I’m beginning to realise that Ann Arbor celebrates its summers with a vengeance. It’s as if a battle has been waged with the winter and we have emerged victorious. And as much as I wish that I didn’t have to deal with the never-ending winter, it makes me so much more appreciative of the summer and things I take for granted–the sun for example.
As someone who has just undergone her first Michigan winter, it felt to me like the Summer Festival marked the ‘official’ start of summer. There was an energy in the air as I walked over to the Rackham Lawns on the first day, taking in the sights and the sounds. The green lawns were teeming with people: grad students stepping out of their labs after six months, their profs who probably came to ensure that they didn’t stay too long, dogs of every breed possible, kids in strollers, kids perched on shoulders, people of all ages dressed in the colours of the rainbow…in short, every variety of Ann Arborite that exists. I tried estimating the age demographic of the crowd by looking at relative lengths of the lines at the food stalls. The ‘Sugar Shack’ selling cotton candy had the longest lines, but my assumptions about the summer-fest being a kids-fest were dispelled when I found myself queueing up for blue cotton candy a little later.
As the band started playing on stage, the first people to start dancing by it were people older than 50 and kids below 10. I loved that people of all ages were genuinely enjoying themselves. For while music is always universal, a given type of music seldom is. The toddler pirouetting away to the gentle rock seemed as immersed in it as the old couple dancing in each other’s arms. It was a lovely start.
The evening wore on pleasantly, and the week that had passed us by (replete with unfinished deadlines and failed experiments) diffused away into the haze of the past. It was as if the summer festival was whispering to all of us–Summer is here, and life is good. Amen to that.