At least a half-dozen people asked me on Saturday evening — are you working or are you playing? I was at the second annual Dirt Road Brewing Street Party and while folks might’ve noticed me taking a few photos, I also had a plastic cup of beer.
Working or playing? Good question.
Well, the answer was that I was mostly there to just enjoy chatting with friends. I figured I might get a blog out of it (what you’re reading right now) and include a few photos. Plus, those photos might come in handy to use next year when I write a story to preview the next street party.
But it was an occasion to just chat with people and with the job and family responsibilities, I rarely have any opportunities to put down a few beers. My wife showed up a little later pulling our two young sons in the cool wagon that Grandma bought for them on her last visit to Philomath. They were on their best behavior, which is always nice, except for my 2-year-old’s occasional attempts to mingle with strangers and his tendency to venture off on his own every so often to see what he can see.
I’ve been going to street parties most of my life. When I was in high school, I had my first drink of beer at a street party in a tiny town of 60 people called Smithfield. There was a tavern that regularly hosted street parties and people from neighboring towns would show up to drink, dance and just have a good time. They were very popular.
This was 1983, by the way — and yes, I was a minor not legally allowed to drink beer. That didn’t stop our group from figuring out a way to get some at a public event. I don’t think the folks running the operation were paying a whole lot of attention to who was drinking (and besides, it was a small town — we all knew each other and one of our older friends working that night probably got it for us). This was back in the day when the checking of IDs were not as stringent and I don’t ever recall seeing plastic wristbands.
However, the evening came to an abrupt halt for us teens. The cops showed up and it wasn’t long before they spotted us and were headed our way. We scattered. My best friend got caught and was ticketed for MIP (minor in possession). He was a lineman on the football team. I was a sprinter on the track team. I got away.
I can’t recall exactly how my friend got out of it, but I think he ended up not getting fined for the MIP; he got out of it somehow. He was our class valedictorian, went on to play college football and became an administrator at a major university.
Anyway, there have been a lot of street parties in between the first cup of beer and this past weekend’s events. Most of the time, they offer a pretty good time. Chuck Cox and his Dirt Brewing staff should be commended for what they made available to us all. Good music, good food, good brew and good times.
(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at News@PhilomathNews.com).