It is early yet in the event, but already Alumapalooza appears to be a success. Everyone here seems to be having a massively good time. The mayor of Jackson Center has invited us to be in the town parade on Sunday. The president of Airstream has made it clear he expects us back next year. The town’s businesses seem to be happy with the people we’ve brought to Jackson Center (the local population has increased 20% by our presence). And best of all, we have not been wiped off the field by thunderstorms.
Every day we have been threatened by thunderstorms, and every day we are getting lucky, as terrifying storms pass just north or south of our location. Today started with mild fog in the morning again, but by 9 a.m. a gusty rainstorm crashed down and soaked everything. We could see a strange line in the clouds overhead a few minutes before it happened (see photo at left), and I’d been watching the weather radar, so we had time to go around and warn everyone to take in their awnings.
This happened while sKY and slaDE were leading a quiet yoga class under the main tent. In mid-storm, Brett had to turn up the volume on the microphone just so they could be heard over the torrential rain. But they remained calm and rode it out, stretching and breathing with their class of 30 or so people.
That was just a warm-up for what lay ahead, as it turned out. The midday was quiet, with very successful presentations by Bert Gildart, Dale Schwamborn, and some of the service center staff. Since only a dozen trailers were expected, we decided to skip registration and just let people self-park. (New arrivals met us later at Happy Hour to get their credentials.) This felt a lot better for all of us, and we actually had time to relax a little and drop in on some of the seminars.
Alas, it was not to last. After Happy Hour another line of storms developed on the horizon, and these appeared to be so severe that Jackson Center sounded its tornado siren. I dashed to the Airstream to load up the latest weather radar and turn on the weather radio. The radar picture was not good, but the worst of the storms broke to the south and again we dodged a bullet. This gave us a light and sound show to watch, but not much rain.
We’ve since been told that if a tornado was likely, the Fire Department will come by and order an evacuation. The Airstream Service Center is our safe haven in such an event, since it is sturdily constructed.
And here’s the evidence of how happy everyone is: most people thought we had a very nice day. Between storms it was sunny and hot, and the seminars were well attended in the shade of the big tent. Folks were flying kites, riding bicycles, touring trailers, taking pictures, petting dogs, visiting downtown, holding parties under their awnings. Everyone was full of compliments and smiles. I heard a lot of laughter.
Still, we had some stress. I was called out to solve an electrical problem in Row 2, then there was a water leak in the generator area, and then a truck got stuck in the mud created by the water leak. All of us were running around solving problems half the day, so we still ended up tired and sweaty. Just as I was contemplating heading back to the Airstream for some down time, slaDE and sKY invited us to try their brand of partner yoga, called yogaFLIGHT. That turned out to be a perfect antidote for our working stress.
Eleanor was the first willing victim, and you can see what slaDE got her to do! Eventually we all tried it, Eleanor, Lisa, Brett, and me. It’s a great program and we hope to learn more about it from our new friends.
The evening program was Sean & Kristy Michaels, showing some of their great Airstream videos from The Long Long Honeymoon website — another big success — and then we wrapped it up with a trio singing The Alumapalooza Anthem as composed by Kirk McKellar. Brett, Kirk, and I sang it to the tentful of attendees … a one-time only performance. You can see and hear that glorious spectacle here.
Tomorrow we are expecting another 50 trailers. It will be another full day and we’re looking forward to it!