Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Appropriate "Taste of Champaign"

We visited Taste of Champaign yesterday, an outdoor "festival" where local restaurants, artisans, etc. hawk their wares as mediocre local musicians bellow to a captive audience. The festival fell just short of my low expectations, like most things in Central Illinois.

The centerpiece of this event is supposed to be a representative sample of food from local restaurants. Not surprisingly, there is little variety. More prevalent than food vendors were "arts and crafts" tents with aging hippies and pretentious college town types selling pottery, bronze sculptures, and other useless trinkets.

Jenny wisely suggested that we spend no more than $10. The best $2.22 of that amount was spent on a colada smoothie from a high school band booster club. Tasty and refreshing. On the bright side, we walked the 2.7 miles in each direction. Notable sights along the way included some amateur tree pruning by a south of the border crew (including tree limb disposal in a 1990 Dodge Caravan) and the goose shit laden sidewalks surrounding the absurdly-named Crystal Lake Park.

Not to mention that we got an approving smile from a someone on a Vespa, who was apparently pleased that we were walking and saving mother earth. At least we got some exercise.

We had low expectations for Taste of Champaign, and it managed to fall just short. It is not surprising for a decidedly mediocre part of the country to fail to meet even mediocre standards. The people must be content to meander along at a snail's pace, with the assumption that everyone else is like them, and has little to do except rear children and slowly pursue polite incompetence in everything that they do.

Another not so hard earned D- for the American Midwest.

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