Well, we decided on this Saturday of saturdays to venture out past the warm and comfortable confines of Lubbock’s Highway 289 and explore the cultural events native to the Lleno Estacato. Specifically we decided to venture out to the Apple Butter festival, just 4 miles past Idalou… or next door in Texas Standard Distance. I mean really, 17 miles… how could you not go!
For some perspective:
Spanish conquistador Francisco Coronado, the first European to traverse this “sea of grass” in 1541, described it as follows: “I reached some plains so vast, that I did not find their limit anywhere I went, although I travelled over them for more than 300 leagues … with no more land marks than if we had been swallowed up by the sea … there was not a stone, nor bit of rising ground, nor a tree, nor a shrub, nor anything to go by.”
I quoted that because the Apple butter festival is held, naturally, in an apple orchard. An apple orchard located in area which was unable to grow a tree over an area greater then a 1000 miles across (1 league = 3.5 miles… and now you know). Why grow apples in the middle of a semi-arid region?
Oh, and the Ogallala Aquafer.
I got distracted… Oh right! The apple butter festival. It was wonderful.
When we arrived we were quite hungry, by design. What point is there to going to a food based food festival if you arn’t hungry when you get there? We found parking on the side of the highway, payed our entrance fee, and eagerly set about to find what wonderful apple butter concoctions we could find. There were none (one could surmise that apple butter used to be popular before modern supermarkets made apple sauce and jams accessible all year round). What we did find was just as wonderful. For lunch we had BBQ sandwich and potato salad, just 5$! and the money benefited the local meals on wheels.
While we ate we enjoyed the musical styling of Desert Pearl, a band that plays music that I could easily imagine playing on my favorite Pandora station: “Wagon Wheel”. They have a folk rock feel that I really enjoyed.
We had a definite WTF moment after lunch. We had just gotten our deserts, apple turnovers with Blue Bell ice cream (yum!) and sat down by the band when they started playing a song they wrote called American Country.
The rest of the festival was great, though relatively small. A few booths:
A face painting/blow up gym for the kids which I avoided taking pictures of, lest I seem unsavory (the perils of wearing a beard…) and a Petting Zoo which forced me to expand my definition of “zoo”:
I might seem sarcastic but we had a great time. Given the relative closeness we plan to go again next year on our bikes!