The Places We Go, The People We Meet
One performer’s experience, by Nadja Palenzuela:
Early one morning while at a fair in a small town in Pennsylvania, I was walking through the fairgrounds and ran into a small group of ladies working on a quilt. The quilt is auctioned off every year to fund 4-H scholarships. The ladies were working on next year’s quilt. They told me about the tradition of the quilt and I wondered about the next generation of quilters that were tasked to carry on this beautiful tradition. There was a young girl among them playing on an electronic device. They seemed despondent. They had not been able to convince any of their young progeny to join them. The ladies also told me about the historic significance of their town and asked if I had visited any of their historic sites. Though I make my home in a small town as well, I had never considered that I could be enriching my sense of history of small town America by getting out beyond the fairgrounds more often.
As luck would have it, this was a day when the weekly Farmer’s Market was going on downtown and I decided to go. I love Farmer’s Markets, fresh produce, fresh meat, bakery items. Because I am always traveling with dogs in a 36’ RV, my refrigerator and pantry are usually stocked with supermarket food and lots of cans. But on this day, I pedaled my bike to the Farmer’s Market (thank you Felt Bicycles for the amazing ride!). Having fresh vegetables and meat for a week was such a treat!
This recent experience is part of the journey that I have been on since joining the fair industry as a performer about 8 years ago. I have met such a diverse group of people and learned so much about this great country through my travels. From small towns to big cities. From volunteer board members who work 80+ hours to get their fairs ready for Opening Day to corporate heads who have asked us to perform for a former U.S. President.
The quilting ladies reminded me why I love what I do. For many years, we (The Marvelous Mutts) have focused our energy on showcasing our dogs and encouraging people to adopt their next family pet. That will always be my focus, but I also love traveling and learning and meeting people of all faiths, ideas, accents and culture. And this great country provides us all of that; what a fabulous opportunity.
Look for me and my electric bike in a town near you, especially on the day the Farmer’s Market is in town.