It was always the same question: "But what is there to do?"
Too often people assumed that living in a small community translated into limited entertainment options. I say it just depends on what you consider "entertainment". I've never felt limited in my options to keep myself busy and entertained. In fact, I'd say if anything, living here has generated an appreciation for a vast number of opportunities, not the least of which are our annual festivals.
I will always remember the anticipation and enthusiasm brimming within me as I awaited the many events that took place in McCloud throughout the summer. It was an annual tradition for my siblings and I to weave in and out of Flea Market vendors, spending our hard-earned allowances on all manner of odds and ends (I particularly remember these foam animals on sticks that one vendor used to sell, and that my sister and I would purchase every year, without fail). And I remember our excitement to dress up in era-appropriate garb for the Civil War Re-Enactment that used to be held on Main Street and in the fields south of town.
For someone who has attended McCloud's festivals, year after year, what continues to make them inextricably unique is the way they bring together both the new and the old. So many of the vendors have become long-time favorites, whose return each year is eagerly anticipated. And yet, every year someone new and equally enchanting joins the ranks. Lifelong residents get the chance to catch up with old friends and reconnect over distant memories and a shared history.
The first two events of this season were no exception. The 13th Annual Mushroom, Wine, & Music Festival took place this past May 27 & 28th, and people from all over the state, country, and world gathered to celebrate one of our town's most unique natural resources. Spirits were high, laughter was abundant, and there was just an overwhelming sense of support and camaraderie amongst attendees, as well as event contributors. Foraging for mushrooms in the forests outside of town is a long-cherished tradition of McCloud residents, and it is a joy and pleasure to have the opportunity to share that with newcomers and tourists alike! This year's event even included a Gourmet Mushroom Dinner, a five-course benefit dinner crafted by five renowned chefs, and served at the McCloud Hotel.
The 46th Annual Flea Market began early on Sunday, June 4th, as cars started lining the streets downtown and eager bargain-hunters made their way through vendors to get first-pick at the multitude of antiques, crafts, and re-purposed relics. Music provided by Wild Woman Sounds kept festival-goers' spirits high and the atmosphere relaxed. Halfway down the street, the aroma of delicious street foods was enough to stop anyone in their tracks. And of course, the McCloud River Mercantile offered a break from the afternoon heat while still providing ample opportunities to shop and refuel in any one of the building's businesses: Shasta Reflections, Kyody Coffee, The Candy Shoppe, The Mercantile Store, and White Mountain Cafe.
As the years go by and the town keeps growing and changing, one thing is certain: McCloud's annual festivals will always have something to enthrall the hearts of attendees both young and old, local and visiting.
Photo Credit: Amy Bourke, 2017