Showing posts with label festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label festivals. Show all posts

August 31, 2022

Mushrooms, Fake Art, Food Trucks, and Controversy at the Colorado State Fair

The last bolete of August? Where is the Jägermeister to summon the hunting horns to blow the "last call"?

We are having what southern Colorado calls "State Fair weather," in other words, hot and dry after a pretty good July-August "monsoon."  Most of my county is now officially out of drought, although my home is on the line between that and "abnorally dry."  The mushroom-hunting ground was a bit dry and not so productive two days ago, so that may be the end of the season, pending some other changes.

Meanwhile, down in Pueblo its time for the Colorado State Fair. No, I have not been yet this year, but there is more weirdness in the news rather than the usual inflated attendance figures.

The Denver Post sent one Conrad Swanson to cover it, who expressed his feelings about the assignment on Twitter with the comment above: "It's no Iowa State Fair but it will have to do." 

Someone responded to the effect that, "Yeah but our butter is infused." 

Meanwhile, Governor Jared Polis himself ventured out of the Denverplex for a ribbon-cutting at a new Interstate 25 interchange near Trinidad.

This is a Good Thing (well, getting Polis out and around the state is probably a good thing too) because it is supposed to aid vistors to the new, big, wild Fisher's Peak State Park. I want to go see it too! (I have a parks pass.)  

Gov. Polis also went to the fair and presented an award to the winning food truck, out of nine contestants. Theme: Your Take on Fair Food.

Charles McKay of the Hungry Buffaltofood truck.
Meanwhile, about fifteen trucks parked at a church across from the fair. These insurrectionist food truck operators were not considered for the award because they were outside the sacred precinct.

[Pastor Tim] Miessler asked the Food Truck Union to staff the portion of the parking lot the church owns during the fair “to offer a more affordable choice and healthy, fresh foods."

Yes, there is a financial angle too, a dispute between the church and the state fair. Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence tricked the art judges

The winnah! (Discord screengrab via
This has already gone national.  Apparently judges at the fair's art show gave a first place to a painting created by articial intelligence at a website.

“I won first place,” a user going by Sincarnate said in a Discord post above photos of the AI-generated canvases hanging at the fair. . . .

The image, which Allen printed on canvas for submission, is gorgeous. It depicts a strange scene that looks like it could be from a space opera, and it looks like a masterfully done painting. Classical figures in a Baroque hall stair through a circular viewport into a sun-drenched and radiant landscape.

But Allen did not paint “Théâtre D'opéra Spatial,” AI software called Midjourney did. It used his prompts, but Allen did not wield a digital brush. This distinction has caused controversy on Twitter where working artists and enthusiasts accused Allen of hastening the death of creative jobs.

 I expect that we will hear more about the art award.

October 10, 2021

Down-on-the-Ground Local: A SE Colorado Tarantula Photo Contest

At the SECO News (southeastern Colorado*), an irregular news site for that corner of the state, they are marking tarantula migration season with a photo and video contest. It seems unclear what the deadline is, if any, but here is the contest information.

First you have a photo contest, then in a few years there will be a festival with street food and a Tarantula Queen beauty contest, judged on best costuming and tattoos.

Tarantula-themed street rods and lowriders. Talks by spider experts. Ghost stories. Archaeology and rock art. T-shirts, leather work, and all that. Salsa made from Pueblo chile peppers.

Pizzica would be good too, but too few of the Italians who settled in southern Colorado a century or more ago seem to have come from Salento. Can't have it all.

What lens for tarantulas?

* Did this abbreviation trend start with SoHo in Manhattan? Denver is so proud of their LoDo that they have now started RiNo, a name which you know was picked by a committee. My Missouri relatives mostly live in Mid-Mo nowadays. And there are SoCal and NorCal, if you are into that.

September 21, 2019

Where Is My CBD-infused Green Chile?

Some shots from this year's Chile & Frijoles Festival in Pueblo, still going on through Sunday. My visit was early, while the sun was still up and before the bands started playing, so it was a sort of sparse crowd.
It's more or less a celebration of every Southwestern street food
to which Pueblo County's Mirasol green chiles can be added.

And there were a lot of CBD (cannabidiol) products as well.
I foresee a certain convergence, a synergy if you will.
Yes, every kind of fast food and finger food.
Loaded-up fry bread ("Navajo tacos") is all right once a year.

The "Pueblo Chile Beer" is from Walter's, an old label that has been revived by craft-beer aficionados.
"Pueblo chile beer" is not one of their pre-Prohibition recipes, however.

These men are examining ristras of red chiles (sorry about the sun flare).
They were for sale along with many varieties of powdered dried peppers.

But what you could not buy were fresh-roasted Pueblo green chiles. Evidently the vendors don't think that anyone wants to walk around with a ten-pound sack of peppers, even though they are the best. 

Next year: CBD-inflused green chile beer. I will bet you money.

January 28, 2008

High Plains Snow Goose Festival

As the wheel of the year turns, so Eagle Day is followed by the High Plains Snow Goose Festival, a transparent attempt to get people to spend money in and around Lamar, Colorado in February.

Why not get people to observe the cycles of migration, rather than yet another "Pioneer Days" or "Western Days"?

The Monte Vista Crane Festival, which started in the 1980s, is the "Granddaddy of 'Em All," to borrow a phrase.

Writer Tracy Roe, who lives in Fowler, had her own misadventures at the goose fest in 2005.

Eagle Day 2008

Upper end of Pueblo Reservoir, Jan. 21, 2008. Photo by Chas S. CliftonNext Saturday is Eagle Day at Pueblo Reservoir, an unpredictable festival that depends on the vagaries of birds and weather.

You can see in this photo from January 21 that the upper end is frozen solid. I did not see any bald eagles that day, although M. spotted one in the area last week.

CSU-Pueblo student Dawn Robles experienced some of those vagaries last year.

September 05, 2007

Blog Stew with Hidatsa Beans

¶ Put the pot on the fire: the Museum of the Fur Trade is in the heirloom vegetables business. Unfortunately, what with finals week, I can't be there for "Beer and Baubles."

¶ I saw the dateline on this Denver Post story, and I was all ready to blog, "They are stealing our beavers!" But in fact we are getting more here on Hardscrabble Creek. I think I know which rancher requested some, and his stock just rose with me.

My first thought was because some beavers have been building dams closer to my house (downstream a couple of miles from that ranch), and I feared that someone had called for their removal because they threatened to flood a back yard or two.

¶ Sure you can whip up a prickly pear margarita. But I usually make the quicker "birder's margarita." Just pour a shot of tequila over ice, add lemon or lime juice, and then cut the acidity with some of the hummingbirds' sugar syrup from the refrigerator.

Rocky Mountain News columnist Janet Simons fingers sellers of bogus Hatch, New Mexico, chiles. She recommends this site for finding chile sellers.

But chiles matter more in Pueblo. And the Chili [sic] & Frijoles festival is the 21st-23rd of this month.

August 25, 2007

Blues over Jazz in the West

When M. and I turned our rental cabin into a short-term vacation rental, we thought that the Jazz in the Sangres music festival might generate some business. It did not. In fact, the festival died two years ago.

The recent Denver Post article bemoaning that city's dwindling jazz club scene mentioned that demise and the reason for both: declining audiences.

Quite awhile ago, when I was filling in as entertainment editor at the Colorado Springs Sun, I got to pondering on the same topic. I came up with two reasons, although I never tested them.

First would be that jazz musicians started believing the critics about how what they were producing was not popular music but a uniquely American high art.

Also, during the Cold War, the federal government subsidized many jazz musicians' international tours, thus demonstrating the vitality of American culture in contrast to the Soviet Union--and since many of those musicians were black, countering attackers who pointed to America's racial problems during the contemporaneous civil rights struggle.

Convinced that they were now artistes, the musicians stopped improvising on popular music of the day in order to do more original composing of "difficult" work. (Pharoah Sanders, anyone?) No more raucous audiences in clubs: audiences now had to sit still, be respectful, and demonstrate that they were deserving of the musicians' performances.

It was high art now. But a certain link with the everyday world was severed as the walls went up around the jazz world. At least that's my theory.

Meanwhile, two new blues festivals seem to be doing all right. One is in Cañon City, and the other is in Trinidad, however, so we will get no rental business there.

September 17, 2006

Autumn tumbles in

M. and I came home last evening from Colorado Springs, and then we got involved with an unexpected refrigerator problem. (Temporarily fixed, but I think it is time to go shopping.) Distracted, we forgot to cover some outdoor plants.

Meanwhile, the temperature dropped: Bye-bye, yellow squash and zucchini, bye-bye to the tomato plants outside the greenhouse. Bye-bye, beans. Bye-bye, datura.

Aspens are turning yellow on the ridges, and the Gambel's oak and willows here are orange at the edges. Only a few hummingbirds remain.

Next weekend, we will welcome the new season with a hike in the golden aspen forest and a trip down to Pueblo for the chile festival.

January 01, 2006

Over in the Valley

New West writer Ted Alvarez gushes over the San Luis Valley, an exotic locale to northern Coloradans like him, apparently. His three-part article hits the standard notes: alligators, UFOs, Penitentes ("shadowy religious cult") and the slightly over-rated Emma's Hacienda restaurant in the town of San Luis.

Not to knock Emma's, but I think this is a case of a restaurant's fame being proportional to the drive to get there. You could keep going across the state line and eat the same food, more rightly described as "New Mexican" than "Mexican," at Orlando's in El Prado or Roberto's in Taos.

Alvarez' piece, "Paradise without a PR Agent," is a three-parter: One, Two, Three.

To some extent, he's following in the footsteps of CSU-Pueblo students who wrote their own articles in the university's Southern Colorado web zine.

Try Randi Gonzales on the alien landing site tourist trap, Lydia Hunter on the Monte Vista Crane Festival, or Marc Boone on San Luis' tried-and-true approach to economic growth: creating a recession-proof religious pilgrimage site.

March 01, 2005

The cranes are coming

National Geographic provides a live Web camera for watching the cranes' spring migration on the Platte River in Nebraska. Dawn and dusk (Central Time) are the best times to check it.

On the San Luis Valley flyway here in Colorado, the town of Monte Vista is preparing for annual Crane Festival. You can also read about last year's crane festival in this article by a first-time visitor.