Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday on the Fringe

For the last couple years there has been a festival in Rochester called the Fringe Festival.  It's an artsy festival--lots of music, dramatic performances, art installations, fun events, and sideshow-type acts.  I've always been intrigued, though admittedly I felt like I was a little too vanilla to fit in!  Every year I'd hear people's rave reviews of some of the shows and feel bad that we didn't go.  This year I feel like I've heard so much more about it, probably because my employer is pretty involved in this festival (particularly the music school end of it, since the venues are right downtown where the music school campus is).  I felt like I wanted to give it a shot this year, but of course it happened to fall during the exact span of time that Craig is gone.  Still, the Friday night part seemed a bit more family-friendly and I wanted to get out and have a little adventure since I know this could be a long week.  Jacob was not excited, but most of the time he'll complain about an unknown like this and then admit later that it was pretty cool.  I grabbed the kids from daycare, made a quick dinner, and got us out the door.

There seemed to be a huge backup on the road leading to where most of the parking was when we got downtown, so I went for my backup plan--the same parking ramp I used to park in for work.  It was a little bit more of a walk, but not by much.  It was also $5 cheaper and wouldn't leave us stuck in traffic if we left with the rest of the crowd.  I was a little nervous about being a bit outside the main crowds, safety-wise, but there were still people around and we really weren't too far away from where we would have been anyway.  It was only a two-block walk, and it honestly worked out perfectly.

We got to the site and wandered a bit to get the lay of the land.  Eventually we got in line to get some free samples of some gluten-free snacks--G.H. Cretor popcorn (which we already love in the one flavor) and Hi, I'm Skinny Sticks.  We got multiple bags of each and snacked before the performance.  We all loved all of them and will definitely be seeking out the Skinny Sticks at Wegmans.  I've actually found a cheaper version of our favorite popcorn at Aldi!

Anyway, we found a spot on the grass across from the building and killed 15 minutes before the performance with our snacks.  This was our pre-show view...on a perfect, warm evening. 
I used to eat lunch in the basement of this building once a week at my old job!
We were really there to see a show by Grounded Aerial, a performance troupe that is suspended from the top of a building and does some interpretive dance/acrobatics along the side of the building.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was definitely an experience! 

The show started with performers on a metal sculpture/structure in the park across from the building. 

Here's a far-off view of the structure...

The dancers on the structure interacted with the performers on the building.  I didn't fully grasp the story, but it was still cool to see...

 At one point a wizard joined in...

It's not every day you see people hanging off a building!

Jacob was rather unimpressed by the performance, but Carter mentioned this morning that he liked seeing the people on the building!  I wasn't wowed, I guess, but it was neat to see!  I'll try almost anything once!

After the show I really wanted to wander down the street and check out one of the other main venues.  I knew it was another couple blocks farther, which concerned me a little, but Carter was in the stroller and Jacob seemed fine (annoyed, but no more than usual!) so we wandered with the post-show crowd.  I got to point out the music school to Jacob, and then we headed over to the Spiegelgarden, which is adjacent to the Spiegeltent, where the main performances are.  It almost didn't feel like Rochester.  The garden felt sort of magical, I guess, sort of surreal that this thing just popped up where there is normally a parking lot. 
Looking across with the city in the background

Looking at the Cristal Palace (the Spiegeltent).  It has stained glass, for goodness sakes!
 Across the way is the Eastman Theatre, part of the Eastman School of Music.  It's so pretty.

We wandered around, caught another view of the tent...
I think that might be a random game of Jenga in the center of the picture!
 ...and then we saw this odd piece of artwork, a bicycle fountain...

On our way out, we saw this fun cutout of the Rochester skyline...

We had an uneventful walk back to the car and the boys went down just fine.  But I have to admit it was fun to walk the streets on a beautiful summery night, full of lights and people and activity.  Ok, it was a little awkward going down East Ave. with a stroller and two kids, past all of the bars and restaurants with outdoor patios full of cool 20-somethings.  But back with the festival-goers it was just cool.  We won't have many more nice nights like that this year, and it was fun being out in the world.  We definitely missed Craig, but I'm trying to embrace these moments of bonding with the boys when I can. 

I'll leave you with some videos from the performance.  It's so hard to describe, so hopefully this helps!

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