Alumapalooza, Days 4 & 5

Wow, I was so busy yesterday that I didn’t realize I’d forgotten to write the blog until today!  It has been that kind of week.  So I’ll summarize some of the events of Friday and Saturday … if I can remember it all.

Friday was our rain day, at least in the morning.  We had to cancel the Open House and the Kid’s Swim party, but Dutch Oven cooking worked out just fine under the Main Tent.  Seven of us baked Chocolate Cobblers with Matt Hackney’s help, and about fifty people showed up to eat them.  I was favorably impressed—mine came out very well and it was really good, and so were all the others.

The Backup Derby came off as planned, on asphalt near the Service Center.  This was the event where teams of two are challenged to back up a single-axle U-Haul trailer through a course of orange cones.  “The Stig” showed up to run the course first, and set a time of 1:34, which wasn’t really great.  He later explained that he’d practiced in a different tow vehicle, but I think he was just making excuses.

The best time was handily set by Ed Emerick, who completely blew away the competition at 0:41.  We couldn’t believe it, so we had him run it again and the next time he parked it square in the finish box, earning at 10 second bonus, so his second time was just 0:39!  He won a pair of Zip-Dee chairs with the Alumapalooza logo silk-screened on them.

Andy Thomson did his towing talk again, and this year he had a nice Ford Taurus SHO (with 6-cylinder twin turbo) rigged up with a new Airstream International CCD 23.  I took it out for a spin, as did many others, and it drove like a dream.  No exaggerating, this was the best towing combination I’ve ever driven.  Very impressive.

Jim Webb did his Zip-Dee seminar on our awning, which is nice because it means it gets an annual maintenance by the pros.  They adjusted the spring tension, cleaned the arms, and lubricated it.  Thanks, guys!

At Happy Hour we gave away a ton of great stuff again, including a Mega Hitch Lock, more Zip-Dee chairs, some silver jewelry by Kristiana, the new book “Airstream” by Tom Schabarum, some Lodge enamel cookware, cookbooks, free nights at campgrounds, YogaFlight sessions, Tarot card readings by Alex, one-of-a-kind Airstream decals made by Kirk, etc.  Overall this week we gave away probably over 150 different prizes.

Hymn for Her, our Friday night musical act, was apparently a big hit.  I missed much of it but the reviews were great.   Their style of music is unusual, hard to categorize, and great fun.

Saturday dawned bright and dry, so everyone was in a fine mood to enjoy the last day.  We had a mellow schedule offering morning yoga, a 5K run in town, or a breakfast at the local Methodist church.  At 9 a.m. we had our Swap Meet, which was a huge success.  Quite a lot of goodies got traded.  I bought a never-installed NuTone food center from David Winick, which we will install in our Safari this year. (We already have all the appliances to go with it.)

At 10 a.m. the action kicked up a notch with the Rivet Masters contest, which was won by sKY and slaDE (our yoga instructors).  They had 16 completed rivets in one minute, all of them perfect, which was amazing since last year they scored zero and came in last place.  Talk about a comeback!  There was also a three way tie for second place between teams Doxie (last year’s winners), Pounders, and Buck Masters, all with 14 good rivets.

Eleanor’s “Aluminum Chef” demo came off well in the afternoon.  She made salmon and risotto, and the recipes are posted on the Alumaplooza website.  Brett and I were on stage as before, with Brett acting as sous chef and me doing color commentary.  Four couples were selected to come up and eat the meal, and they all raved about it.

After that, Charon and Alex came on stage to swallow swords, breathe fire, and were as brilliant as always.  We last enjoyed their show at the Vintage Trailer Jam in 2008.

This time they finished with a very unusual act in which Alex was vacuum-packed in a plastic bag.  Charon kept the vacuum running until we all donated enough money to the hat, then she let him free.  The money, which amounted to $420, will be used to buy seven annual passes to the community pool, for children of Airstream employees.

After that, it was more door prizes at Happy Hour, and the big act: The Trailer Park Troubadours, and at about 11 p.m. it was all over.

I am very appreciative to all the people who came up to me and said they were having a fabulous time.  Over and over I heard from people how this was the best event they’d ever attended, or sometimes, the first event.  People told me they respected how much work it was to put on something like Alumapalooza (and it is!) and that kind of recognition really helps us keep going.  It’s a tremendous job that takes a full year to organize, and a week of intense stress to manage, but we all love it and everyone on the team has been talking about how they want to do it again in 2013.  So we will—and we’ll make sure that next year, it’s even better.  See you there.

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine