Urban Gypsy escapes to discover Kla-Ha-Ya

Greetings and Salivations!

It looks like I’ll be setting up shop in a little corner of the Seattle Metblog so I figure this would be a good place to give you an idea what my little workshop looks like and why I put it here.

I am a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest. I move here by way of 5 years in Los Angeles, 2 in San Diego, 15 in Pittsburgh, 15 in Philadelphia, with just a touch of New York City, and 8 1/2 months where I was temporarily insane and felt Baton Rouge would be a good idea. Yup, mamma raised me to be on of them thar city fell’rs. (Please tell me I needn’t flavour with well placed ‘sic’ markers)

What this translates to is that this venue will be as much a learning process for me as I figure out everything from the mundane veterinarian all the way to the strangest underground dive. Oh, and you’re gonna get a look into the casinos of the Pacific Northwest. I’m no Wil Wheaton, but I think I could take him heads up. Yeah, we can consider this a challenge.

So, I start with a reflection on Snohomish’s (how does one apply possessive to a town ending in ‘ish’) Kla-Ha-Ya days. I will not dare to try to give the origin or history of this event. Google search has yielded very little. So, I have a new project. What I can tell you is that KHYd is a weekend transformation of the historic district of Snohomish into the street fair that you wish every town had. It’s the street fair you seen in the movies. The one where you watch twirlers flip, drop, and retrieve batons and it’s all okay.

Having moved to Snohomish only a few weeks ago, I learned quickly about this impending event. Since I live in the historic district, I knew it would effect me when the street outside my front door was marked no parking for parade setup. And when the 4H has 8 horses in front of your house Saturday morning, you take notice. Happily the street behind my house was on the parade route, so we had grandstand style seating.

KHYd comes complete with all the trimmings, A carnival in the park at the edge of town, soapbox races, street vendors, and of course, frog jumping competitions. Okay, even in L.A. and Pgh, I’d seen most of the trappings of a street fair/farmer’s market. Nothing, however, could prepare me for real, live, authentic frog jumping.

With four blocks of the front street shut down, two circles approximately 20 feet in diameter had been cordoned off. One gentleman would spray the area inside each circle assumably to keep it moist. Each circle had a cylindrical bin. This was frog storage. Kids would fill out a form, but a large foam frog on their head, and enter the ring. The rules were simple: No yelling, stomping, or making noise. You could use a feather (which just seems… well, wrong) or a squirt bottle of water. The frog would hopefully take a few jumps, and then volunteers would bring out the tape measure.

Of course your average hopper was a touch unstrung. Hopping several times and then even more to avoid being retrieved. One wart-magnet (yes, I know) effectively suffered from performance anxiety. No matter what the child tried it simply sat like a bump on a log. And happily a make a saving throw and do not reference puns about croaking.

All in all, a weekend more than worth the visit. Granted, I was lucky. I had a garage within a block of the fair. Many area were charging $5 for parking. For more info on the event and to get psyched for next year… See the website at: http://www.klahayadays.com

Next time… questing for the perfect NLHE game.


2 Comments so far

  1. skye (unregistered) on July 19th, 2005 @ 10:50 am

    welcome to the PNW and to metblogs! Hopefully you’ll like us as much as you seem to have liked Pennsylvania.

  2. Andrei Freeman (unregistered) on July 19th, 2005 @ 12:39 pm

    Thanks for the welcome Skye. Hope the writing merits it :) To tell you the truth, Pennsylvania feels like many lifetimes ago. It was where I was raised as a kid and then where I grew up (slowly). There are great memories from each… except maybe Louisiana.

    I am looking forwards to all new experiences and the making of all new memories here. :)

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