Kentucky State Fair versus November Fiestas in Puerto

8 Nov

I started to feel sad about not being able to go to the jazz festival in neighboring Mazunte next weekend, but then I remembered I don’t even like jazz. I realized that really I just miss fairs and festivals. My heart aches with longing every year that I miss WorldFest, my city’s giant festival of cultures. And especially now that I have kids, I miss the Kentucky State Fair, with all its silly attractions.

The Kentucky State Fair is a serious family tradition with my mama. And it’s that way for a reason; it’s awesome. I mean, you can watch baby chicks hatch! Pet pot-bellied piglets! See border collie performances! Talk to the giant Freddy the Farmer puppet/statue/whatever you call him! See acrobats! Watch people dive into ridiculously small amounts of water! Eat gross fried food and corn on the cob! Ride a roller coaster and make out on the Ferris Wheel (okay, so it’s been a lot of years since I’ve done that, and this is not part of my mama’s tradition- but what’s wrong with including this on my list of things I miss?) Marvel over rows of livestock that secretly all look the same to you! Sample the fudge and buy roasted pecans! Hurry through the quilt exposition to humor interested family members! Dawdle in the photo expo because there are surprising amounts of moving images to see! Count the endless streams of mullets, all day and all night! Walk and point and ooh and aah from morning till after nightfall!

There’s a lot to miss, obviously. But all is not lost here in my tropical paradise. This year we are taking advantage of the Festival of November. Last year was the first year we lived here for the Festival, but I was too knee-deep in pregnancy and full-time-job exhaustion to attend much of anything, especially since so many things start in the late evening. But this year exhaustion be damned! Grumpy tired kids be damned! We’ll be arranging longer nap times and going out- some, anyway.

We went to the our first festival event last night. It was supposed to be a coffee/tostada/peanut exposition followed by a concert. I’m not sure who organized the expo but they forgot to include the coffee, tostadas and peanuts. Oops. And okay, so we left at 9ish when the concert was about to start because the baby was practically begging to be put to bed. But we had fun, dammit!

Really it was just the same sort of carnaval-esque business that always gets set up at city hall for events. But it doesn’t really get old, especially when you’re a three year old. Lucia was in hog heaven, between all the food and rides, and enjoying it all with my co-worker’s little boy who just turned five. Thanks to Darian, Lucia was suddenly fearless, even on the fast-moving little Ferris Wheel which she cried on when she’d rode it with Papi a few months ago. They “drove” a Batman car and a semi truck, and jumped around in that bouncy-house thing. We nixed the bumper cars, although I have every intention of returning sans children to drive them myself. There’s also a real adult ride among the maybe 12 total rides- a circular one where you stand up and it spins you around and tilts you up high. There are definite possibilities there for a grown up date night!

Lucia and her friend drive their first semi truck.

Lucia and her friend drive their first semi truck.

fiesta
Of course the other main attraction is the food galore (as I mentioned, though, no promised peanuts, coffee, or tostadas.) There’s all the typical street food for Oaxaca: tacos first and foremost- a soft tortilla filled with your choice of beef, chorizo, tripa, pork al pastor, you know, the usual. Don’t forget the classic requisite Oaxaca food, the tlayuda. Think of it like a giant (whole-meal-sized) semi-hard taco with black beans, Oaxaca cheese called quesillo, shredded cabbage. a smearing of some pork fat product similar to lard, salsa, and an optional meat. There are other classics from the Oaxaca region, and then there are things that almost make it look like home. There’s pizza and cotton candy, for example. There’s corn on the cob, although here it’s served with mayonnaise, queso fresco (texture like crumbled parmesan but not as distinctive in flavor), lime and chile powder. There’s ice cream, although nieves are really more like snow cones served in an ice cream cone. There are churros and their fried bread cousins, donuts- called donas, sorta like chocolate milk is called chocomil, last syllable pronounced meal more than mil from milk). I have to say, too, that the donuts in Oaxaca are actually way yummier than donuts in the US (sorry, guys, but it’s true- they took your food and greatly improved it). No one could go hungry at any event like this, that’s for sure.

half of a tlayuda

For a space that’s perhaps not-quite-a-city-block long, there’s a lot going on! Besides the rides, the food, and the stage set up for the concert (with like 2 rows of bleachers), there are also some carnival-style games, like that one where you fish for some plastic thing and win a prize. It’s not bad for our quiet little coastal town. Besides, who needs the State Fair when I already live in a neighborhood with goats, sheep, cows, chickens, and turkeys running around every day of the week. (And we’re not even in a rural area!) Take that, Kentucky festivals! We’re rocking it down here this year!

Other events we’ll be attending include- contemporary Mexican cinema, a mezcal festival, a physical activity fair, some kind of gymnastics events, and a promising final concert on the beach! Look out, Puerto, here we come!

For a full calendar of events:

http://oaxacamio.com/puertoescondido/noticias-y-eventos/item/578-fiestas-de-noviembre-2015-del-1-al-29-de-noviembre-puerto-escondido-oaxaca.html

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