Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm back! (I think.)

I really didn't go anywhere I just didn't seem to be here, posting. What can I say? It was just a very busy and hectic couple of days around here. Like most weekends, we packed as much as we could into those couple of days.

Our Friday night plans became a wash out but "candle power" does not a computer run. Friday Concerts in the Parks were supposed to start but Mother Nature had a different view of that plan. We were on our way to the park when the rains came. Reversing directions, we found the storm had knocked power out at home so any computer contact was a no-go for the entire evening. The rains did not, however, break the heat or humidity. Temps hovered at 80 degrees through the night and the humidity hung in there at about 90%. It was sticky! (Typical Maryland summer weather.) Saturday dawned clear, hot and sticky. We judged the Beltway BBQ Showdown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and stayed to enjoy some fantastic blues music performed by a group known as Memphis Gold. They played some heavy duty blues mixed with a little jazz, soul and they really got folks up out of their seats with a resounding performance of When the Saints Go Marching In. I thought I was in New Orleans, again! I was ready to go dancing in the streets behind those horn players!The organizers wisely moved this event form the shadeless Equestrian Center to a fantastic green regional park in the area. Believe me, those big shade trees were very welcome on this hot, sticky day. After judging ended, we settled in under a big tree to just enjoy the entertainment and people watch. (The latter was really interesting!) Some menacing dark clouds began to circle late in the day but didn't hurt the crowd. There were still folks arriving as we left, shortly before the entertainment ended. What can I say? Good BBQ draws a crowd!! What we had there, was some of the best.

We headed Northwest on Sunday to catch the last day of the Western Maryland Blues Festival in Hagerstown.
The Hard Swimmin' Fish

This festival opens on Thursday evening with a free concert in the plaza in the downtown business district featuring a popular local band.

A paid event on Friday evening (again downtown) features four better known regional groups and truly gets the party started. Saturday's paid event is also in the downtown business district and offers eight national, regional and a few local groups, a huge selection of food and beer vendors, and more, from noon until 10 p.m. At that point, a lot of the crowd simply disperses to the many local venues who also feature blues music throughout the weekend.
Flat-Foot Sam & The Educated Fools

Sunday is billed as the Family Blues Picnic and takes place in the beautiful City Park (also in downtown Hagerstown) where they encourage folks to bring their chairs, blankets, picnic baskets and kids. Again, national, regional and local performers are featured. (This year there were 5 acts on for Sunday.) They also offer free children's music workshops and activities. Adult music workshops are usually also offered in the Museum of Fine Art which is on this property and is open on that day. Food vendors in the park offer some unique "festival" foods not always found at such events.

We particularly enjoyed the music of The Hard Swimmin' Fish and Flat Foot Sam and the Educated Fools on Sunday. Both have a hard-driving approach to the blues that appeals to our inner rock fan. I must say, the Fish have the only stand-up bass I've ever seen decorated with flames!
Although we only got there for Sunday this time, we usually go on Saturday, spend the night and make it a mini-vacation.

If you find yourselves in this end of the world, Hagerstown makes for a great week-end getaway. By day, there's shopping at both an outlet mall and loads of small unique shops in town, nearby history (Antietam is only a 20 minute drive), great restaurants and a lively club life at night featuring live entertainment most weekends. If that's not enough to keep you busy, the casino in Charlestown, West Virginia is less than 40 minutes away, too.

We needed to hurry home as we were expecting house guests for the night and The Big Guy also has a weekly Pinochle game at our house every Sunday night. We kept the activity rolling on Monday with a graduation ceremony which kept us out late again! Congratulations to the Class of 2010 at Kennard Dale High School and to ALL 2010 Grads!!

Boy, am I tired. I'm going to get some rest and get back to y'all soon!


article said...

It's picnic season once again. But there's always Mother Nature who can interfere with picnic plans. Love this post. Thanks for sharing.
traditional picnic baskets

Ren said...

Welcome back!