As far as we're concerned, we've come up with a pretty stellar plan here at America in 100 Days. We're taking the vacation of a lifetime, seeing so much of what America has to offer, and doing it during what we believe to be the most optimal time of year - the warm months of summer.
But unfortunately, in lining up our route across America, we've eliminated any chance of our attendance at certain events across the country. Worse yet, some of them are almost workable, but just slightly out of our reach. Here are a few that won't be finding their way onto our agenda due to their (or our) inopportune timing, but are certainly worthy of everyone else's attention.
Gratefulfest. This festival, which I've mentioned a few times before here, is a glorious gathering of happy families, vacationers and music lovers in the depths of northern Ohio. Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, in Garrettsville is home to this fastastic annual event, for which I've been in attendance twice, in 2006 and 2007. Back then, the festival was held over the Fourth of July, but this past year saw it moved to Labor Day weekend. Both dates fall away from our reach, and this makes Sarah especially upset, as she has never seen these beautiful grounds or the fantastic people that occupy them during Gratefulfest. And this year, she still won't.
Gathering of the Vibes. This is a music festival of a similar ilk as is Gratefulfest, a collection of nature lovers and other such free spirited folk joined together for the purpose of listening to fantastic music in a live, natural setting. This is one of the big ones, with past acts including, but not limited to, Phil Lesh & Friends, the Neville Brothers, Umphrey's McGee and more.
Unfortunately, this festival occurs way back in Bridgeport, Ct., at nearly the exact same time as we're enjoying our faces off at the 10,000 Lakes Festival. But hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future.
Burning Man. We though for a moment that we'd be able to catch some of this unusual utopia in the deserts of Nevada, in a small community called Black Rock City that becomes the third-largest city in the state while the festival is in action. This is not a hippie festival, a jam band festival, or anything from that cut of meat whatsoever. This is the most eclectic convergence of people and artistic work and behavior in the entire country, a wild, glorious communal expression of self in mind and body.
Alas, the festival occus during the week of August 31-September 7, which as I've mentioned is the final week of our 100-day excursion. I will not be there to shed my clothes and howl at the moon... at least, not this year.
The Price is Right. This was one of those shows that stood by, watching wisely and stoically like an old owl as I grappled my way through childhood, adolescence and even today in my young adulthood. Bob Barker was always the grandfather of television game shows, constantly reminding us that the pet population was not to be ignored.
Nowadays, Drew Carey has taken over in Bob's retirement, and it remains the same entertaining show that it used to be, bringing up members of the audience as contestants on what seems to be the basis of, "Who has the most eye-catching shirt on?"
And this show films in Los Angeles, and fairly frequently, at that. But sadly, they will be on a brief production break during our swing through the area, and Joey and Sarah won't stand for waiting around. I'm with them, reluctantly.
The Colbert Report. You might be thinking, hold on a minute, Tom. Don't you live just two hours from New York, where the Colbert Report is taped four times per week? Didn't you just see a filming of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart a few months ago?
Yes, and yes. Both are true. But due to the sheer awesomeness of Mr. Colbert's show, it is practically impossible to get tickets. They're free, and they're distributed online, which means even yours truly could theoretically have a chance at snagging a cluster of seats. But they are sold out, and continue to disappear the instant they're put online for availability.
With a mission as patriotic as that which I and my companions have adopted, I believe it is within the realm of Mr. Colbert's own patriotic duty to see to it that his show becomes a part of our visit to the Big Apple. And I'll be sure to notify you if he feels the same way.
(From top) Photo courtesy nlqp.com; photo by gabi+kyle courtesy flickr.com; photo by Caroline Miller courtesy burningman.com; photo courtesy flickr.com; image courtesy flickr.com.