Get set …

alumapalooza-tent-crew.jpg We’re gearing up for Alumapalooza. The crazy go-go-go schedule has already begun, for us organizers.  It won’t stop until next Sunday, June 6.

Yesterday was brutally hot, sunny, and humid, but we had to make up the goody bags for the attendees, so we geared up our “git er done” attitude.  The job had to be done outside because the sheer amount of stuff going into the bags was too much for any trailer or motorhome.  Brett set up a 10×10 tent shelter for shade and kept the bag stuffing-crew (Eleanor, Emma, Lisa, Brett, me) hydrated with bottled water.

We stuffed all 150+ bags and then crammed the back of the Mercedes full with them.  We can’t put anything in the car until we hand out those bags to the attendees. Fortunately, we are expecting about 70 trailers on Tuesday, so the supply will be drastically cut down early on.

Emma is leaving us this week, to spend time with her grandparents while Eleanor and I work on Alumapalooza.  That meant driving down to Dayton to pick up her grandmother Didi at the airport (a 100-mile roundtrip from Jackson Center) on Sunday, and then making the trip again today to drop Emma and Didi for their flight back to Vermont.  On Tuesday, Eleanor will make the trip again to pick up Bert Gildart, and on Friday somebody has to make the trip a fourth time to drop him off.  That’s 400 miles of airport commuting this week. So we’re hoping someone will volunteer to take Bert back to Dayton for us.  (Anyone who is free to do this on Friday afternoon, please contact me this week!)

alumapalooza-depraida.jpgToday is the big setup day.  Power and water lines are already on the ground, thanks to Mark Wahl’s crew at Airstream, but we needed to flag the parking spots and get the three tents in place.  Alice, Tim, Forrest, Brett, and I got the flagging job done this morning, just as artist Michael Depraida was arriving with his big box truck and Airstream.  He’ll be selling his very cool Airstream art at the event, as well as artist Brad Cornelius.

alumapalooza-wild-strawberries.jpgWhile we were walking the field, I noticed patches of wild strawberries growing.  They’re a bit sour but delicious.  I’m afraid they will all get turned into jam with all the vehicles arriving.  If you notice “blood” on your tires, it’s not because you hit a possum in the road.

I was hoping for perfect weather, but that wasn’t realistic.  This week looks to be humid, hitting the low 80s most days, and with a good chance of rain at least on two days.  Fortunately, our big tent is 100 ft x 40 ft, which is enough space to house everyone in the event of rain.  The tent crew showed up around 9 a.m. with four big trucks and they’re erecting the tents now as I type this.  Luckily the radar shows today’s thunderstorms far to the east, and although we had a short sprinkle this morning, the skies seem likely to stay dry long enough for them to complete their work.

alumapalooza-row-of-flags.jpgImagine the row of flags (at right) filled with a line of Airstreams.  That’s what this place will look like by Tuesday night.  It’s always fun to see the empty field filling up at an Airstream event.  A temporary community is built right  before your eyes, complete with homes, community center, art, entertainment, education, children, pets … everything.  And then at the end of the event, it all dissolves almost magically, leaving no trace that it existed except for a few spots of flattened grass and a lot of happy memories.