The Aluminum Gong Show
I’m sitting here thinking about everything that happened yesterday, and it’s all a jumble of images in my head. Too much stuff is happening to keep track of it all! Brett and I walk around with little notepads in our pockets so we can make notes about things that we need to address for future events, or announce at happy hour. This year our notes are considerably less than the first couple of years, which I think indicates we are getting everything smoothed out.
Yesterday everything went as well as can be expected. Our trailer numbers swelled to 128 parked on the field, plus several more in the Service Center and the Terra Port. We should hit about 140 today. I heard from a few people who had problems on the road, but they all eventually pulled in with big smiles and a sense of relief.
Andy Thomson was a little late getting here to do his famous Test Drives, but by 10:30 he was taking people out for a spin in a Ford Taurus SHO coupled to a 30-foot Airstream Serenity. I took a ride in the back seat and was impressed, as always. Eleanor is going to drive it this afternoon.
Tim Maxwell and Dave Schumann of Airstream held two seminars and packed the room, talking about Airstream maintenance topics. We also had seminars from Phil May of Techno RV and Colin Hyde. Despite the threat of thunderstorms most of the day, Yoga, Kite Flying, and the Bike Ride around Jackson Center all were well attended. But the afternoon Pool Party at the JC Municipal Pool was deterred by a quick cloudburst that hit almost exactly at 2 pm, when the party was due to start. We’ve had no luck organizing Pool Parties at Alumapalooza—every year we either get rained out or it’s too cold that day.
The weather here is unpredictable, as I’ve often said. All you can be sure of is that there will be rain, fog, cold, heat, humidity, calm wind and high wind, often all in the same day. We’ve had two fantastic days but today it is a certainty that the thunderstorms are coming in soon. It’s such a shame because right now (at 7 a.m.) it’s just beautiful: about 72 degrees, moderate humidity, calm wind, and beautiful clear skies. By 9 we’ll be getting rain, alas.
Last night we saw clouds on the horizon around sunset, and after checking the radar and with our resident meteorologist Alex, we sent a text message (to everyone who registered to receive them from us, about 70 attendees) warning them to pull in awnings. For a few people, the message arrived too late, due to the vagaries of the local cellular network, and they had awning damage. The storm was brief but severe, dumping 1/4 ” of rain in less than 10 minutes, and the main tent suffered some light damage which will be corrected today, plus a lot of stuff was blown around.
For situations like this we have emergency procedures in place, including assistance from the Fire Dept, several First Responders on the field, and access to the manufacturing building in case of tornadoes. We’ve rehearsed these routines every year but never had to use them, fortunately. It’s Ohio in the summer and the weather can be a little challenging at times.
The big fun yesterday turned out to be the Aluminum Gong Show. We had more acts signed up than we could present in the time allotted, so we pared the list down to 10. First we gave out a ton of great door prizes, and then kicked off the show with Eleanor and performing “Santa Baby.” I played ukulele badly, and Eleanor sang. Neither of us could hear ourselves, and we thought we might get gonged, but the crowd sat through our act and even tossed a few dollars in the Charity Jar.
After that, we had a good guitarist, and then Brett recited Dr Seuss’ “Sam I Am” in the voice of William Shatner (he got gonged), and then we had a Human Calendar Calculator, and after that the acts got better. It was hilarious. Alex & Charon stole the show with their duet recitation of a Gertrude Stein Dada-ist poem. Probably half of this will end up on YouTube or our Facebook page, so you can see it eventually. We raised a ton of money for charity with this show, and we’ll announce the total tonight at Happy Hour.
Last night’s entertainment wrapped up with Laura F singing torch songs and then a great “Jam Session” that went for a couple of hours with Kirk McKellar, Curtis Remington, Art Martin, David Winick, and several others. Bob Wheeler of Airstream and his family showed up on the field and are camping in the Terra Port this week, so we had a chance to visit with them after the lasagna dinner at the local Methodist Church (an annual tradition).
I’m pretty sure I’m missing about ten other things that happened today and were worthy of note, but as Ramona Creel (one of our presenters) would say, “There’s just too much stuff to keep in mind head!” So I’m going to move on. It’s time to get dressed and join the rest of the staff for what promises to be another exciting day.