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DeLorean Cars, Turkey Legs, and Fair-Play-Boy-Bunny-Ears.

Posted by Sharon Armstrong on Sat, 03/06/2010 - 12:42

In the end the Toyota Corolla Gods choose not to smile on my trip, so I ended up begging a lift to Dallas from Eamonn de Cogain, an ever-helpful and very talented Irish set-dancer from County Cork, Ireland. He takes mean photographs too!

American roads are long and straight, and they do absolutely nothing to keep you awake on long journeys. That's why it is always good to have a little company on trips like this. Right now, here in the States, those end-of-winter roads are also lined with bare trees and empty fields, and a sprinkling of little white crosses that mark the sites of road accidents. Not so good.

The distance between New Orleans and Dallas is just a little over 500 miles. You take Interstate-10 West for a few hours, switch to I-49 North, turn onto I-20 West, follow it along to the US 80, and, boom, there you are - Dallas. The good thing about the eight hour drive was that it gave me plenty of time to work out how to use the new camera. Did I say camera? Huh? More like a small space-ship! But an eight hour drive is enough time for most people to work out how to use a zoom lens, even me.

It was just getting dark when we rolled into Fair Park. It was a beautiful night, cool but not cold, and the park itself was absolutely packed full of people. While we waited for our passes, Eamonn got to chatting with the ticket booth lady. She instantly fell in love with his thick Cork accent, and rushed off to find her daughters, dragging them back to the booth just to listen to him talk. One of the girls looked over at me.

“Can you talk too?” she asked me.

Once inside the Fair Grounds we took a quick tour. A large, shallow expanse of water now ran the length of the park, reflecting the lights from the two enormous buildings that lie on either side. It was very pretty, especially on a warm night, such as the one on which we arrived. Inside, the hanger-sized buildings were bright and welcoming and the David Munnelly Band were thumping out the tunes - a great mix of traditional music and percussive jazz - to an attentive audience. Dozens of vendors were selling goods from harps and ‘Utilikilts’, to hand-made silver jewelry, and a bedazzlement of Dichroic glass earrings, amulets, and even belt-buckles – all the colors that you could imagine.

Outside, next to a huge, black, smokestack steam engine, sat two gleaming DeLoreans. I was a bit confused as to why there should be DeLoreans at an Irish Festival, but one of the DeLorean owners, Video Bob, lost no time in explaining it to me. DeLoreans, he said, were made in Ireland. A group of admiring teenagers peered at what appeared to be a functioning Flux Capacitor that flashing on and off behind his car’s leather seats.

"Dude," said one. "Your car is so cool"

Video Bob nodded his head.

Food vendors were everywhere, selling smoked turkey legs (my personal favourite), onion blossoms, fries, and even, to my delight, alligator on a stick. Cotton Candy, sugar cakes, beer and funnel cakes all did their bit to make everyone more hungry.

Back inside, we caught the Barra McNiels, a family band from Cape Breton Island, whose show included sean nos dancing. Freer with the hands and the arms than a lot of the Irish dancing, the beat of the dancer’s feet on the hard floor kept perfect time to the fast, Cape-Breton music.

As we left to pick up the car and head towards the hotel, in search of the inevitable session, something in the crowd caught my eye. Actually, several somethings.

Amongst the all the usual shamrock hats, and bright-green felt top-hats, I saw a number of green play-boyesque ‘bunny’ ears.

I have no idea what that was all about, but now I have a goal for tomorrow. The very next person I see wearing a pair, I am going to ask the question.

I mean, there has to be a reason…right?