Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pirate Festival - Kingdom City, MO - June 10, 2011

#41 Pirate Festival - Kingdom City, MO - June 11, 2011

Avast Ye Matey!

Just when I thought I was on the verge of running out of strange and weird new places, Kingdom City's Pirate Festival delivered. Meet the Wiccan Wanderer and his crow (oddly not a parrot) puppet friend. I could have taken a photo with plenty of people at this festival, but my friend here really summed it up. An open mind and a sense of humor were required.

I'm still stumped by this. For the life of me I can't figure out why the Pirates had a castle. For the record, I think it is a left over prop from the renaissance festival and just looks really cool at the entrance. Either way, it was easy to see that strangeness lurked just beyond the gates.

Welcome to "Shoot the Pirate". Yes, there is a pirate skeleton back there. Yes, there are random pots and pans hanging in obstruction of said pirate. And yes, I shot a paintball gun at said pots, pans and bony skeleton pirate. Why? Who knows, but it is better to stop asking that question in these parts.

Food offerings were slim at this festival. Apparently pirates really did sustain themselves on rum. In fact, the only things available were hamburgers and turkey legs. It really was a no-brainer to go for the turkey leg. Pre-made and held in foil on the grill (A festive fest no-no), but still tasted great. For my food purist loyal reader, the food has been light as of late but will be remedied.

With a full stomach, I ventured out to find larpers. Why larpers at a pirate festival? Again, it is better not to ask why, but instead to let it go. Here I am being trained by the best "stick jockey" this side of the kingdom. The larpers were very open to explaining things and were having a great time. To each their own, and maybe I'll meet him again down the road with some new moves. For more information on LARPing, see below.

Festive Trinket of the Week: I did purchase my own larping sword. Behold my very own Excalibur, or at least that's the name until a new one is earned in battle. Now you may ask, what magical materials were used to construct my new lance of justice? (That wasn't your first question?) Well its the perfect meeting of pvc pipe and swim noodle. You can even get your own weapon of vengeance here.

Videos of the Week: This festival could not be contained by one video. On the left, behold the speed, skill and power of LARPing in its glory. These guys are good, but I'm confident with a little practice I can give them a run for the money. On the Right: Meet Molotov the Gypsy. The man puts on a good show and something you don't see everyday.

Where to start with LARPing? First, it stands for Live Action Role Play. Here is a brief overview of the subject. It seems to me that the larpers I met knew of the preconceptions some people have about them and either don't care or revel in it. There is a freedom in doing what you enjoy without giving a concern about what others think. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot out there for more information on the topic and maybe it just needs to be seen live to be understood. If you are ready to get into larping in the St. Louis area, check out Amtgard Order of the Black Flame. If you still want to kick some virtual arse, then get some weapons here. Sadly, even fantasy worlds have rules to follow but there is also a guide for newbies. There are a couple movies on the subject I have enjoyed, Role Models for a comedy and Darkon for an in-depth look into the topic.

Yet, this was a Pirate Festival. I have by and large resisted the temptation to yo ho, avast or use any Arrr jokes. If that is what you were hoping for then you can start with this Pirate term dictionary (apparently it should be spelled pyrate). Once you have learned some new pirate terms, then you can use them on September 19th for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Or, maybe you were expecting pirate jokes. Then this is the site for you. If you have children, or are a kid at heart, then here is a fun little pirate chantey (We here at FFF likes anything with puppets). Yet for some reason animatronics are kind of creepy, especially the old Disney ones. Here is a very confusing version of an ol' song that I couldn't stop watching. I could go on for hours, but Rob Ossian has already done it in a much better manner than I could. Do yourself a favor and check out his compilation of all things pirate. Maybe your inner nerd just wants the pirate facts. Maybe you want to actually be a pirate now, then get your gear here.

When I woke up in the morning, I expected some fake eye patches and some unnecessary words featuring the letter "R". I got so much more. My apologies to my loyal reader as this festival was not a true food festival. Yet this site is dedicated to finding the strange and the different as well, and we succeeded to that point. I've heard the same reactions repeatedly when discussing my day, and I still don't understand why people look down on people having fun and not harming anyone. It was a fun day, letting go of all inhibitions and sharing laughs in the middle of nowhere.
Just goes to show you, an open mind is a terrible thing to waste. Why? Because it's fun, nothing more nothing less.

Monday, June 6, 2011

#40 Horseradish Festival - Collinsville, IL - June 3, 2011

#40 Horseradish Festival - Collinsville, IL - June 3, 2011

It's Horseradish Festival time once again, and I put together another recipe this year. I was the back-to-back champion and the stage was set to re-write the annals of horseradish recipe contest history. I took a big risk and went for all the money with a horseradish dessert. Welcome the Pineapple Horseradish Tiramisu with candied horseradish topping (which actually tasted better than it sounds). Please see the left column on this page for this recipe and other festive original recipes.

It was as if there was a bounty on my head, and the competitors kept filing in. There were ten contestants this year, doubling last year's effort. Pictured here are a horseradish pizza (corned beef, swiss, horseradish cream and grilled) and a horseradish cheesecake (graham cracker crust, jell-o cheesecake mix and horseradish). I'll admit I was worried seeing another dessert and the pizza looked really good.

Three more entries. From the rear, two types of chip dip, a corn chowder with steak and a steak sandwich with horseradish cream (the eventual winner). Personally I think the soup was robbed, as it was delicious although the steak was a little tough. Plating is always important in recipe contests, and the winner came through with a bell pepper sauce bowl and carrot peeled spoon.

The decision came out, and I won second. The dreams of a 3peat dead, I tried my best to look happy. In the words of Ricky Bobby, "If you're not first, you're last". In all seriousness, the competitors were very good this year, and I was lucky to have gotten second place to the person who won second last year. Notice the shockingly red ribbon in contrast to the royal blue from past years. If you can't tell, I hate losing.

Of course there was a whole festival going on this whole time, and what would this site be if it did not include the mandatory shot of the official 2 story tall horseradish bottle. This is my third time at this festival, so I will spare you the horseradish root toss, or the horseradish golf, or root sacking or even the root derby. If you would like to relive the past, feel free to visit last year's event and here for 2009.

This was my first festival back since last fall, and there is no better way to kick off festival season than a funnel cake. The staple that started all of this. It was just as remembered, and always takes you back to your childhood and puts a smile on your face. Not bad for a few bucks.

I ventured out looking for horseradish themed foods. This festival tries to include its theme ingredient by requiring every stand to offer some type of horseradish variant. The plus side is that every booth had something horseradish, the bad side though is they pass off things like this fried "horseradish taco". I'm not sure where the horseradish was, if it existed, but I would assume they put some horseradish on a taco. With that said, we here at Festive Festival Festivities stand by anything fried.

Festive Trinket of the Week: I had heard that the festival sells a cookbook containing recipes from past recipe contest winners, but they were sold out. I like to think that somewhere someone is wondering how the heck I scaled some of my recipes the last 2 years (For the record I measure nothing). With that said, a hat is always in order for a progressively balding man, and I was happy with this purchase.

Video of the Week: FFF has always been about bringing you the loyal reader a click closer to all of the great bands that play on the festival circuit. This is Exit 12, and they are a group of kids all under the age of 17. They sounded great, and I always like an opportunity to "OY" along with the music.

Although this was my third time at the Horseradish Festival, I'm still not sure what makes it "International". I assume it has something to do with Canada. Either way, it remains an inspiration to this site, and continues to inspire me to get back in the kitchen. 1 out of 2 ain't bad.

The pineapple horseradish tiramisu was actually a morphed recipe of something I had begun to work on last year. I wasn't sure about a horseradish dessert, and if the idea is still turning you off, then look away from this gefilte fish cupcake with horseradish icing. Wow. This was actually my most involved recipe thus far, and I've come a long way from broiling some shrimp and mixing some horseradish with honey. It's not a bad recipe, and may actually be better with less if no horseradish. The recipe is on the left column if you would like it.

Yet, Festive Festival Festivities is an educational site as well. For example, did you know that horseradish was selected as the herb of the year for 2011? It is in fact, and here is much more horseradish information than you ever needed to know. Or, maybe you came here looking for some medical advice. Then here are the medicinal uses for horseradish just for you. A fair warning though, if the previous articles have inspired you to grow your own horseradish then your garden may be overrun with it like this poor lady. I know that not everyone came to this site looking for actual information,some of you want the silly. Here's a horrible pun t-shirt that could be yours for $19.95, or maybe this short and to the point cartoon will be silly enough for you. Or, if you have 25 minutes to waste, here is a horrible episode of "Weird Science" the TV show (yes for some reason they mad a show out of the movie). Actually I'll just save you the time, the password is horseradish.

This was the first festival of the year, and the first post of the year is normally an exercise in knocking the rust off. There will be better to come (hopefully). After two years of running to every festival around the St. Louis metro area, I feel I have been to a majority of them. I will continue to search for even sillier ones this year, and I will need my loyal reader's help. Please send me an email if you hear of a festival you feel needs discovery. Thus begins year 3 of FFF, and I hope the road ahead is as fun as the road behind.