Sunday, October 12, 2008

Preppy to Hippie and Back Again

Yesterday, Willie and I left the house.  And I mean left the house.  We started off at noon for a tailgating gathering that his friend's company was hosting before the UNC v. Notre Dame football game.  Willie spent the week trying to get tickets to the game, but given that Carolina is good in football for the first time in a long time, and that they were playing Notre Dame, we had no luck.  But we decided not to forgo the free food and festivities.

Walking around the area near the stadium, we passed by many a tailgating party in the parking lots surrounding the field.  And holy buckets, if it was more preppiness than I have ever witnessed.  Not only was everyone in Carolina blue, but a lot of the gear was Polo shirts and Izods, guys in khaki shorts and women with their Coach purses.  People had Carolina tents and flags and chairs and beer cozies and seat cushions.  We saw a woman who was so dressed up that she looked like she was going to a wedding (she was actually one of the few not in Carolina blue).  I assumed she was going to a wedding until Willie mentioned that some of the sorority sisters get way dressed up for the football games.  After that, the Polo shirts and white shorts and braided belts looked pragmatic.

"Do you have the fever yet?" Willie asked.

"What fever?" I answered.  It felt like seeing a big game of preppy blue blob tag that I couldn't quite get excited about it.

What I could get excited about was the free bbq spread at his friend's tailgating spot.  Lots of pork and mac and cheese and hush puppies.  Willie and I ate so much that our stomachs hurt.  He was sad we couldn't go to the game, and, even without the fever, I knew that it would have been a good time.

But, sans tickets, we went with Option #2, which was the Shakori Hills bluegrass festival at a farm about 30 minutes from Chapel Hill.  The festival happens twice a year and lasts four days, and people are invited to bring their tents and camp for the weekend.  

Driving out to the country and seeing cows made me a little giddy after all the preppy blue.  In 30 minutes, we had driven to the opposite end of the spectrum (echoing the car show to pride fest jump a few weekends ago), and 19-year-old women with their stomachs painted "U," "N," "C" were replaced by middle-aged women with full-length tie-dye dresses.  

Walking into the festival, the tie-dye increased exponentially, as did the dreadlocks and the clogs and the crocs.  There were hula hoops and a drum circle and a poetry slam and face painting and ethereal clothing for sale.  The food vendors were selling Indian food and fry bread tacos and Middle Eastern fare.

The people watching was overwhelming, and after a couple hours, I was actually a little blown out.  But we did hear some good music, and below are some pictures Willie took:

A painted face

The Carolina Chocolate Drops

This member of the group seemed to play about 3o different instruments, sometimes all at once.

The Del McCoury Band

The drum circle

And the hula-hoopers

While the rest of the hippie crowd kept on beating their drums and hooping their hulas, Willie and I headed back to Chapel Hill to meet up with some of his friends after the game.  First we hit the football game traffic, and then we hit the preppies.  All along Franklin Street -- the main drag in Chapel Hill -- were crowds and crowds of Carolina blue college students -- gaggles of drunk girls and guys walking in threes and sevens, getting their slices of pizza and their pints as an early Saturday night of partying got underway.  

Willie and I lasted about 10 minutes before we headed back to deserted Durham.  After our preppy-hippie-preppy sandwich, our quiet former-crack-house block didn't seem so bad.


evandebacle said...

Fry bread tacos!?!

Claire Just Claire Like Cher said...

Look at those trees in one of the bluegrass fest shots! Nature, man, naaaaaature. (Said with the blissed out trancey voice I'd get after happily chilling in the drum circle for awhile.) I never could get the hang of hula hoops, so there's no chilling bliss for me there. I LOVE the sandwich extremes of preppie/hippie and NASCAR/pride. These are becoming friggin' fascinating windows into the world there -- yeah, baby!

Joan said...

Hey Naomi,
You and Willie really get around and know where to go!! I am impressed at your tapping into so many diverse things to. Needless to say, I was quite jealous about the bluegrass festival.

I have lost your email address somehow. Can you send it? Last time I tried to comment that didn't work either so I am holding my breath.

I love all your rich descriptions these amazing events.

Love A/J