August 26, 2012

Exploring Toronto: BuskerFest 2012

So, last week, my therapist read me the riot act.  She told me that I need to start walking, at least half an hour, at least 3 times a week.  The hope is that this will work to ease both some of the physical pain I experience, and the IBS that has developed (wooo...), but will also ease (or at least slow the growth of) the social anxiety I'm developing. 

Adam, the smartiepants that he is, suggested that we go out today.  As we traveled and wandered, we talked about it, and there's lots of things we'd both like to see.  I thought, why not crack 2 eggs with 1 fork (which is much nicer than killing birds...), and explore Toronto as part of my "get off your arse" program.

Note: My phone died.  And we can't find the charger for the camera (again).  So there are no pictures this time.  Next time I'll make a point of being a shutterbug.

What: Scotiabank BuskerFest Toronto
When: August 23-26, 2012 (check the website for more details on 2013)
Where: The St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood (Front St. between Jarvis and Yonge)
Why: BuskerFest supports Epilepsy Toronto, a non-profit organization that provides support for those in Toronto who manage Epilepsy, and education and information to the public at Large.

So, we took the TTC to King Station, and Adam lead the way to the Festival.  One thing that struck me immediately (other than the heat) was the crowds.  I was actually surprised, as there are 2 other events going on in the city this weekend: FanExpo and the CNE.

Quick Side Note 1:  I do want to go to FanExpo some day.  I think it would be really cool, and being a giant nerd, I'm sure I'd find a hundred things that would make me go "THIS IS EPIC!!".  I would also totally wear a costume.  The issue I have with FanExpo is the thousands and thousands of people who travel from all over to go to this event every year.  It's a big crowd.  Like, an anxiety-enducing-ly large number of people.   I have panic attacks going to the Mall at Christmas time, so FanExpo is not for me... yet.  It's a goal I have, for some day when I can deal with people.

Quick Side Note 2:  I like the CNE, actually, and I was going to go to that this year, but Adam and I decided that, because we went last year, this year we're going to mix it up a little and go to the OneofaKind Christmas Show and Sale.  The crowds are a little thinner, and the vendors are a little better organized, and it helps with the aforementioned Mall issues... Christmas Shopping there might be a little less stressful.

Moving Right Along:

Honestly, I didn't see that much.  Considering it's supposed to be a festival of Buskers, the number of street performers was acutally pretty low.  We did see one group performing acrobatics while dressed in what I described as "SteamPunk" gear, and that was pretty cool.  To the woman performing Trapeeze acts on a hula hoop suspended over the stage: I could do that if I wanted to. (in my dreams...).  Part of the reason I didn't see that much was the throngs of people and the fact that, at 5'4", you have to elbow your way to the front of the line, and I didn't feel like being "that chick".  There were 2-3 street performers wandering the crowds, one done up in bronze and dressed as a cowgirl, who took pictures with festival-goers for donations to Epilepsy Toronto.  The bronze made her blue eyes look shocking, which was pretty neat.  There was also a woman on stilts, who was very nice.  There were some musicians and I did see one chalk-artist... Really, though, it was more about the vendors.  The streets were absolutly lined with vendors.  Food and drink, jewlery, The Pepsi Challenge... I did see one guy selling mustard, which was probably the most original one there.

Speaking of originality, I had to say that I was intrigued by the number of people who were wandering around with actual, for reals corn on the cob.  Like, as a carnival snack!  What a brilliant idea!  So much better than a corn-dog or, as we saw at Universal Studios in Florida, a WHOLE TURKEY LEG. 

Another smart Idea, which actually earned the City of Toronto a rare gold star, was this water station, where you could go and fill up your water bottle, or just grab a quick drink, FOR FREE.  I mean, there were guys on bikes selling cold water for a buck, but really, the cold water station was an excellent plan!

Gold Star!

 Quick Side Note 3: I'm going to learn how to make Macros of glittery words.  Gold Star will be one of them.  This is a goal I have.

 We walked for a couple of hours, saw what we could.  It was interesting, and we got the idea of  what it's all about, but I think you need more than a few hours to take it all in.

Recommendation for next year:

Yep, I'd go again!  But here's some things to keep in mind:

1. You need to make a day of it.  We went from 2-4pm, which was ok, but if you really want to take it in, you need to go early and take your time.  Check out the vendors, watch the performers you do see, stop to take in a show.  Take advantage of the neat marketing gimmiks like the Pepsi Challenge, and the freebies.

2. Take CASH.  Like, $10 in change for the buskers and donor stations (Breast Cancer was collecting too), and probably another $50 for food and trinkets.  Starbucks and Tims and those places do debit, but the streetfood people don't.  The money does go to a good cause!

3. Bring Water.  And sunscreen.  And a hat.  And comfy clothes.  No sense in being uncomfortable.

4. Wear sensible shoes.  My flip-flops were super-comfy, but I was a little concerned about getting stepped on.  The people wearing heels were... well, if you can do it, I salute you.

5. Stretch first.  I'm really bad at not doing this.  By the end of the day, I was cramped up and sore.  This may be because of my "round is a shape" issue (see above), but it the fact that I wasn't prepared probably didn't help.

I don't know what's next up.  Next weekend we have a wedding Reception, then the weekend after is a wedding AND reception, and the weekend after is the Moodle's 3rd birthday ( !! ), but I think I'll do this every now and then.  I like to explore, and there's lots to explore here.

1 comment:

Caryl K said...

We did the FanExpo today, and a lot of your tips coincide with that as well, with the exception of sunscreen. They stuck the geeks underground, so sun was not an issue ;) The one thing I would mention is get your tickets in advance, and consider going on Thursday or Friday to be able to handle the crowd - it was jammed with people today and buying tickets the day of was not a good plan. We ended up in a big crowd of people waiting to buy tickets and my guy nearly flipped. Otherwise it was great fun, we met Alan Tudyk, Kate Mulgrew, James Marsters, Nana Visitor and Aaron Douglas. They were all incredibly nice, considering they're being accosted by fanboys and girls :)