Yesterday, I was enchanted by the charms of Mesta Festa. But today, after sleeping on it, I’ve decided Mesta Festa is the sleeper herself. This little fall festival may be one of OKC’s best kept secrets.
One moment I was in my old historic neighborhood, and one step later, just beyond the temporary street barricade, I entered a kinder gentler place, the sort of life I imagine folks at the turn of the century might have experienced. It was a wonder to witness people taking time to relax and move about without hurry. Everyone instinctively understood the ground rules: to rest and relax, to take time to call out greetings, and to make a friend or catch up on the lives of old ones. Dog festa-goers did likewise, sniffing one another out in their own form of meet and greet. Yesterday, I experienced a thousand points of light — the expression made famous by George H. W. Bush — and it welcomed me at every turn.
It’s hard not to compare my festa experience to what I encountered earlier in the week at the Oklahoma State Fair, even as I understand one is not fairly compared to the other. Instead of an $8 admission price, the Festa was free of charge. Instead of outrageous priced foods, most Festa food selections — from The Prohibition Room’s large Chicago style hot dogs to the freshly made wraps from McNellies — were $3 or under. The Festa offered no $4.00 servings of ice tea; but I could buy a can of soda pop or a bottled water for a $1.
Where the festa was intimate and spacious; the fair was sprawling and crowded. Instead of walking three miles through exhibition buildings and midway, Mesta Festa invited me to park myself in the grass and relax in a shady spot and let the sights and sounds of the street fair come to me. I soaked up the sound of music, adults talking and laughing, dogs barking, children happily yelling to one another,
skateboard wheels rolling; and then my eye feasted on the sights of striped tents and chalk board menus and freshly manufactured soap bubbles floating away in the air, made at the hand and mouth of a young child.
And sitting high above the crowd on one front lawn across from the park,stood a cute little lemonade stand with neighbor children as proprietors. While not officially part of the Festa, the proud dad of the children told me that his kids sit behind their lemonade booth every year. The entire event was a sight and sound to behold; it made me glad that I have ears to hear and eyes to see.
But the best difference between street fair and state fair was that it filled me with life, rather than leaving me drained. And while a dog’s perspective on the Festa was, of course different, it was no different in that our little Scottie girl just came to life. Cosmo had just the best time flirting with perfect strangers, children and canines alike. And when it came time to leave, she dug in her heels and refused to budge. Ultimately, my husband had to scoop Cosmo up in his arms and carry her out of the park. At least she didn’t wail, kick and scream.
Cosmo, hon, I know just how you feel. Next year, I don’t think I’ll bother going to the fairgrounds for my September fair experience. Like Dorothy Gail and Toto too, Cosmo and I’ve got all the fun we need in our own backyard.