Friday, October 04, 2002

From The Brain of the Giant Head

Spread the Gospel of Minsterfest

Someone once told me he felt overwhelmed with holidays and thought there were too many throughout the year, and I turned to that person and said, "Are you stupid?" Holidays are what make this country great. They get us out of work. They give us an excuse to eat craploads of food. And they give us a reason to drink till we unintentionally wet ourselves.

I love holidays.

A good friend of mine, Nice Smile Mitch, invited me to her hometown, a small corner of Ohio called Minster, to celebrate the only holiday people from Minster know how to celebrate. They call it ‘Minsterfest.’ It was named by way of a contest, in which children under the age of 10 wrote in and made suggestions. And since, at that time, there were only 3 children under the age of 10 in Minster, the suggested names for the party were "Giant Party," "Minsterfest," and "I Think I Have The Flu." A committee of 7 people voted and Minsterfest was born.

According to it’s Web site, (oh yes, it has a Web site), over 80,000 people flock to the village the first weekend each October to enjoy three fun-filled days of parades featuring colorful floats, marching bands, and famous celebrities such as Donny Osmond. They play games like The Beer Tray Rally and are punished for losing by running a 10K race.

While most people’s eyes are generally set on the arts and crafts area, what interests me the most is the invitation to sing and dance to German music. I love to sing (just ask anyone within shouting distance of my shower) and dance (I can walk like an Egyptian and Cabbage Patch), and polka-ing might be the perfect venue to display my spirited skills.

Now as you all know I’m a City Guy, (pause for a moment as I break into the theme song of the best Saturday Morning TV show around, City Guys), and the thought of small towns gives me the heebee geebees. I also picture people from small towns walking around in overalls with grass hanging out of their mouths while talking into a tin can attached to a string. While these images scare me, there are some advantages to townie life, like no crime, you know everyone, and gas is only 15 cents per gallon. And, most importantly, people still care.

Early on I realized I couldn’t make it to the metropolis that is Minster, and three tears ran down my face cause I really wanted to experience small town life. My smile returned when I learned that I don’t have to attend -- I could vicariously watch the whole thing via Webcast on the Internet. Minster may be a small town, but contrary to my belief it has the basic necessities like cell phones, irritating AM radio hosts, and broadband Internet connection. I love technology.

And I know that I always give Mitch a hard time for growing up in a small town, but I also compliment her all the time for making the jump from small town to big city life. It’s hard to do. But eventually she will enjoy some of the finer aspects of living in the city like the rest of us City Kids -- air pollution, traffic, neighborhood crime, etc.

I applaud her town for starting Minsterfest, and I propose that it be a national holiday in recognition of small town life. Most of us in the city don’t appreciate what we have and take for granted all the life there is to celebrate around us. Minsterfest should teach us that there’s more to life than watching TV and getting food delivered. And from now on, in the spirit of Minster I am going to take advantage of life. I will get off my butt and explore more of the city. I will visit museums. I will volunteer my time to shelters and soup kitchens. I will...oops, sorry have to run. FRIENDS starts in a few minutes and that pizza I ordered should be arriving any minute.

If you have a chance this weekend, head on up to Minsterfest and have a blast. Thanks to Mitch for being such a good sport in all my small town jokes. And don’t worry, one day you’ll be smiling down on me from heaven as I suffer in a small town the Bible refers to as HELL. I hear God has a sense of humor on that stuff.