At this moment, I am completely saturated with grease, sugar, and sunshine. I feel so good. Today was day one of the two day Taste of Madison on the Capital Square.
I was up on the square at 11 this morning, to work the Planned Parenthood table at the Farmer's Market. Standing near our table were a couple of anti-choice activists (both men) with rather graphic signs. Closer to our table was Kay, a 76-year old pro-choice activist, and a favorite of the Planned Parenthood tablers. She comes down to the market with a simple, hand-made placard that says only "I'm pro-choice", and stands by our table so long as the protesters are there. Many people passing by greet her by name, and she happily enages them in pleasant conversation. She is also quite deft at handling those who would argue with her or put her down. On man came up to her and asked how old she was (a fairly rude question to begin with). This man, who was about half her age then started quizzing her on what she would be doing now if her mother had aborted her 76 years ago. Yeah. He closed his arguement by telling her that when she died (implying that it would be really soon) she was going to hell, but that he would most assuredly go to heaven, and that those were the only two options. I may be a Christian, but opinionated, in-your-face types really bug me. How unChristlike. Fortunately, Kay held her ground beautifully. When I'm 76, I want to be Kay.
We had another not quite a protestor. He first spent quite a bit of time speaking with the anti-choicers, but I didn't pay him much mind since we were busy. However, after a time he came over to our table and started asking us if our message was so important, would we be out there tabling at the same time on a Tuesday morning? When we said that we wouldn't since no one would be there and as volunteers we would be at work or school. Then he started harranging us about being leeches for using someone else's event to promote our cause. He said that he had no problem with our cause, but with our using the event. We really didn't understand what he wanted, and he wouldn't go away. He just stood there and kept being confrontational, which kept people away. I actually found myself feeling camraderie with the anti-choicers he'd been harranging just before.
No doubt he would have kept it up for quite awhile, and then moved on to the next table...the Tenant Resource Center. However, I had had quite enough. I thanked him for his opinion and asked him if her would please move on (he was directly in front of the table, blocking access to the petitions and freebies). I asked several times and he refused and continued to harrass. So, I did something I never thought I'd do. I went to find security. By the time I returned, he had disappeared, so the other people with info tables were spared his confrontational weirdness. Huzzah. What a jerk, though.
By the time we took down the table, all of the market had been packed up early, to clear the way for the ToM. I missed being able to score my discounted produce, but there will be other weeks.
I strolled across the Capital lawn and found a cozy spot to sit and read while the festival got set up. I also took time to get a copy of the guide and read through the list of restaurants and offerings. Sixty-nine different restaurants had booths, and everything was $1, 2 or 3. (There was a scant few $2.50 and one $1.50 items, but most everything was priced for ease of change-making.)
With so many choices, I knew I had to choose wisely. Not only could my pocketbook take a hit of more than ~$10, but one can only eat so much food in a short time. My gluttony must have its limits. So, eher we go:
I started out with a $1 eggroll from Bluefin. Just what I'd been craving for a while, and it was quite tasty. However, sweet and sour sauce sure does draw the bees.
I took a little time to read the paper and digest, then headed up the street to the Loose Juice booth (try saying that five times fast), where they had frozen fruit dipped in chocolate for $1. The choiced were strawberries, bananas, and pinapple. Strawberries seems awkward, since they weren't on a stick. I'm not the biggest fan of bananas, though they were certainly convenient. In the end, I went with a giant chunk of fresh frozen pineapple on a popsicle stick, dipped in chocolate before my very eyes. Ooooooooo, so yummy and not at all messy. The fruit was cool and sweet, but avoided the drip factor inherent in most frozen treats. I highly recommend this treat.
More reading, more wandering. It wa a great day for people watching, and the obnoxiousness factor of the crowd was super low. There were four stages around the square, and while none of the bands really drew me in, they made for great background noise.
Next stop: Buraka for the Chicken Peanut stew on injera. I was tempted to try the Dorowot or the Misirwot, since I've never had them, but I wasn't sure how spicy they'd be, and wanted to conserve water. Mmmmmm. One thing that makes me sad is that I wasn't eating this stuff years ago. How much of my life has been wasted on burgers, when I could have been having Chicken Peanut Stew with injera?
Catering by Mike Losse had deep-fried cheese curd for $2, best deal on the square for that cheesy manna from heaven. I think fried cheese curds are among my top reasons for staying in Wisconsin. (Though I hear that in some places they fry things like Oreos!)
At this point, I was starting to feel extremely sated, and it was approaching 6, at which point the Taste of Madison winds down for the day. Last stop was at Nutcracker Sweet for a cone of German Roasted Almonds. Heaven!
Drove home with the top down, feeling fat and happy. I am very tempted to take a nap, as I am off to a partay tonight.
Don't worry, I'll work off this gluttony soon enough. (Though I must mention that Brat Fest is also this weekend!!!)