me stay positive in life. That’s tough for me, but on Sunday an idea for a positive column fell into my lap.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first, though.

I absolutely loathe events. There is nothing which makes me want to jump out of a plane without my parachute more than a parade. I just don’t understand the allure. I get it if one is 3 years old, but I don’t understand how a grown man or woman can enjoy watching a bunch of cars drive down a street at idle speed.

My hatred of events doesn’t stop at parades though. Nearly a year ago, I lamented about the Autumn Leaves Festival and the lack of a beer garden at the event.

But this is supposed to be a positive column, so here it goes.

I offer my “hats off” to Mount Airy Downtown Inc. for offering the only festival in Mount Airy I have enjoyed.

On Sunday I was tasked with heading downtown to take some pictures at the group’s Mayberry Food Truck Fest. It just so happened my parents were in town visiting, which means a lot of things. I get some free labor around the house. My dad is still sore from the last time he was down, a visit in which we laid more than 500 square feet of flooring. It also means trustworthy babysitting services.

That means my lovely bride was able to come along, and we didn’t have to brave the rainy conditions with two kids.

I did some work. I took my pictures, and had it been most events around these parts I would have jetted when I was mission complete.

I couldn’t do that, however. Sunday’s event was actually fun.

We had hoped to get a piece of cheesecake from that food truck, as we had already eaten a late lunch, so it was sad news when we learned the cheesecake truck had run out of cheesecake.

We didn’t let that put a damper on our spirits. We trudged on to the Skull Camp Brewery tent. It was odd holding a drink and walking down Main Street, but it was glorious.

For the first time at an event in Mount Airy, I got the sense that it wasn’t all about making money.

Instead, $5 bought me a right to buy a beer or a glass of wine. I thought that to be a reasonable cost to help Mount Airy Downtown cover its costs.

Money aside, the event felt leisurely. The band was playing. Folks were dancing in the rain, and I was able to responsibly enjoy a beverage of my choosing while enjoying the company of friends and family. I felt like I was at the Old Time Jamboree or Dancing in the Streets in Amherst, Ohio.

It was purely enjoyable. Though I missed the beer garden at this past Autumn Leaves Festival, that was a flawed situation. It didn’t improve the overall festival. It only made ten minutes of the time spent at the festival tolerable. Such a set-up also encourages irresponsible drinking. A person stops by and chugs two beers in three minutes so he or she can get back to the festival.

The simple nature of Sunday’s festival meant it had something for everyone. There were desserts — as long as one didn’t arrive in the latter hours and want cheesecake. There were full meals available. Snacks were there for those with a smaller appetite, and there were some traditional foods from other places around the world.

And for me, there was beer. Good beer, too.

The other thing I noticed was that Sunday’s festival complimented downtown rather than stealing the thunder of downtown businesses.

When I wandered into Old North State Winery, the place was packed, and it remained packed for hours after the event. I noticed at least five people checking out at the Main Oak Emporium as the store was closing. Downtown was bustling, and it wasn’t just on the streets or at the food trucks.

So there’s my positive piece for the year. I hope we will see more events like Sunday’s, and I thank Mount Airy Downtown for holding an event I truly enjoyed.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.