Eating my way to enlightenment at the Calgary Folk Festival
The Calgary Folk Festival is no place to be if you are trying to look good in a bathing suit. From the minute you step through the gates and start to wander down the treed pathway toward the main-stage area, you are assailed with agonizingly tempting aromas, those olfactory indicators of temptations that will take a heroic effort to resist. This ain’t your frozen burger and steamed hot dog type of music festival.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword that the main pathway is lined with food vendors, many of whom come back to the festival year upon year. On the one hand, you can scout out the culinary talent, ensuring that your favourite gelato or jerk vendor has secured a spot this year, and you can carefully plan out your consumption strategy. On the other hand, running the gastronomic gauntlet several times a day will test the willpower of even the most dedicated dieter. It doesn’t help that the predominant smell that I associate with the Calgary Folk Festival is the intoxicating battle between the butter chicken being cooked at the Sunterra stand and that being offered by the vendor from the Indian restaurant that comes up from Winnipeg. Throw in some kettle corn for good measure and you can pretty much guarantee that you will be wearing your fat pants when you go back to work next week.
Of course as a volunteer, I am offered six hearty meals per festival, prepared fresh in the hospitality area. I know I can always get my much-anticipated falafel feed at least once per festival, when I take my plate to be filled down in the tent by the river.
Except last year.
At first I was devastated when, on falafel day last year, I arrived at hospitality rather late in the lunch rush, to find that somebody had already eaten all the falafels. But folk fest volunteers are nothing if not resilient, so I sucked up my disappointment and took the marinated turkey leg offered instead. That turkey leg was awesome and the generous assortment of salads offered daily had not yet been demolished by those hordes of hungry vegans. When I took my loaded plate back to catch the last half of a workshop that I had been planning to crash, I had several queries from passersby as to where I bought my lunch.
So if the ranks of Calgary folk festival volunteers suddenly swell next year it could be because everyone wants a chance at one of those turkey legs. As long as they leave some hazelnut gelato for me.