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03 November 2014


"I love these festivals," I said, surveying the scene around us, food booths of tacos and tamales and burgers and egg rolls and pancit, kiddie rides beginning to light up, karate kids kicking their way across the stage up front. "I know. That's why I asked you." I laugh.

Two streets closed off at the crossroads of the Catholic parish. We arrive in the neighborhood and find nearly every spot to park even a little car already taken. We slide into a space at the end of the block and make our way towards the crowds.

We pass all the traditional carnival games- little kids trying to stand up a coke bottle with a ring, Go Fish, plinko, balloon darts. Even a cake walk.

Pink tickets trade as the currency of the day, one ticket for a dollar. I exchange my 12 quarters, fished out of the change basket on my way out the door. 3 tickets spend quickly. I split a gordita plate, mine filled with picadillo and drenched with salsa verde, with my friend.

The stage sets against the street and the girls line up, ready to dance, school girl style short skirts, tube socks and pony tails. Perhaps the troupe is more than the stage anticipated- the platform and lights sway dangerously to the left and tho the right as the girls kick. We will and pray the show to finish. The smiling dancers take final bows without incident.

My friend gives up a ticket to try the basketball toss. The first shot goes in; the next is an air ball. It takes two shots to win the blowup hammer prize. Alas. Kids line up to slide down the inflatable.

Our final stop will be the cake walk- one ticket buys two chances. My friend puts her token down on number 4. The lady spins the wheel and we wait the clickclickclick of the rotation around. She calls out "5!" So close. My friend considers a change. "Should we move the token?" she asks. "No! Leave it, " I exhort her. The wheel starts to turn again. "4!" she calls this time. We shout and jump, winners!

Her daughter laughs out loud when she sees our little cakes. We laugh right along with her. "I love these festivals," I think again.

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