in which we cross a bridge many, many times

We’re all about attending local events. With little kids, doing the local scene is so much better, imo, than big trips or expensive vacations, (1) because everything is new to them, so they love it, even if it’s low key, (2) no long car rides (nightmarish with small kids) and (3) you can go home before everyone gets totally tired, so no giant exhaustion-inspired meltdowns. Bite size, small-person-scaled adventures, half-day, and within an hour of home, that’s the way to go, if you ask me.

Besides, a short journey can seem so much longer by simply retreading the same short distance, back and forth. Like Sisyphus, only with a party atmosphere. And no big-ass rock.

As an example, recently we attended a local festival to raise money and awareness for the preservation of a river that runs not far from the yurt.

This river right here:

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Purdy ain’t it? They have the festival every year, and it’s an artsy, funky, fun get together of all the local hippy, green, creative folk. Woo hoo! People doing strange things in the name of Art and Rivers, what more could anyone need?

To get to it, you walk across the old bridge, no longer open to traffic.

This bridge right here:

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It’s long and hot, but pretty and they put out tons of sidewalk chalk, so the kids are totally into it, which makes everything fun, right? Well, you know, usually.

We’ll be visiting this bridge again, later in the post.

Okay. By the time you’ve crossed the bridge and arrived at the festival proper, you need emergency corn dogs and shade. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, just get the corn dogs. Trust me.

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Phew. That’s better. Now time to paint a plywood critter! This is Luc’s favorite part. He talked about it the whole way over.

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You can see a bunch of critters waiting to dry in the sun, with the plywood blanks spread out on the left. Lots of colors, silly shapes, and a convenient place to wash your hands afterward.

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Here is Sophie painting hers. Dump on the glitter! I did a snake.

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Critters drying in the sun, we were all hot again, so time to cross the bridge again, this time in order to go under the bridge and Get In The Water! There go the shoes…

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Here I am, about to soak my feet as I watch the kids go nuts clambering on the rocks and getting soaked. OMG the cold water felt so good.

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Luc, King of the river rock, I mean, Mountain!

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Next we crossed the bridge again, back to the stage, to watch some dancers, hear a story teller do some tales, and dance to a bit of fiddle playing. How did I miss getting pictures of any of this? Dunno. Sophie did an awesome impersonation of the storyteller later that night. I was shocked at how well she got the intonations and gestures. She’s such a ham.

But then the parade! THIS is Sophie’s favorite part, hands down, no exceptions, not even the corn dogs.

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A local puppet theater brings tons of giant puppets and invites the crowd to join in, carrying the puppets and drumming, to the middle of the old bridge and back. Here is a three person spooky black bird thing…

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and some cool tree faces….

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Last year, Sophie carried a flame puppet all by herself, with grim determination—it was heavy, and she was small, but she refused, absolutely, all offers of help. This year, however, she and another little girl put hands on the same puppet at the same time—and decided to carry it together. Whew. Conflict avoided. Can you see them in the foreground with their toad and fox puppet?

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Onto the bridge! Again!

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And back! Again!

I didn’t know if I was going to make it back, to be honest, but we did. Sophie wouldn’t have heard of abandoning her puppet mid-parade anyway, what was I thinking?

Things were winding down, for us anyway, once the puppet component had been successfully completed. Which meant one last time across the bridge to return to the car. Remember the mantra: I think I can, I think I can…

It was a very, very slow walk this pass, partly because of sore feet, partly because of the heavy plywood critters we were carrying, and partly because it was finally shady enough for some serious chalk drawing.

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It’s probably just as well, because I think all I could manage was a slow stagger in the direction of the car. Thank goodness we were only a short drive from the yurt. Time to collapse!

Because, sometimes, no matter how fun the adventure, getting home is so good.

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