Jun. 21st, 2017

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Last weekend, Darwin and I went down to Ypsilanti to visit Sasha.  We had lunch, we discovered a really BAD buffet (and got our money refunded for it when we complained), and we went shopping.

After we dropped Sasha back at his place, Darwin and I decided to drive to Belleville, one town over, and check out their annual Strawberry Festival.  I'd visited it once about 15 years ago and remember liking it, and it sounded fun.  Street fairs are usually kind of cool, and we could get some strawberries and/or strawberry treats.

When we arrived, we got parking at the local high school, which was right next to what we assumed was the Strawberry Festival.  It turned out to be more like a county fair, with rides and games and animals and such.  What we didn't see were strawberries.  Finally Darwin found a building labeled FOOD BARN, which was selling strawberry-themed items: strawberry sundaes, shortcake, shakes, and so on. They also sold hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, and other foods.

That seemed to be the extent of the strawberries.

Eventually, we realized the carnival was separate from the actual festival, and it was a bit of a hike toward town.  Gamely, we struck out and, after about a ten minute walk, we found the real festival.  It was a lot of booths selling arts and crafts, and LOTS of churches who wanted to convert passers-by, and local businesses who wanted to re-do your gutters, and food trucks selling barbecue and junk food and lemonade and smoothies.

No strawberries.  I mean, NOTHING. 

I was thinking we'd find strawberry pies and jams and salsas and gelatins and ices and strawberry-themed crafts and . . . well, you know.  But, nope!  Not one strawberry anything in sight.  Why they bothered naming it a strawberry festival, we couldn't tell.

We also noticed that downtown Belleville is . . . dumpy.  Almost all the buildings took the worst of 1954's blocky, dull brick and lumped them together into a string of boring offices, with a few liquor stores and tattered bait shops mixed in.  The city hall, which stands on the corner of the downtown, should be an arresting piece of architecture, since it's the first thing people see when they arrive in downtown Belleville, but it's nothing more than a dull pile of brown brick.  A good chunk of the main street sweeps past a magnificent lake, which begs to sport a boardwalk and a boat rental place and some delightful pub/restaurants and at least one night club.  Instead, we have a guardrail, a dead parking lot, one bored-looking restaurant, and a run-down liquor store that looks like it deals heroin out the back door.  What a waste!

We did score a few burping cloths from a craft booth for the upcoming baby shower, and we had supper at an antique A&W, which was giving away free root beer floats in honor of the strawberry festival.  And I got to spend an afternoon with my dear husband and see Sasha.  So the day wasn't a total loss!


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