Saturday, August 2, 2008

8/2/08 Blueberry Festival Parade

I slept in this morning and missed the chance (yet again . . . two days in a row) to have blueberry pancakes at a festival. Wilton, the first town south and east of Farmington, has its annual Blueberry Festival the first weekend in August. MRM says they're the best blueberry pancakes she's ever had. I guess that's what next year is for.

I had a stack of dishes in the sink that really needed to be washed, so as I tackled that job, I turned on the radio for some background noise to make the task fly by. I love listening to local station WKTJ, FM 99.3. Ashley first introduced me to it. Not only is it nice to hear local weather and news, but their programming is delightfully eclectic. They carry all Red Sox games, which is great. Sometimes they play hits from the 60's and 70's, sometimes the 80's. But on Sunday mornings, they carry a syndicated show that plays hits from the 30's, 40's, and 50's! Local health and non-profit organizations have 20 minute time periods dedicated to their causes. I think my favorite is the daily call-in flea market. Call in and tell what you've got for sale, for how much, and give your phone number. You just never know what you're going to hear when you turn on the radio to WKTJ.

Today was no exception. I turned on the radio and what I was hearing was the play-by-play broadcast of the Wilton Blueberry Festival Parade. What a hoot! Oh, the dishwashing passed by quickly. The announcer knew practically everyone in the parade personally and obviously had done this before, so there were a lot of personal stories about the people themselves or their history in the parade. When you watch parades on television, The Rose Bowl parade, for example, you can tell that the announcers have scripts and detailed information about each entrant. They have access to more information than you could possibly be interested in: the length of the float, the theme, the history of the organization. This poor man didn't even know how long the parade was going to be. He kept marveling that there were still more groups coming down the street. Good thing it was local programming without a deadline because there's no way he could've compacted the coverage into an allotted time slot.

When a gymnastics group came along, he introduced them and described their costumes. Then the group stopped and started performing. He was literally at a loss for words as to how to describe that. You could tell because of the length of white noise coming out of the radio. Silence is not a good thing in most radio broadcasts, but it cracked me up this time. Suddenly, he said, "Looks like they're going to perform a whole routine here, so we're going to take a music break." And he played a song from the 70's. It had nothing to do with blueberries or gymnastics or even this year's theme "Say Thanks to our Firefighters and EMS Personnel." It was just filler music because there was nothing to say.

When he came back on the air, he had a guest "in the booth with him" who was to add to the "color". It was Michael, the son of the owner of Mt. Blue Hotel. We all know Michael because he has a tag line in the radio commercials for his dad's hotel. I'd recognize that voice anywhere, but the announcer also gave him a big introduction. I'm guessing from his voice that he's 7 to 9 years old. Thinking of things to say to describe something to people who can't see what you're looking at has got to be an incredibly difficult job. He did a really good job, especially for someone as young as he was. It added a layer of complexity for the announcer as he had to keep the audience informed of what was going on AND keep Michael engaged in the conversation and coach him into saying "colorful" things while on the air.

After a little while, a second guest color announcer joined. He was the regular sports guy on the station. Inbetween flag groups and Shriners on motorcycles, they got in a lot of promos for upcoming sports (mostly Mount Blue High School football and Jay High School football). He marveled, too, at how long the parade was but he didn't know when the end was in sight either. But all of that idle chit chat came to a halt when the tractors came through. Those two could describe a tractor like nobody's business. If I knew more about tractors myself, I'm sure I could have pictured each one vividly and accurately.

My friend and Games Night Charter Member Michael actually attended the parade. He made a blog entry with photos that describes the parade wonderfully.

Next year when I go The 27th Annual Wilton Blueberry Festival to have my blueberry pancakes, I'm staying for the parade. But I'm bringing a portable radio. I know that seeing it in person will only be enhanced by hearing the play by play live on WKTJ radio.

1 comment:

keatsfan said...

For as long as I was at that parade, I must have missed large parts of it. I thought it was over, but I wonder if the parade had just halted for the gymnasts (who I didn't see) to do their routine. I also noticed that the photo on the front page of Tuesday's Franklin Journal was of a float I didn't see. Although, at over an hour, I think I had plenty of parade; it's kind of scary to think there might have been more to come.