by Nelson Holmes
GARDNER- Same as it ever was… thank goodness. Hippie Days in Gardner is becoming one of those neighborhood events that create a delightful pause. Summer and the busy weekends that we hope to cram full of chores and activities, is punctuated nicely by the Hippie Days diversion. Consistent in the presentation of local music talent and artisans, who are likely friends and neighbors, the Hippie Days experience becomes a relaxed, rural version of the urban block party.
The festivities got off to a leisurely start as the July sun began its arc toward the oppressive. The early arrivals gathered their chairs around rainbow colored parasols and began the conversations that would evolve and wander. Vendors of tie-die and domestic ceramics hawked their wares as the appetite stirring scent of victuals on the grill perfumed the air. The Democratic party was even busy in their booth, registering new voters and chatting politics with all five registered Democrats from Custer County. If Gardner were a county unto itself, Hippie Days would be its fair!
The music, which is the soul of this event, was, as always, a joy. Eclectic and provocative, the notes that hung in the warm breezes either demanded your attention or wandered through the mental transom like the soundtrack to some indy film. My only gripe, being that I’m aging and I work a traditional work week, is that the dancing and hypnotic rhythms that occurred after the six o’clock hour will remain, to me, the stuff of myth. The few I spoke to who followed the event into the nether hours all spoke of their experiences with a blissful smile and twinkle in their eyes. The happy faces of the dance participants is a sign that should I be so bold as to linger next year, the reward will be very worth my while.