So, here in Rochester, NY there is this thing called the lilac festival. I’ve heard about it before, but I never actually went to it until this year. And man, was it something else. The gist is this. In this particular park there are these lilacs. And every year they bloom and look really nice and flowery. So people go to look at them. Across the street in the field there is the festival itself, which is like a carnival with less rides, less games and more other stuff.
So I was on the way back from the comic shop with my friend and we are hungry as heck. So we figure we can get some good food at the festival. And oh could we! Every restaurant in town had set up a booth/tent to sell food from. Not only that, but there was also the usual amusement park fare. Funnel cakes, fresh squeezed lemonade, the works. So for lunch we had hot dogs, lemon/limeade and two deep fried Oreo cookies each. Imagine an Oreo, melted and squishy, coated with funnel cake. Unbeatable. So this food stuff took up about half of the festival.
The other half of the festival consisted of many things. First off, every 50 feet or so was a stereotypical carnival guy selling dreck. We’re talking high quality dreck, inflatable spider mans, funny hats, bubble guns. The kind of shit they give away for free at bar-mitzvahs these guys were selling for $3-$5 a pop. Outstanding. Then you had the usual artsy folk selling their wares. You know, the usual people who do art as a hobby and make a bunch of pieces all in the same style. Like the booth that sold only wooden wind chimes. After that there was a magician in a small amphitheater. He was kinda lame and kid oriented, but cool because its free. There was also a stage for constant live music. Too bad nobody real came. When Los Lonely Boys is the best band throughout the entire multi-week festival you’ve got issues. During lunch there was a piss poor country band, blech. And of course there were a few kiddy rides. Nothing even as big as the scrambler, just crummy little things nobody can have fun on.
Now, there was one thing left that was happening at this fair. In fact, it was probably the biggest thing. Advertising. The entire festival was one huge advertisement. I think there were more advertisement tents than all the other things I described combined. Sony/Intel had a huge tent promoting VAIO laptops and such. That was actually kind of cool as I was considering a VAIO and got to test out what I saw on the net hands-on. HP had a huge tent. Every radio station in town had a tent and a van. The local TV station had a tent. Local businesses galore had tents. There was one tent for a place that repairs broken or cracked windshields. Kaufmann’s the department store had a booth with an old lady in it not doing anything. The worst had to be Alavert. They had a really big setup and a crew of high school kids handing out free fucking samples of allergy medicine. Of course this was well targeted, allergy medicine at a lilac festival.
The point of this all is that this is supposed to be the big fun annual event that gives people in Rochester a reason to go out of their homes and have fun. The fact that most of the thing was advertising means that peoples idea of fun now is to watch ads! I mean, this isn’t anything new. In fact shopping in a mall has been a recreational activity for many many years. I think Sears invented that. The point is that consumerism is getting worse. Much much worse. The corporate stranglehold on the minds of the average sheep American is growing tighter every day. People like me are lucky enough to slip between their fingers, but oh what a terrible thing it is. Eventually that clenched fist will grip so tightly that all those still inside will be squished to death or squirt out the top in an eruption of human magma that will melt our western corporate society into a nice chunk of slag.
On a side note. Everyone there pronounced lilac as liLOCK. It’s fucking liLACK liLACK!!! It’s their own festival and they can’t even pronounce the word right.