My wife and I biked down to Ribfest Saturday, spent $40 and ate until we felt sick.
Ribfest is basically a celebration of grilled meat. About a dozen barbecue grilling crews offer ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, sausage and beans at exorbitant prices to the hungry masses. Also available is expensive beer, roasted corn on the cob, ice cream, and funnel cakes. It is effectively a confirmation, with country music power chords, of all the negative stereotypes Europeans have about American lifestyle and cuisine. A number of similar events take place in just about every American town throughout the summer -- if you don't go to one, the terrorists win.
In previous years, the local Ribfest was held in a parking lot in downtown Minneapolis, making it a miserable and unpleasant experience for everyone involved. It was poop -- the heat of the grills combined with the heat coming off the pavement and went nowhere because the surrounding buildings blocked the wind. Of course, that never stopped me from going, but it sure as hell contributed to the persistent complaining of the entertainment. Last year, my wife and I saw Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Ribfest and they pissed and moaned about the heat between and during just about every song.
This year, the Ribfest was moved to Harriet Island, making it better on a number of points. Harriet Island is considerably larger than a downtown parking lot, allowing room for more toilets, which in turn meant that the toilets were cleaner overall. Harriet Island has grass, which was definitely cooler than pavement under Saturday's cloudless sky, and there are even a handful of trees there to provide shade.
We ate a ridiculous amount of meat, ice cream and a funnel cake, and then suffered through a 10-mile bike ride home. When we got home, we were completely defeated by the sun, dehydration, the bike ride, and fattening food, so we just sat on the couch and watched NASCAR.
We actually sat through the whole of the Wallace Family Tribute 250. There's something woefully wrong about us, man.
More disturbing, though, was how much I know about NASCAR. My wife would occasionally ask questions about why drivers were doing such-and-such, or why they weren't doing such-and-such, and I was shocked and amazed to hear myself giving the correct answers.
"I thought you didn't watch NASCAR," Rachel said.
"Then how do you know so much?"
"I think it may be genetic -- fourth-generation Texan and all that. You know how I can tell if a bull rider is going to fall as soon as he lets go of the gate? Same thing. It's in my blood to be this white trash."
When Martin Truex Jr. started to slow late in the race, I said: "I'll bet there's something wrong with his wheels. He changed four tires when he pitted and they did it so fast that they probably screwed up."
Several laps later, Truex was forced to pit again (losing him the race) and we found out that I was right.
"That's scary," Rachel said.