Posts Tagged ‘North Texas Irish Festival’

26
Mar

Back to NTIF

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

ZombieCapn_and_Klobetime Due to the aforementioned foot distress and overwhelming work-related crap, I’ve done nothing in the way of photo-taking. So, I’ve dipped into my reserves to at least get a post a day.

This is @klobetime and @CapnZombi – I leave it to you to determine which is which – relaxing at a music set at the North Texas Irish Festival on Sunday.

We had a truly enjoyable time, the three of us. On Saturday we were joined by, literally, hundreds of friends off and on throughout the day. Sunday, we just sat back and relaxed with some good music and beer, then followed that with a spate of shopping.

Thanks for joining me @klobetime and @CapnZombi.

 

Cheers.

~KR (Written on 26 March 2011)

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20
Mar

Ken, the Soundman

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

On Sunday of the North Texas Irish ken_soundmanFestival, my friend Mike and his son, Graham, and I sat at the Shamrock Stage and caught a series of acts. One of those acts, the Rogues, we had heard the night before and not been impressed. This morning, however, my good friend Ken took over the sound from the normal sound engineer; it made all the difference. The vocal were more clean, the piping was less muddy and the keyboards came through as expected. He’s a talented bodhrán player, Ken, but I had no reason to suspect that he is also talented on the mixing board.

Well done!

 

~KR

(Written on 20 March 2011)

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20
Mar

Jordan – the Cotton Candy Monster

   Posted by: crazyBobcat    in Daily

jordanAt the North Texas Irish Festival, I get to spend time with many, many friends – and sometimes, with their children, too.

This is Jordan, the Cotton Candy munching son of Marcus.

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16
Mar

Avalon Revisited

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Avalon Revisited

15 March 2011

Avalon Revisited by O.M. Grey is the book I finished last night. It took me under four hours to read it.

That having been said, I guess I even enjoyed it, despite it not being at all what I had in mind when I picked it up. Kyle and I bought this book a couple of weeks ago at the North Texas Irish Festival. It was being sold by a young man in a small, but charming booth. The space was more elaborately decorated than most, catching my eye, of course. There was rich fabric, a tall counter, and an attractive wooden bookcase to one side. The bookshelves were filled with the books he was selling, and this was one of them. Also available was a trilogy that intrigued us, but which our budget that day stopped us from acquiring. The overall theme of the booth was fantasy “steampunk”–complete with an Emergency Vampire Slaying Kit, framed under glass.

We were charmed by the effort that went into the product presentation, and as both Kyle and I have recently been reading other Victorian/steampunk/vampire stories, our interest was piqued enough to make Kyle pull out his wallet.
Although not at all impressed with the book’s cover, I was tickled by the blurb on the back. It told me the main character’s name was a vampire named Arthur, his love interest was a vampire slayer named Avalon, and it was a “sexy, Steampunk romance,” I was in.

What I didn’t realize until I’d read into the book … about five pages … was that “sexy” meant “seriously not for the shy or prudish!” I have certainly read my fair share of smut, but it’s been a while, and I was a tiny bit put off by the use of words like “shaft” and “petals” and descriptions of corset-ripping that culminated in the vampire killing his first victim by page 18. I have been known to brag about not reading “romance” novels … I am amused by them and I have dear friends who can’t get enough of them. But, it’s not my thing.

The book was reading quickly, though, so I stuck with it. And, in true romance fashion, our main character does fall in love by Chapter Three. Thankfully, this changes his outlook on things and in fact he does no more killing of innocent humans until the climax of the story itself, when he does so only to save his true love’s life–and then, they’re not so innocent. The pages in between deal with his various relationships and how he has juggled the life of an English nobleman with the life of a three-hundred year-old vampire. Arthur, the elder son of Henry VIII, by the way—a detail which I especially enjoyed—sees his first love, Katherine (of Aragon) all over again when he sees Avalon, and his heart is captured. Since she’s a sworn vampire slayer, the conflict is obvious.

After admitting I was in fact reading a romance novel, and adjusting to the occasional descriptive sex scenes, my main disappointment was that I felt this could have been any vampire romance … the Steampunk element was very weak. It’s there—the lovers meet on a dirigible airship flight; there are a couple of wrist-worn technological devices and a mirrored locket reported to detect vampires; and there are some descriptions of the Victoran clothing worn, although those lacked the detail I would have expected. But, it seemed like there was much in the way of Steampunk aesthetics that could have been included and wasn’t.

All in all, Avalon Revisited is a fun enough read, but I can’t say as I’d truly recommend it. I will say, however, that the writing quality was good enough, that I am still interested in reading the trilogy by the same author. I think Ronnie may have purchased those … I may see about borrowing them. I will look forward to hearing Kyle’s report on reading Avalon Revisited. He has much more experience with reading the Steampunk genre, and as such, I would give more weight to his review than to mine.

First sentence: “I was to be the King of England.”

~MB

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9
Mar

Beer Manager

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Beer Manager

5 March 2011

Being stuck in traffic due to an accident is not the way I wanted to start my first day as a beer manager at the North Texas Irish Festival. I had my schedule worked out pretty well and we left the house earlier this morning than we’ve ever left for an Irish Festival day. But, the universe had other plans for me, and by the time we parked (parking lot stupidity was at an all time high) and walked to volunteer check-in and I had a radio in my hand, I was much later than I’d hoped to be.

It worked out alright, though. I found my booth—they moved it last night!—met my first couple of volunteer pourers, and started my set-up. Wine and ice bucket over here. Sanitizing station … over there. Personal stuff back here. Boxes of cups … down there. Taps are hooked up … Breathe. Relax … Okay …

I got everyone signed in, checked their TABC licenses and learned names. We had little time to wait; since one other booth wasn’t opening at all due to the cold, nasty wind, we had early morning customers.  The cold weather made for a slow morning, but by midday, the sun was out and the cold didn’t seem so penetrating.

It wasn’t too far into the day when Doug showed up in my booth looking all business-like.  Then, Barbara showed up, too, and I started to get concerned that I might be in some sort of trouble.   When Kara, too, arrived, I was officially worried.  Three of the four beer coordinators—my bosses—in my booth all at the same time?   But, moments later, after a wordy introduction about how I was crazy enough to want more responsibility, they presented me with the hat in this photo.  Apparently, it’s become sort of a joke, that all beer managers are given a hat like this on their first day.

Those who really know me, will know exactly how ironic this is.  I hate baseball-style caps.  This is actually a “trucker’s hat” or a “hunter’s cap”—technically even more awful, in my book.  I hate the fact that somewhere along the line it became socially acceptable for these hats to be worn by anyone, anytime, indoors or out.  I get that baseball players need to shade their eyes from the sun … that’s an appropriate use of this hat style.  I can even understand other uniform-type uses for it …  But, backwards?  Or, on a shady day?  Or not on a baseball diamond?  And, why are they such a fashion trend?  And, when did men decide to ignore centuries of tradition and not remove these hats indoors?  Or during the singing of our national anthem?  I once tapped a six and a half-foot tall total stranger on the shoulder during the national anthem AT a baseball game and motioned authoritatively for him to take his cap off!  He did, too.  My list of billed-hat-related gripes is a mile long.

So, for me to be given this hat that I’m expected to wear, is frankly more than a little but funny.  But, as the newbie, and not wanting to offend or buck the system, I wore the damn thing … all day.  (I started to wear it the next day, too, until my husband told me how silly I looked in it and I got brave enough to carry it, rather than wear it.)  I have since found out that everyone thinks they’re awful!  Both those who wear them and those who just look at us wearing them.  It’s really rather funny.  A couple of the managers (mostly newer ones) wear them, but, one guy actually threw his in the trash moments after receiving it! LOL.  Another guy wears it only when working, and switches the second his shift is done. Someone else said they were given one, but didn’t know where it was.  I’m now trying to figure out if I can take the logo part that says “beer manager” and sew it onto some other, less offensive hat style for next year’s festival!  I might start a new fashion trend!

I worked my shift as manager at Beer booth #3, then went to the whiskey tasting and worked another couple of hours.  Since the whiskey tasting is how I got involved in this volunteer gig, I really didn’t want to give it up. When I finished there, I found my husband, and after a quick bite to eat, we enjoyed music for the rest of the evening.  Lots of our friends were there, including Bryan, Mike and Graham, Allyson (and Rod, although I never saw  him), Mary and Donny, Paige and Bobby and girls, Laura, Marcus and many, many others.  We stayed almost to the very end of the evening, finally tearing ourselves away only because we knew we had dogs at home, and that tomorrow morning would come awfully early after such a long day.

~MB

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9
Mar

‘Twas the Night Before …

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

4 March 2011

Another busy day that resulted in no camera use.  I worked the day in my workshop, the evening tasting at the Rahr, and was on my way to Fair Park for a manager’s meeting at the North Texas Irish Festival, when Kara lovingly called and said not to worry about the meeting after all.  Apparently they think I can learn all I need to learn in the few minutes before we open in the morning.  Heh.  I hope they’re right!

Actually, I’m really grateful for the night off.  We have said for years, that our “festival season” really begins with the Irish Festival in Dallas, even though we don’t work it.  We’ve always attended it, at least one day, and the snowball rolling downhill starts there!  The month of March is one of meetings and fittings and eighteen to twenty-hour days in my workshop.  It’s a month when I get little sleep and and make lots of pretty stuff. It’s my own version of March Madness!   And, by the time Scarborough Renaissance Festival opens on the second weekend in April, I will look back and barely remember most of March.  I should probably wish a Happy Birthday to all my loved ones who celebrate in March—including Stephen, John … even my mama … because it wouldn’t be the first time if I forgot some of them on the “day of.”

So, early to bed, then … yeah … sort of … it’s gonna be a long Saturday!  Irish Festival, here we come!

~MB

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9
Mar

Fair Park in Dallas

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Fair Park in Dallas

6 March 2010

Yay! North Texas Irish Festival! We look forward to this event every year. It’s not as amazing as the Milwaukee Irish Fest—that’s the biggest Irish Festival in the country. But, we have the second biggest one right here in Dallas, and it has grown into a truly fabulous event.

For a while, I had become less than enthusiastic about it. Our favourite band had broken up and it took the wind from our sails, as it were. Then, came my personal realization that when I don’t know the people on the stage, I am much more likely to be somewhat bored by what’s going on up there. Even when the music is good. Call it a side effect of my very minor ADD tendencies, I guess. I just need something else to do while listening. And, despite my love for music, it doesn’t play the huge role for me that it does for Kyle. For example, right now, I am sitting in a quiet house, enjoying the sounds of the birds and the wind chimes. And, of course, March was always a difficult time financially, what with my income being seasonal and starting in April. The more financially responsible we became, the less money we felt we should be spending at the festival, which meant I couldn’t really shop and truly enjoy all the wonderful artisans and vendors.

That’s when I decided it was time to start to volunteer! I got my TABC certification, and I started working the whiskey tasting. I loved it. In my second year of doing that, there was a severe shortage of folks to pour beer, and I got transferred to a beer tent—and I loved that, too! So, this year, I worked my fourth year of the whiskey tasting and my third in a beer tent. I did two shifts, which earned two admissions and a free t-shirt. I still got to hear a couple of really wonderful bands, I got to walk through the vendor areas, but didn’t have enough time to spend money, and I had a blast. Kyle pretty much spent the day at the giant, outdoor “rock” stage, with dozens of our friends coming by to see him, and sometimes spending hours there with him. After the final show (which I got to see over half of!) we were part of a group of eleven or so that descended on a Chili’s restaurant on the way home. We had a delightful time winding down from the day before heading home to two wonderful dogs that were really glad to see us. I think it was a perfect day for both of us!

I snapped this photo between my shifts, as the sun was starting to set and the light was really nice.

If you haven’t been to Fair Park lately, it’s worth the trip. The grounds have been somewhat refurbished over the last few years, and this year’s big project was the long reflecting pool between the main buildings. Complete with dancing water fountains coordinated to music, it’s a lovely, sensory addition to the park. Nicely done, Dallas!

~MB

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