Yesterday was a Big Beer Day. Officially, it was the local merchants' association parade, and many of the merchants are purveyors of booze. I uncharacteristically took a day off on a Saturday evening. As usual, I worked the overnight, hitting the sack at 5AM and waking up in time to listen to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! I finally hit the streets around 1AM and met a bunch of friends at one of the local taverns. I put away my first Tullamore Dew on the rocks shortly after 1PM. I was sober when I declared my undying love for the hostess, one of those breathtakingly gorgeous Tipperary girls with raven hair and blue eyes... that's the type I've always been weak in the knees for. I was also sober when I offered to buy a nun a beer- "Sister, when you took holy orders, you didn't take a vow of teetotaling." I think the reason she declined the offer was because we were in a very public setting, and the last thing she needed was a Facebook post featuring her hoisting a pint.
In an uncharacteristic moment of restraint, I declined to enter the Irish sausage eating contest (three pounds of sausages in as quick a time as possible)- I didn't want to have to call it quits early after a pork binge, and I decided that browsing from the different food vendors was the way to go. I totally missed the cannoli eating contest, which is just as well. I also exercised a modicum of restraint at the tent in front of the liquor store where a couple of lovely ladies were giving away free samples of Jameson- I had a couple of shots, but as good as Jameson is, I'm a Tullamore Dew man through and through.
The weather was drizzly, which provoked quite a bit of jocularity- it's a largely Irish neighborhood, so drizzly conditions lent an air of authenticity to the festival. There were beer tents and bars in which to take shelter when the rain picked up. I have to confess that I love to drink outdoors- being able to carry an open container of beer in the context of a good, long pup crawl is something that I enjoy immensely. I think there's a slight aura of licentiousness about drinking outside.
The best thing about the festival was that it was a great economic boost for the local businesses, which is the whole raison d'etre of the festival. The vast majority of the businesses are mom-and-pop specialty stores, which lends the neighborhood its unique character. Being able to take in the whole neighborhood with a couple of thousand of my closest friends for a whole day was a delightful experience.
Waking up today, after hours of boozing was another thing entirely... I had to check for tire tracks because it felt like a beer truck hit my liver.