Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mayfest Madness

Blogger: Natasha

Several members of the Tasha Does Tulsa crew headed to Mayfest Friday night after work. A few of us had already visited Mayfest 2007 at lunch or after work Thursday night, but we were ready for a second dose by 5 on Friday.

Mayfest 2007 was a special one for me, since it was Aaron’s first. Being an Arkansas boy who was transplanted in Owasso until age 18, when a long stint in the military seemed like a good idea, no Tulsan had ever expressed to him the fun that Mayfest can be. Since he doesn’t come downtown much even now, I was excited to introduce him to what the place looks like when it’s hoppin’.

So, not only did I get to expose my husband to the madness that is Mayfest, I also got to drag yet another Arkansas native and TDT person, Chris Bouldin, to Mayfest for the first time. He wanted to know what was the big deal with Mayfest, so we dragged him along with us. Party Brenda was also deflowering Mayfest innocents Friday night – she brought a Stillwater friend. There were some first-time jitters, but once we found beer, everyone was okay.

My favorite thing about Mayfest is the unhealthful but delicious food.

Here’s a run-down of what I ate/drank at Mayfest this year, starting with lunch on Thursday:

  • Indian taco
  • Crazy-huge cup of diet soda
  • Fried rice and chicken on a stick
  • Crazy-small bottle of water
  • Funnel cake
  • Fried ravioli
  • 1 Bud Light
  • 2 Coronas (in plastic cups, which was unfortunate)

Wow. Looking back on it, my Mayfest dining extravaganza wasn’t as impressive this year as it has been before. I’ve had fried onion rings, cheese on a stick, candy bar on a stick, and some kind of buffalo wings all in one night at Mayfest. But, maybe that was back when I was still in college and could handle that sort of thing.

Anyway, the best food I had at Mayfest this year was by far the Indian taco. I wish it had had some pulled beef mixed in with the beans, but I still ate the entire thing, which was approximately the size of my head. The cost? 14 tickets, or $7.

Brenda really liked the fried ravioli, which I thought was just okay. I mean, anyone can do fried ravioli. She also liked the fried pickles. I don’t understand the whole concept of fried pickles, so I’m just going to take her word for it.

The funnel cake was amazing, but it was too small to feed the seven people who leapt for it as soon as it came onto the scene.

I loved watching a huge crowd of Tulsans enjoy music together at sunset, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy the music itself.

Suggestion to all of you who plan to go to Mayfest next year: the best place to listen to a Mayfest concert is what Brenda called “the grassy knoll,” or the grassy area just north of the main water feature on Williams Green. Very romantic.

I wasn’t as dazzled with the art this year as I have been in years before. I don’t understand paintings of olives, or purebred dogs in martini glasses, nor was I stricken by the black and white photos of landscapes that resembled the desktop background on my computer. Then again, I’m not an art critic.

Something else: I understand artists are starving already, but does the art at Mayfest have to be so expensive? Can’t someone make something the Average Joe can take home? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sell a small piece of art to a child with just a few dollars left over from lunch? Maybe I’m na├»ve, but I think that would be really cool.

My favorite moment at Mayfest:

Walking back toward the crowd looking for snacks and beer on 3rd street from The Grassy Knoll, I saw a little girl of probably 5 or 6 stop in her tracks.

She was walking with her head down, swinging her long pony tails from side to side. She glanced up toward the BOk tower. She looked again, this time more intently, her blond head tilted all the way back – she stopped walking. The little girl yanked her hand out of her mother’s and put it over her open mouth.

“Oh my,” she said, eyes glued to the top of the tower.

She couldn’t seem to hear her mother, who had walked on but wouldn’t retrieve her daughter. Mom’s hand was outreached.

“Mommy, look,” she said, walking now to take her mother’s hand.

I didn’t get to hear the rest of what transpired, but I did get to see the first spark of a little girl’s dream.

The day before, when I had lunch with my mother and her mother at Mayfest, Mom mentioned that at Mayfest 2003, she and I walked up and down Main Street as I told her my worries about where my college and career plans would take me. I had just dropped out of architecture school to pursue a degree in English, which took me from a very structured school/career trajectory to one with virtually no guidelines. To call me a scared and confused college sophomore would have been an understatement – I was terrified, and I was looking for road signs.

I was downtown at lunchtime with my Mom, and I was surrounded by this beautiful environment at the center of where I had always lived, but that I was just then able to really see, since I’d been away for a while.

The buildings looked old and a little run-down, and I thought the streets and sidewalks would be a little more hectic. But, there was this exciting energy downtown that seemed to say, not only had big history taken place in this city with the now-vacant sidewalks and dark windows, but big things were about to happen again if only Tulsans would put together the pieces, do the work.

No revelations on the direction for my life came to me that day. Like most y.p.’s I know, my life plan still hasn’t been presented to me on a pretty little velvet pillow. But, after being presented with a slew of other options since Mayfest 2003, I chose Tulsa as the setting for my life as I begin a career. A big reason is my passion for the potential of downtown, which was sparked at Mayfest the summer before I turned 20, though Tulsa had been my home all my life.

Tulsa has had plenty of dreams. I’d like my generation to be the Tulsans who actually build something from all those plans. We could give our daughters a city that stops them in their tracks.

Live From Tulsa, It’s Friday Night!
And now, a transcript of the TDT Interview with Party Brenda on Friday night at Mayfest 2007, 9:45 p.m.:

*Unintelligible screaming and laughing*

TDT: Tell us about your Mayfest experience.

PB: Huh?

TDT: You’ve gotta be serious for a second.

PB: I’m nervous. You should ask me again when you’re not holding that [recording device] to my face. *nervous laughing* Okay, never mind, ask me. I’m ready.

TDT: What did you do at Mayfest?

PB: What did I do? I think the appropriate question is, “Who did I not do?”

*laughing and unidentified voice yelling, “Hell, yeah!”*

PB: Wooo!

*Several people announce they’re leaving the interview to find funnel cake*

TDT: What was your favorite part of Mayfest?

PB: John.

TDT: Who’s John?

PB: He’s the vendor at the Greek Gyros place.

TDT: What’d you like about him?

PB: Who?

TDT: John! What’d you like about John?

PB: Well, we shared a nice, fried weenie on a stick.

TDT: What was your least favorite thing about Mayfest?

PB: The cattle.

*Unidentified person says, “There was a running of the bulls? Where?!”*

TDT: The cattle? What cattle?

PB: *Makes mooing noise* That one, right there.

*laughing from the crowd*

PB: Not you, lady.

TDT: Okay. Are you going to come back to Mayfest this year?

PB: Yeah. Every day.

TDT: How many times have you been?
PB: I was here Thursday for happy hour…and beyond. I danced with my shirt up over my head, and I got a nice henna tattoo. I have no idea what it means. They said it was a Capricorn symbol, but that’s bullshit. I know that the Capricorn symbol is a goat. My tattoo is a W-ish.

TDT: Let us see it!

*PB shows the crowd her new henna tattoo*

PB: Does that look like a goat to you? Baaa!

TDT: What’s your favorite food at Mayfest?

PB: The fried ravioli was like heaven to my taste buds. Except, on the way up, it was not so good. I blame the fried pickles for that. I think the ranch was bad. *points at passersby* Don’t eat the ranch.

TDT: Okay…

PB: *to the passersby, still pointing* Totally not worth my ten coupons!

TDT: Anything you’d like to see happen at Mayfest in the future?

PB: Ha! Fire.

*someone says, “Hey…yeah!”*

PB: I mean it. A nice fire pit would be just delightful, I think. Think about how many hippies would gather around that thing. Think about it.

TDT: Where would you put this fire pit?

PB: Right here is pretty good.

TDT: Where are we…we’re at fourth and main.

PB: Yeah, fourth and main. Right outside Arby’s.

TDT: Anything else you’d like to say?

PB: Party on.


Josh said...

Being a transplant to the Tulsa area, too, I don't attend Mayfest as often as I should.
However, as with any 'fair' setting, the cost of the food usually outweighs my desire to eat it. I'm probably just a cheapskate. At least your $7 taco was super-huge.

Natalie said...

I have to tell you that the Tasha Does Tulsa blog, while awesome, is even better when I was personally there to share in the experience. I believe the people announcing they were going to get funnel cake includes myself.

And I didn't realize we had so many Mayfest virgins in the group. Had I known, I would have done things differently. Exactly what that would be, I don't know, but something.

Paul said...

Mayfest is a gas...the food, the people, the music (anybody catch Brandon Jenkins on Thursday night, or Eric and the Blasters at lunch Thursday and Friday?), and of course, the bellydancers who take the stage right after church on Sunday. :) I agree with what TDT said about the art being expensive...surely an inexpensive souvenir stand for Mayfest is a market niche to be exploited.

Anonymous said...

I think the ranch was bad, hahahahaha, don't eat the ranch, OMG, that's hilarious!

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