The Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival was held last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this past week, and it was (as always for the June iteration of the festival) hot outside.
That really has nothing to do with this column, per se, but I would just like to point out the lengths I go in the name of journalism. I know that some reporters cover war zones, tyrannical dictatorships and genocides, which is admirable. However, they have never walked among the fields of Sam Michaels Park on a pre-summer West Virginia Saturday. It was not the promise of free wine and coffee samples that brought me to the festival. Rather, it was the love of reporting from the field, the rush of being there when events unfold to-well, OK. I came for the wine and coffee.
Wine, as we all know, is beer's classier, slightly snooty cousin. As well it should be; after all, Jesus did not turn water into beer. Wine will essentially take you for the same ride as beer, although the car will be nicer, the taste will be better, and should you find yourself too frequently spending time with cousin Chambourcin, you will find yourself graced with a ready-made noun that describes you perfectly: wino. Think of that-there are no other tailored words for alcoholism except for the one dealing with wine, thereby showing its importance to mankind. There is no such thing as a "beero" or a "vodko."
During the festival, there are always a number of tents set up by local wineries, mostly from Virginia (although Forks of Cheat, from Morgantown, is usually there with a great selection of sweet, fruity wines, many of which can be found at Grapes & Grains Gourmet on German Street).
One of the last tents featured a table with Black Dog Coffee, which gave out decent-sized samples of its coffee. Now, it may seem like a bad idea to indulge in steaming hot coffee during a hot day, but the table was always packed with people. Black Dog was offering an iced coffee to help beat the heat, as well. I really have nothing funny to say about this. I just liked the coffee. Thanks, Black Dog (as a side note, Black Dog coffee can be found in the German Street Coffee and Candlery, which is just a short walk from Grapes & Grains-go on, get to buyin').
Another tent featured some truly unique craftsmanship through the combination of chair and hammock. I humbly submit to you, dear reader, that the best thing about a hammock is that it's not a chair. If I am of a mind wherein a hammock sounds like just the thing to rest in, I demand my hammock not be a chair, no matter what. A hammock is not comfortable; you know it, I know it, wolves know it. You lay in a hammock because it's an outdoor bed. If it were comfortable, on a nice day you may never go inside again. To counteract this potential loss of sleeptime productivity, the manufacturers designed the hammock in such a way that you never forget you are lying in a net. The only way to rest easy in a net is to not move at all. The thing is almost a trap, when you think about it; were it suspended over your head by a rope, you'd avoid it, certain that Elmer Fudd was somewhere nearby, whispering softly "Awight, buddy. Awmost thewe. Keep gowin, fewwa. Now you're mine."
There are remarkable things to be found in each tent-skillful creations from talented people. It's beautiful to look at, so long as you can get close enough to see. It gets crowded quickly, especially as high noon approaches and the harsh, unforgiving West Virginia sun beats down upon the heads of the gathered masses, pinking their flesh without pity. It's a little ridiculous the lengths to which some people go to avoid the sun, which of course leads to some pretty brazen acts of rudeness.
While trying to look at a few paintings, I had to step back for several people who would rather squeeze between me and the support ropes for the tent than to spend three seconds in the sun. It's not as if there is a large man with a magnifying glass waiting outside the tent to melt any stragglers who wander out of the shade-it's just the sun, and although it can get hot, spending the time it takes to blink in the sun will not seriously harm you. Even if it were, it would not kill you to throw out an "excuse me" or two, even if you don't mean it.
Well, enough of the complaints-the important thing to take away is that the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival is a fun time, filled with wine and coffee. The wine and coffee were especially good. Wine and coffee.