Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Lumberjack Festival

There is a town called Deposit (population: about 2,000) about 30 miles east of Binghamton, that has a long relationship with the lumber industry. In fact, the town was named because it was the place where the logs were "deposited" into the river and floated downstream. So, for the past 32 years, the town puts on an annual Lumberjack Festival. I missed it last year and BOY was I bummed. It has literally been on my calendar for the better part of a year.

Which might explain why I was a little disappointed when I trekked out there today. Although it's technically a four-day event, I think a lot of the good stuff went down on Saturday. By Sunday, I was greeted by a "pony pull," which is apparently where they take a sled, pile it up with 2,000 pounds of weights, then have teams of ponies compete to see who can drag it farthest. Pretty boring to watch, actually, but seems to serve as yet another outlet for gambling (judging by the fact that the people sitting in front of me were quite excited to win first prize: $37).

I had hoped to see some good hard lumber, saws and sweaty men, but was primarily greeted by carnie rides, fried foods, and . . . sweaty men (YUK, on all three counts).

In 2008, I still do not see how those scary carnie rides seem to crop up all over the country at festivals just like this one. Who is letting their loved one ride on those things? They were rusty/crusty/rickety when I a kid, and they are only getting older by the year (ever see a new one? yeah, thought not), and the people running them? I will just quote my friend Steve, who wisely told me that carnie's "have small hands and smell like cabbage." He is Irish, so he should know.

The most action was probably going on at the horseshoe ring (field? lawn? pitch?) There were teams of people, with a player on each side, throwing horseshoes toward the other player (off to the right of this photo). This did not seem particularly safe to me, since the horseshoes were landing inches from the teammate and since the Rotary Club beer was flowing, but I guess the risk might be part of the thrill of it all.

I will never understand line dancing. These people looked positively bored as they stomped their way through songs like "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" (admittedly, a classic)

We went to the New York State Fair a couple summers ago, and I thought I had seen every fried food known to man. But this one slipped past me and I had to pause: anyone ever heard of a Zeppole? It is trying to be rooted in some Italian pastry, but at the Deposit Lumberjack Festival, "Zeppole" is I-talian for "greasy fried dough with sugary crap on top that makes you fat just walking past the booth."

I suppose I could have tried my luck at the raffle, but the prizes: a saw, some logger boots, and logger helmet- were not for me. Perhaps some free zeppole and a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl could have enticed me.

1 comment:

wheeedle said...

According to the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America, horseshoe pitching is done on a "court."