It's that time of the year again when folks crowd themselves into cramped and roped off areas, sweating (and swearing) their nuts off while waiting in line to pay $16 for 3 spare ribs.
In my 41 years, I've fested at some of the best and the worst. From Summerfest in Wisconsin to Rib Fest in Naperville, I've scarfed down barbeque and cheap beer while watching some has-been rock band belt out one hit wonders. I used to love this time of year.
Now? Not so much.
There is something about the tradition that still attracts me to these events. I know that some ill-mannered and angry person will end up cutting in front of me in line while stepping on my feet with his gigantic, filthy toe-nailed, flip-flopped feet.
I know I'll get sick to my stomach and have to spend some quality time in the portable potty, sharing space with no less than 100 previous deposits from fellow patrons of the festival and 1,000 enormous flies.
I might just end up uncomfortable and overheated with 5 pounds of greasy, undigested pork in my gut, snapping at my kids for the littlest infraction.
I've come to realize that I don't even like going to these places anymore because since I've become a parent, I see them through a completely different lens.
I'll be honest. The idea of spending a week's worth of grocery money on fried dough, bottled water and meat on a stick has stopped appealing to me. When I spend $8 for a brownie on a stick that my kid throws in the trash after one bite calling it "yucky," while whining about the heat and asking when it's time to leave, I completely lose my ability to enjoy myself.
Tripping over my own feet while trying to make sure my kids don't get lost in the midst of obese, sweaty, famished festival guests sounds about as fun as being water boarded for 10 hours straight while being forced to listen to Lady Gaga.
That being said, I'll probably hit a few of these fiestas this summer. How about you?
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