Our daughter Amy and her hubby Ian asked us to join them at the North Country Fair (NCF) a couple of weeks ago. Amy is fairly “granola” and had attended the NCF previously. When I say she is “granola” it means that she is a kale and quinoa consuming, yoga posing, Kombucha drinking woman who buys Coconut Oil in the BIG CONTAINERS. Note: She even makes her OWN Kombucha, which surely gains her entrance into the hippy, dippy granola club.
Annnnnyway…….we decide that “sure, we would love to go with them and camp at NCF……it should be fun”.
We purchased tickets and prepared for the great adventure known as the North Country Fair (NCF) in Driftpile, Alberta. A huge music festival in its 38th year of existence – the NCF was a popular destination for music lovers.
We pulled out of Dawson Creek on what we now can call “high water day”. That was the day that the recent flooding reached its peak in Dawson Creek. It was still raining a bit, but our basement was dry and the trailer was packed…..as long as we could find a road out of the town that wasn’t blocked off because of a washout, we were on our way!
We arrived in Driftpile early afternoon, and made the turnoff to go to the NCF. The road was muddy……really, really muddy. The kind of mud that is almost like grease and the trailer slid around on the road as we made our way into the fairgrounds at a snail’s pace.
I had a headache, but realized that it was because I had my jaw clenched so tightly….where on earth WAS this place? To add to the panic, I could see the connectivity bars on my telephone dropping quickly until there was simple a circle with a line through it: NO SIGNAL, NO SERVICE.
We reached a checkpoint where we furnished our tickets and we given gold wristbands in exchange and we told, “Happy Fair”. Little did I know that “Happy Fair” is the mantra of NCF and is used in place of, “excuse me while I walk through the middle of your camping area dressed as a pirate” among other scenarios.
We turned into the NCF Fairgrounds and it was a wide-open field that already was dotted with tents and trailers parked willy-nilly. The Planner in me was aghast, “what if we needed to evacuate? How would we get out in an orderly manner?”. My teeth clenched tighter.
Amy greeted us with a huge knowing smile (she knew exactly what I was thinking and part of the reason she wanted us to atte
d is to see the look on my face when I arrived) and said, “Happy Fair!”.
So began three days of people watching. I watched people walk barefoot through the mud wearing nothing but a fake fur coat and gold underpants. I watched people experiencing an independence that my uptight personality could never experience. Everyone there was enjoying the freedom of expression, with no judgment,
And do you want to know the bonus part? The music was pretty great. Buffy St. Marie was there and it was lovely to hear her clearly identifiable voice fill the fairgrounds. I met Fred Penner and actually got a picture with him before he took to the stage and sang “Sandwiches”. There were craft sessions and slack-lining and great food vendors……and good company.
The rain stopped, the sun came out and it was a lovely weekend. We saw rainbows (really….we did see rainbows), and unicorns (there was a dude with a unicorn hat) and the mood around us was one of happiness (although I am certain that the mood could be partially attributed to “other” things). It didn’t matter what was happening in the world around us, because for this weekend we were taking a break from reality. No texting, minimal Facebook updating (I did manage to find a spot in the field where I got reception) and no depressing news updates.
We truly did enjoy a “Happy Fair”.