I am not sure if I have this....but I think I am getting close to actually having a phobia or maybe it is just a phobia of unorganized chaotic groups of people confined to a small space.
(I don't want to offend anyone who may happen to love the Apple Festivals in Idalou, Texas...please accept my sincere apologies before I start my rant.)
You know that I am generally NOT a negative person. I really try to see the best in people and situations but today was off the charts awful.
I will start with the parking which was in a bar-ditch with four lanes of traffic whizzing by. I droppedd my folks off on the apron on the side of the road where the orchard is located thinking it would be safer for them and then went on the hunt for a parking space. Finally across four lanes of traffic I found a spot, prayed against snakes from the high weeds, and ventured across the highway. I honestly felt like Frogger. No one was helping, no traffic was slowing down, and there were people everywhere - coming and going.
After you pay $3. per person to get into the festival you have a small - one person at a time - "maze" to walk around to actually get to the events which are all crowded into a 2x2 space.
It was a nightmare.
People to the left, people to the right, behind you, in front of you, bumping shoulders, running you over, strollers everywhere, people walking four in a line trying to have a conversation, music blaring in the background, tables with people selling crafts yelling at you to check out their stuff, screaming kids, the petting zoo right next to the food booth, trash cans over flowing with trash, trash all over the ground, and the lines....the lines....the lines from hell.
And absolutely NO signs. You could stand in line for 45 minutes only to find out you are in the line to get BBQ, or buy apples only, or buy a fried apple pie, or let your child jump on the bouncy thingy with 75 other children. No organization WHATSOEVER!
The only line I actually stood in was the hayride....and looking back I am not sure why I stood in the hot sun for 45 minutes to ride a 2 minute hayride. The man conducting the hayride gave a brief summary of the orchard and then preceded to tell you that "the orange flag is this kind of of apple it's good only for cooking, the red flag is this sort of apple it's best cold, the yellow flag is this sort of apple, and the blue flag has the best apples but they are already picked over, and the green flag has apples that taste like bananas", and then he went on with six or seven different flag colors and apples. I was so confused I didn't know if I was scratching my watch or winding my butt!!! And once again no signs...or information to help a person out.
After the hayride I was DONE - stick a fork in me. I wasn't about to drag my folks and John back through the crowd to the orchard, and the heat just to try and find apples. I thought I would at least buy some homemade apple butter and chow-chow but after waiting in line for 10 minutes and NOT moving...I said forget it!!
The un-organization of the entire event made me nuts. I am tempted to call the orchard next week and asked them how they thought the festival went. This is their 15th year doing this - surely it hasn't always been so crazy.
I have organized several big events when I worked at CareNet and I understand how important it is to provide instructions and information to people. I don't want a personal tour of the orchard or the event but...they needed signs stating this is the line to buy apples, or BBQ, or drinks. When people enter they should have a flyer stating...if you want to pick apples go to this location and get a bag or bucket. Then list the different apples with descriptions and flag colors. Get rid of the craft crap! This thing is too big for those few vendors. Get the petting zoo away from the food - is it really necessary anyway? Hire a few off duty police officers or sheriff deputy's to help with the parking and getting across the highway. Sorry it made me crazy.
The rest of the day was MUCH better. We went to the mall in Lubbock where Mom bought herself two very cute outfits and I found some jeans that fit perfect!
We went to McAllister's for lunch and found out that they are building one in Amarillo at 34th & Soncy!! It should be open around the first of November!! I am very excited about that!
Our last stop was at a park and prairie dog town in Lubbock. John did not understand why the dogs would not come to him but he had a blast at the park! The day turned out much better than what it started!!