Monday, October 05, 2009

The Pumpkin Festival

I mentioned before how the one time we made it out to the pumpkin patch in Tucson, it was something like 95 degrees outside. What I neglected to tell you was that we left the outing for the day before Halloween because if you get your pumpkin (and carve it) too early in Tucson, it will wilt and mold and spoil before the holiday it celebrates has even arrived, due to the extreme heat. We learned that the hard way a couple years ago, when we had to throw out our carved pumpkins somewhere around October 15th, having naively set them outside our front door to melt in the blazing sun.

Obviously, that is not the case in Ithaca.
You can get your pumpkin as early as October 3rd, as evidenced by the fact that there is a pumpkin festival on that day. We went to the Pumpkin Festival in Cortland (a few towns over from Ithaca) on Saturday. It was...good, I guess. The festival itself was great: lots of pumpkins, lots of neat little booths, free pony rides (!!!!), and a hay ride around town for 50 cents. What caught me off guard was Cortland itself, or rather, the inhabitants thereof.

I knew something was off almost as soon as we got there, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The town was beautiful enough - rolling hills, a gorgeous cemetery (you can tell a lot about a town from its cemeteries), old houses preserved as museums, stuff like that. Then I started noticing the little things, like a preponderance of t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like, "Warning: I'm one of the dogs that got let out." A lot of people were smoking, which is nothing new. I've noticed that East Coasters smoke more than West Coasters do. Then I noticed that people were smoking around their own children, some of whom were very young babies in strollers. Now that's something you don't see too often in this day and age.

So I didn't know what to think of Cortland. It was not a tiny town by any means, but it had a kind of backwater vibe going on. The people - the ones attending the pumpkin festival, anyway, and who knows, maybe they weren't even locals. Maybe they were all bused in from some third location and I am generalizing about the natives of the wrong town - were yokels in a very in-your-face way that I've never seen before. They smoked in our faces, yelled in our faces (when we happened to be standing next to them as they carried on obtuse conversations with their friends across the way), and clogged up the sidewalks as they observed us out-of-towners in a slack and surly manner.

It got to the point where I started imagining that everyone was giving us ill-meaning glances through narrowed eyes, and we wondered if Cortlanders perhaps didn't take too well to Ithacans. Jeremy was wearing a Cornell hoodie and he briefly considered removing it to protect the family.

Thankfully, we left before that had to happen. The free pony ride and hay ride were worth the effort it took to get to the festival. And this was the view on the way home:

Yep. Nothing to complain about here. Honestly, I am not even exaggerating, hardly a day goes by when I don't take a moment to think, "Wait, I get to live here? Seriously?" It's just that awesome. (In Ithaca.) (Not so much Cortland.)


Sharalea said...

Lots of "pumpkin patch" posts on my google reader this morning (and I'll also be posting a pumpkin post from our weekend family fun)--fun to read everyone's pumpkin fun.

Yours was especially funny--the whole smoking comparison in particular. They just MIGHT have bused those people in from the SOUTH.

Where you can still smoke in most restaurants, and most everywhere else.

When we moved here (WI from KY) we were shocked that there was no smoking in restaurants--reminded us of UT and other fabulous states & cities who have taken a stand. What really impressed us was there were NO Smoking signs outside the entrances to outside festivals & such--really!?

I'm loving it.

AND I love your photo--Upstate NY looks amazing!!

Susanne said...

Happy birthday, Bridget!

Enjoyed reading about your visit to Cortland and your impressions. Maybe Ithacans give off "we're-better-than-you" vibes so that's why those "backwater" people don't take too kindly to them. *shrug* Then again, as suggested, maybe they were all bussed in from the South where people do smoke. (Disgusting habit and not well-liked by many of us here, I promise! It was probably the thing I hated most about Syria and I live in NC where lots of tobacco is grown!)

Nice picture of Miriam, and hooray for non-wilting pumpkins in October. :)

Liz Johnson said...

"You can tell a lot about a town from its cemeteries." AMEN. But I have an unnatural love for cemeteries.

Ithaca is so beautiful. I'm seriously jealous of where you live.

Liz Johnson said...

PS Happy Birthday :)

sarah said...

Thats unfortunate about the smokers, my one friend and I in Wyoming thought it was ridiculous they passed a no cell phone while driving law but don't care about smoking while babies and children are strapped in the back of the car and windows are rolled up. SO i know what you mean.

That's a cute picture of MeMe! and very Happy Birthday indeed!!!!

The Ensign's said...

...but the libraries.... the libraries make it a real place and not a heaven on earth right? It just sounds too good to be true.


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