#39 Goose Festival - Sumner, MO - October 23, 2010
Welcome to Sumner, MO the Wild Goose Capital of the world. Don't believe me? It's written right on their local saloon. I'm not sure what the process is to be dubbed the Goose Capital, but I'm sure Sumner has all of their paperwork in order. Just seems messier than cleaning up after a parade of Clydesdales to me.
It had been a while since I have been to a festival, and my heart may have been getting over-confident of late. Alas, it was short lived as I ate this oily mess of fried pickles. Normally, fried pickles are served in chip form which balances the tart pickle with enough batter. Yet these little diddies were spears, and these spears were ready to fully unleash their sour powers. It basically tasted like a warm pickle and the mug o' ranch did nothing beneficial. I can't stand ranch dressing.
These were sold as, "Poor Man's Mushrooms". I wasn't aware that mushrooms were very expensive, in fact I'm pretty sure they grow in the wild. (At least he button variety you would fry). Yet this vendor decided to make the process more difficult. These beauties consisted of Cream of Mushroom Soup balls with cornmeal, and then breaded and fried. Interesting concept, but breaded mushrooms are better. Maybe some goose would have been a nice addition to the batter.
The pioneer kitchen was open, and I was excited. I was salivating thinking about blue plate specials, goose concoctions or meat and bread sandwiches. Alas, they were out of everything except soup and pie. I settled for the pie. A nice piece of homemade pumpkin pie with Cool-Whip topping. You just can't go wrong with a slice of pie. My disappointment with the lack of pioneer food at the pioneer kitchen faded with every bite. (Side note: This is a good example as to why you should cover the exposed crust with a ring of aluminum foil when baking the pie).
I noticed there was something missing in my afternoon at the Goose Festival...a flippin' goose. There weren't any flying around, attacking little children or crapping all over the sidewalks. I think the reason was this 3-story goose was scaring them all away. A local cowboy informed me of this strange commemoration and I had to go see it for myself. I'm not sure I have to say much more about "Maxie" the World's Largest Goose. This guy has more info on Maxie, and points out that I somehow missed the world's largest pecan around here.
Not much is known about this mysterious object that fell from the sky some 200 years ago. I say "some", because the time frame offered spans 100 years. I'm not sure how rare meteorites are, but I had never seen a meteoric monument before. Two monuments in a town of 150 is not a bad ratio.
Trinket of the Week: A Duck Commander brand duck call. I'll be honest with you, a real duck call will put you back anywhere from $50 on up. You can probably get a good one for about $150. Now I have no idea what makes one duck caller better than another, but I now know that for $5 all get is made a sucker. This thing is a kid's whistle in a duck calling package. Maybe I'm not doing it right, but I'm pretty sure the vendor didn't laugh at me just because I didn't look like a hunter.
Videos of the Week: Now this is what a duck call is supposed to sound like. Notice the passion and heart that a true caller needs, regardless of their age. Note the youthful exuberance in contrast to the mature calm exuded by an old pro. This my friends is true callin'. I had no idea what I was looking at, and had to ramble on over to a cowboy in a yellow Wrangler shirt in order to find out. It's actually a lot like a harmonica where breath control is vital and each call is tailored for a specific behavior (ie. warning, mating, feeding, etc.).
It's been a while since my last update, and to my loyal reader, I apologize. I needed to take a self-imposed hiatus to take care of some things. This goose festival was a great welcome back. Although I didn't see a single live goose or eat any goose related goodies, it was still a pretty silly event. There are always smiling people just waiting to share their pride in their hometown with you at every festival in America. This time I met a beady-eyed cowboy wearing a canary yellow shirt and a cowboy hat who was quite open to discussing the festival. Apparently some years ago Sumner, MO was in the middle of the central migratory pattern of the Canadian Goose. Geese were so rampant that the yearly kill limit was 250,000 for hunters. But, as time, development, regulations and waterways changed, the kill limits dwindled to 100,000 and down to the tens of thousands today. Hunters are still at the ready here, but these days each person is limited to one bird per day. Hardly makes the effort worthwhile. Goose isn't that good.
Back to the lecture at hand, as always here is much more information about Canadian Geese than you probably had even been curious about. Heck they even have sound effects if you need the siren song of the Canadian Goose. Or if you are a little ADD prone, here are some quick hits of Canadian Goose facts. Here is some interesting information on their migration patterns and behaviors. Now, after getting to know the goose and hearing the term "kill limit" earlier, maybe you would like to stand up in defense of the goose. Then here is all the info you need. Or, maybe like me, you have been attacked by a wild-eyed goose and would prefer to prepare one in a delicious way.
As I mentioned, there was no goose to be found at the festival. Although my appetite was not satiated by the fowl, my mind kept asking questions about our lexicon concerning the goose. There are a lot of goose related terms out there, so I figured I'd explore a few. The term "goosebumps" has a surprisingly simple origin answer. It gets much more complicated when you bring up geese, gaggle and gander. Apparently a group of geese (in the air) is a gaggle, a male goose is a gander, a baby goose is a gosling and a female goose is a...well a goose. This is all explained well here along with the term, "Take a gander at...". It also explains the term, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander" (which I mistakenly thought was about what's good for an individual is good for a group).
Ok enough learning, because I know you came here to find a hand blown funny goose from Russia. Or maybe your warped mind has wondered if a duck and a goose are able to mate. The answer, well here is an entry named, "What the Guck". Well now you're ready to handle a gaggle of geese yourself. Maybe you'll find yourself in Sumner and not actually see any geese, well then here is an instructional video on how to call geese to you. Or, here is a funny documentary of the dangers of the goose. Thanks for taking a gander.