Pickerington Violet Festival – Pickerington, Ohio – My Experience

This post documents my experience on July 31, 2010.

Some things were unclear to me about this festival. With the town of Violet being near Pickerington, would the Pickerington Violet Festival be a community festival or a flower festival?

I mean, there WERE violets on the website.

There were also pics of sizable crowds of people, making me think this was a pretty big festival. Its proximity to Columbus only strengthened this thought.

But when I arrived in the downtown area, all those big festival thoughts started to wilt away (pun intended).

It was a small town, after all.

Through the downtown, I followed signs to the festival…

…just like this one.

I turned right toward the park, following three cars (and followed by a pickup truck) that seemed to be searching for parking…

…right down this street between the barricades (it seemed fine at the time).

There, we stopped as an officer approached the first car and talked to the driver…

…as I continued to look around for the parking lot.

The officer waved us all through and we went downhill…

…where they opened an orange mesh fence (above) and led us INSIDE the festival.

It was at this point that I felt something was wrong. I shouldn’t have turned in here. But what about the other cars? And the pickup truck behind me? Did they all make the same mistake?If you look at the above pic, there’s a second orange fence further up the road. There, a festival worker approached the first car and shook hands with the driver as if they were old friends. As the worker counted the cars behind him, the driver stuck out his head and looked back.

I noticed the confused expression on the driver’s face. Someone in our group didn’t belong. After waiting a minute or two and considering how I could escape this mess, I turned around in the parking lot and the pickup truck only drove around me.

Turns out that the only driver who didn’t belong was me.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long for someone to come down and reopen the fence. I eventually found parking on another street and made my way back on foot.

At the entrance tent, I paid the $2 admission, only to be throw into the pool of non-food vendors (investing groups, legal representation, back health, etc.).

I felt like a rabbit in a fox hole.

In order to enter, and possibly exit, the festival, I had to make my way through these vendors. I stepped ever so slowly at first, hiding behind couples and families with small children. Eventually, I realized that the vendors weren’t aggressive when there was limited eye contact, so my anxieties quickly faded as I stepped toward the light on the other end.In those last few feet, I began to wonder…

Was the festival helping them by guaranteeing visitor exposure? Or was the festival segregating them from the food, rides and entertainment as some sort of punishment?

My concerns melted away once the sunlight engulfed me and I came face to face with the stage.

This was definitely the main attraction of the festival. With the website’s series of crowd pics, I knew that bands brought the people here.But the crowds weren’t here just yet. The band was just warming up.

As I looked over the festival grounds, it became clear to me that this festival wasn’t much bigger than many others festivals I’ve attended. And, being that I didn’t see a single violet, it seemed more a town or community festival.

They did, however, have a large carnival area…

…with a nice selection of rides…

…and plenty of games.

And there was a good amount of food vendors…

…with a decent range of food…

…going from English to German…

…with a splash of Greek.

There was even a great eating area…

…conveniently placed before the stage for when the rockin’ began.

But if any memory of the Pickerington Violet Festival is going to stand out, it’s going to be the end of my hunt…

…for Deep Fried Coke.

Deep fried Coke is batter with Coca Cola syrup that’s scooped and plopped into the fryer. Once it’s fried to the max, the cola fritters are collected and put into a cup with powdered sugar and more cola syrup…

…sometimes even served in a Pepsi cup.

I had searched everywhere for this concoction and I couldn’t wait to try it. After everyone saying how much it tasted just like Coca Cola, I finally got to try it myself. But it tasted more like a crumbly fry cake doughnut. I didn’t really taste the Coke at all.

I started headed back across the violet-less field, entering the vendor den to make my way out.

A few steps within the tent’s shadow, a woman waved some Tootsie Rolls in front of me. They were attached to a pamphlet of her law practice. I looked down at my Pepsi cup, filled with fried Coke, and I momentarily thought of tipping her off.

Instead, I thanked her for the sweets and kept moving.

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