We've never been to the previous six Urban Art Festivals . . . well, not that we can recall, anyway. But the 7th annual was right on our way out of town and so we thought it would be nice to investigate. After you've read this adventure, please, take a look at the Urban Art Festival Gallery of Photographs.
We had to drive past the festival a couple of times to figure out where we could park. We didn't want to use the park and ride lot with its shuttle, so we chose the gravel parking lot. As I walked back to the pay slots near the entrance, a car was pulling out of a parking space just one over from where I parked. The driver spoke to Peg, "You can have our spot. We paid for two hours, but it's not worth staying." Since the festival only started at noon and it was only fifteen or twenty minutes into it, this may have been a rash assumption.
As supporters of TACID (Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities), we did note that there were no designated "Disabled" parking slots and the large stone gravel would have made walking and rolling nearly impossible for movement impaired individuals.
The longer we stayed, the more organized the booth operators became and the more people came to look around. At the stage, set up at the south end of the festival a display showed a long list of bands and musicians along with their playing times for both Saturday and Sunday. People could listen to about twenty groups for free. That was awsome.
One of the first booths I looked at was that of a metal artist. He had some interested pieces with different techniques and subjects.
I didn't get a chance to look at one, a wall hanging. It looked like a picture puzzle of similar size and shape pieces. They weren't fit together, but gave the appearance of almost being put together. There were people standing around, so I didn't have the opportunity to approach it and touch it. The pieces might have been of metal, but they might have been ceramic. Either would have worked. It was interesting and caught my eye.
My son does similar work of found art and connected art . . . mostly of metal.
Another interesting artist was a woman who had a buffet/sideboard on wheels. There was many drawers, and Styrofoam heads on top wearing various colored wigs with unique designed Mad Hatter top hats perched atop each head. The pregnant artist kept bobbing up and down as a young man tried to interview her. She was wearing a black bowler (derby) like Laurel and Hardy used to wear. I was hoping to frame a shot with her head even with the models.
Peg remarked on the artist and her work later, so she made an impression on both of us. I'm not sure what she was selling. The hats? The heads? The wigs? The entire ensemble? Who knows?
Peg found a woman selling jewelry made from various household items. She purchased a necklace for our granddaughter Laci. The necklace was made from the yarn of a deconstructed sweater, which was tied to a shiny crimson nut. Interesting.
As Peg made her deal with the artist, I noticed a man in a Hawaiian shirt looking over some of the other pieces under the canopy. I looked at and said, "Dick . . . Dorsett?" It was we hadn't talked face-to-face in years, we are Facebook friends, of course. I first met Dick in Toastmasters. I would love to go on an archaeological dig as he has done in the past. Eventually, this will probably end up on a bucket list. Dick has written musical reviews and says that he keeps current on our Adventures. I didn't test him, however. He was waiting to talk to the artist, so as soon as Peg settled up, we moved aside. It was great seeing him and talking together. . . even if briefly.
Taped to a light pole more art caught my eye. At first glance I thought the art was similar to some of our local mushrooms that grow on downed timber. On second look, however I decided they were wasps nests.
Constructed of overlapping corrugated cardboard they were shaped and taped. I liked them. They were quirky and attractive. Because one was missing, I could see the doubled-over duct tape stuck to the light pole.
Maybe they were designed to look like mushrooms? I wish there had been a title and artist name to go along with the brown/beige nests. It might be that the artist was still in the process of creating his art . . . busy as a bee, perhaps.
With the corrugated cardboard construction there was a definite feeling of honeycomb, so I really have to go with the bee motif and wasp nests.
On a recent Food Channel TV program I saw a Latin inspired ice cream bar, so when I saw a young man pedaling and peddling and selling new wild color flavored frozen confections I was hoping I would be able to taste what I had seen.
Not so, Jeff's Ice Cream (on Facebook) has ice cream and Popsicles. I chose a "mango with chili." It was nicely flavored with a little bit of a bite. Peg enjoyed it also. If I had stayed longer I would have tried several different ones like "pico de gallo with chili" or "watermellon." If there had been shaded seating and a soft breeze to go along with the Popsicle, it would have been perfect.
Jeff says, "I am a bicycle based ice cream vendor in Tacoma offering made in Washington ice cream novelties. "
We left the festival carrying newly purchased gifts, by camera, and trading the Popsicle back and forth. There was no regular food to eat at the festival, so Peg and I thought we would have lunch at Leila's Deli.
As we approached Puyallup Avenue, we could see well dressed people walking up and down McKinley Hill. Peg explained about the Jehovah Witness Convention at the Tacoma Dome. As we turned the corner by the Deli we could see lines of people inside, people eating outside, and more people streaming down the hill towards the deli. The convention looked like it was going to make Lu Bridges, my client who owns/runs the deli. She stays open past closing time when there are major events at the Tacoma Dome. I'm sure the religious crowd witnessed some excellent food on Saturday.
Without lunch we continued to Edgewood to pick up our granddaughter Laci. We thought that if she hadn't eaten lunch we would continue on to a couple of other restuarants that recognize Saturn Barter credit cards.
We picked up Laci, who was eager for lunch and headed to East Main and Mama Stortini's Restaurant where we had just eaten a couple of weeks before. As we drove up we saw a customer coming out with take-home. Peg and I are dined there for dinner after another granddaughter's graduation in Seattle. We had never eaten lunch there before. We will eat lunch there, again.
We were given a nice booth with a landscape view and placed our orders and then Peg and Laci began working on puzzles and games while we waited for our food.
We ordered the crab and artichoke dip. Served with five slices of French bread is was scrumptious. Laci gave her cheese pizza a big thumb's up. Peg and I shared a pear salad, which was wonderful. We shared the small salad, but they were served on two plates with generous helpings.
Peg was reluctant to order salmon because the last couple of times she's ordered it the salmon was a little overdone. I told her, "Just order it and tell the waitress exactly how you want it cooked." She did and it was served moist and beautiful.
I ordered the seafood fettuccine plus extra mushrooms and four extra prawns. The only problem I had was with the size of the prawns. At a buck and a quarter each I thought they should have larger than the last two joints of my little finger. They were excellent, however. I gave two to Peg along with a small scallop, mushrooms and finally a large serving spoon filled with mushrooms, which she put over her rice. Her meal was already perfect, the additions just made it a little more perfect.
Not only was the service great, the crayons given to children are Crayola brand instead of the waxy inexpensive crayons given out by some chain diners.
We had a great day at the festival and beyond. How can you argue with a beautiful day along with waterway, old friends meeting, new flavors, creative art, a long list of bands and musicians, and a fabulously tasting lunch? Aw, the wonderful Pacific Northwest.