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They Gave You Fair Warning

, , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

I’m volunteering as security at one of the bigger music festivals in my state. This fair has been happening every year for the last forty-seven years, with the only notable exception being the last two years (2020 and 2021) for obvious reasons. It takes place in a small community that’s about forty miles from the largest city in the state, and over the course of the weekend, thousands of people will come from that city and overwhelm our very limited parking capacity.

We have implemented a LOT of policies to make everything work, one of which is that the parking around the playground in the park where this festival takes place is all reserved and disability-accessible parking. Part of my job is to help enforce that policy.

It is Saturday of the festival weekend. There have been signs and promotional materials all over town for a whole week. The local radio station has been broadcasting our mainstage all day, and the traffic reports are all about how the closest highway is backed up for miles.

It is the middle of the afternoon when a shiny black SUV pulls into the lot and barely stops fast enough to avoid hitting me as I walk up to speak to the driver.

Me: “Hi there! Happy fair! How can I help you today?”

Driver: “What the h*** is going on here? I just wanted to bring my kids down to the playground, and it’s a d*** madhouse!”

Me: “Yeah, it gets like that during the fair. Unfortunately, there’s no parking here by the playground. If you want, you can park up at the day lodge and take the shuttle down.”

The day lodge is about a mile and a quarter up the road, and it’s the only free parking in town except for the accessible parking in my location.

Driver: “Why the f*** would I drive all the way up there? I live just across the bridge. I just want to go to the playground.”

At this point, he starts to roll up his window.

Me: *Speaking quickly* “Sir, you’re not going to be able to park here! This is accessible only during the fair!”

Driver: “What fair?! I’ve been here for years, and this is the first I’m hearing of this! You guys should have asked before throwing your little party in our town!”

Me: “Sir, I know we missed a couple of years, but this fair has been going on for a long time. Now, I need you to turn around and head back up the road.”

Driver: “F*** you! And f*** your [Nearby City] party! This town doesn’t want you here!”

As he speeds off, one of the other security team volunteers, who grew up at the fair and has lived in town his whole life, starts laughing and shaking his head.

Volunteer: “Yeah, he just moved here from California at the end of summer 2019. We tried to make friends, but… he’s just not that pleasant to talk to. So, probably no one warned him what was coming.”

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