Yep, here we go again. Save the date on your calendar, here comes Art Basel Hong Kong right around the corner. Art Basel has a pretty good spread across the globe at this point, of course the annual in Basel Switzerland itself, the somewhat iconic although over rated Art Basel in Miami for all of […]
Winters isn’t exactly sure of its identity. An authentic agricultural town or a hipster haven? Down-to-earth and laid-back or deliberately, almost pretentiously, charming? Keeping up with the times, or a relic of mid-20th century Americana?
If there’s one thing Winters is sure of, though, it’s that there are always reasons to celebrate. And when there aren’t obvious reasons to come together and enjoy food, drinks, and music, the town invents some new ones. A couple of obvious examples are the Salmon Festival and the Earthquake Festival.
As you might suspect, real holidays are a pretty big deal, and the town’s enthusiasm is so boundless you feel as if you might literally trip on it. Every autumn, you’ll need to keep an extra eye on the sidewalk to avoid stumbling over the colorful piles of pumpkins and gourds in their brilliant range of hues.
If you can only spend one night here, make it the Fourth of July. The town converges on the high school football field, inviting you to step back into an idealized version of the 1950s. A little behind schedule, the fireworks start. At first, they’re just about what you’d expect. As they grow toward the crescendo of the finale, though, you’re transported into a world where small towns really do have the magic that urbanites like to imagine. For one moment, with the dazzling display so close you could almost reach out and touch the sparks, you forget that the rest of the world exists.
And then the volunteers find a couple fireworks they forgot to shoot off before, and send them up, and suddenly you’re back in reality. The night ends with the anticlimactic sputter of those forgotten fireworks in a way that’s somehow more fitting for a town far too authentic to be magical.