Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Fourth

Every year the beautiful and serene Riverside Park becomes trampled with trailers, portable stages, tents, tarps, food stands, bouncy castles, sticky cotton candy children, cigarettes, wagon pulls, and hundreds of people to commemorate the day the young, angsty, ragamuffin (5 points!) America signed a big piece of parchment that said “SCREW YOU, Great Britain! You’re not the boss of me!” and independence ensued.
(TJ = Thomas Jefferson. I think that’s what the other founding fathers probably called him.)

Now, 234 years later, we have Riverfest in La Crosse. Complete with patriotic garb that would make Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear actually explode.  My favorite was a man in a polyester button-down short-sleeved shirt with an American Flag background, and a flying bald eagle holding on to the handlebars of a motorcycle. It was too gruesome to take a picture of, but I went through the trouble of doing a Google search for "Harley," "Bald Eagle," and "American Flag" and made a collage that is frighteningly similar to the real thing, in case you needed a visual...
(American Flag + A simple motorcycle picture + a National Geographic picture of an eagle diving for a fish + a little layering = a level of kitsch one cannot experience without a gas mask.) 

I hit up The Fest (that’s what us regulars call it) rarely, and for the past couple years it’s been either beautiful or so freaking hot. This year, however, we had rain.  Not only did we have rain, but it was also sweltering. My protective NorthFace jacket was doing a bang-up job keeping the rain out, but the ideal of my personal dryness was just a ruse (5 points!), apparently, because despite the rain-resistance, I was sweating underneath like Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah.  
(I’d like to apologize for that last joke. Not to Mel Gibson, but to Comedy herself. I was having trouble coming up with “Sweating Like A…” jokes, so I looked some up online. What is wrong with me?)

The patchwork of tarps placed hours before on the sublime grass of Riverside had puddles galore as far as the eye could see. Who knows if the owners would be able to enjoy their prime spots to view the fireworks later.
I had no plan to stay at the fireworks—nor The Fest, for that matter—for long.  Only one thing did I need. You say “Fest,” and the salivating starts for me. I cannot help but follow the intangible force that is the call of Tom Thumb Donuts.
(Mission accomplished.) 


  1. I don't really understand why Mel Gibson would sweat at a bar mitzvah? Is it because he's expected to give lots of money? Is he a former Jew? OR WHAT?!

    Sounds delicious and awkward though! Grand. :)

  2. p.s. those doughnuts look like chicken in that picture.

  3. Mel Gibson, it seems, hates Jews. At least when he's drunk and getting arrested. Google "Mel Gibson Anti-Semetic Comments." :)

  4. Those doughnuts DO kind of look like chicken Mc Nuggets! Sad. The best thing (besides their greasy awesome yumminess) is the stray sugar they leave all over your face and fingers.

    I totally believe that a guy would be wearing a shirt like that at Riverfest!