Berea Interfest

Gypsies!

I made it into Berea for the festival today just in time to watch the gypsies do their belly dance. There is just something mysteriously sexy about listening to the drum circle and watching the girls your mom warned you about prowling around in henna and noisy jewelery. The rhythms of the drums and the movements of the dancers put me into a happy-place trance on this warm but cloudy afternoon.

As usual, I chatted with the gypsy girls before their show and they ended up asking me to be their video man for the performance. Trabajo! It was just like Acapulco all over again. I found myself having to watch their entire show through the nice video camera they provided, which eliminated the chance to take my own decent pics. I was happy to help out, however, and ended up talking with some of the dancers which turned out to be very cool. Unlike the gypsies i met on the island of Ko Lanta, these were all nicely showered and smelled good. They might notice the camera shaking a little, that was me trying to keep from moving my hips to the rhythms! ­čÖé

Other than the gypsies, there was a Maypole dance which got a little messy, a Cherokee dance and lecture, and a traditional Danish dance which ended with the guys breaking into a mock fight over the women they were dancing with.

Berea is kind of an art haven in Kentucky, so there were all the usual artisans showing their goodies. I just wandered aimlessly and chatted with many of them. The festival was rather small, this is the first year for it, but aside from the fried carnie foods there were some cool workshops and performances. I caught an Irish group playing “Cliffs of Doneen” one of my favorite traditional songs and it melted my heart. Memories of Ireland flooded back…wow I miss Cork and Tralee!

I walked up on a family that was literally turning a downed tree into a chair. They let me help strip the bark off the birch tree to weave into the seat. Damn it was a lot of work for one chair – I think I would have just brought one of the folding ones from WalMart myself, but it is great to see people trying to keep traditions like that alive.

I met one of the artists and a gallery owner who turned out to be very good company. We watched a Flamenco group from Lexington play, which included some Latin dancing (or at least my best attempts to anyway).

Vagabonding in the US is very different, people’s defenses tend to be higher when you approach them – they expect that you either want money or sex. However, it felt great to be back in the field just wandering aimlessly, not knowing where I would sleep, and meeting loads of interesting people. Good practice for my next adventure!

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  1. Greg,

    Glad you enjoyed the show. And it is good to hear that we didn’t smell bad!

    I just wanted to let you know about a wonderful event that will be happening this weekend in the Ozarks. Since you seem to be into adventure and meeting wonderful people (and camping and fires), you should check this out: http://www.heartwood.org/forestcouncil/index.html

    I’m going to watch the video tonight. Thanks again!

    tina marie, berea hip gypsy

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