The Festival for the Rest of Y'all
The major news this week, as it is every year the weekend after Labor Day, is that it's time for the Lansdowne Arts & Music Festival, now in year 13. Although bands, singers, instrumentalists, and DJs have been an essential part of the festival from its inception in 2003 (when performances were held all over town -- in parking lots, parks, and basements), the "& Music" just got added to the official designation this year, as a pointed acknowledgment of the dozen or so acts that will take the stage over the course of Saturday and Sunday. Several of these groups -- No Good Sister, Vilebred, Flightschool -- are bands you'd typically have to buy a ticket or pay a cover charge to see, but all the music is free both days of the LAMF -- just step into the tent and find a seat at one of the many tables. And, as usual, Kathy O'Connell of XPN's Kids Corner starts Sunday's events at 10:30 with a show that the little ones love and the adults don't have to grit their teeth through.
Inside the Twentieth Century Club will be nearly 30 visual artists, displaying and selling their creations, including ceramics, paintings, mobiles, photography, textiles, and jewelry. For the past few years, the selection process has been juried, resulting in uniformly high-quality wares at reasonable prices. Three free demonstrations -- printmaking and improvisational theater on Saturday and an Ask the Artist forum on Sunday -- invite visitors to learn a little something about art for nothing. Scan through pictures from previous LA(pre-M)Fs if you still need convincing. Food will be available both days from The Trolley Stop, Nelson's BBQ, and local establishments like Kia's Cakes and The Icery.
Lastly but not leastly, there's still time to get in on the borough's best party of the year -- A Taste of Lansdowne -- the ticketed event that kicks off the festival with a preshow on Friday night from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. For $25, attendees get a couple of hours of butlered hors d'oeuvres (the spelling of which we look up every year at this time), champagne, and desserts, plus first shot at the artwork that's for sale. For the party, trade the shorts for slacks or the tank top for a dress, and head over to the Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, near the library. (But the shorts and tank top are perfectly acceptable for the rest of the festival.)
Oh, one more thing: Saturday from 4:00 to 8:00 pm, the Lansdowne Arts Board is holding the opening reception for the first artist exhibit at the 20*20 House, right behind the 20CC. (Tip: The LAMF runs until 5:00 on Saturday, so you can wander over to the 20*20 House right after the last musical act.) Philadelphia gallery owner Bridgette Mayer selected young photographer Izaak Schlossman for this honor, and his work will be on display there until the end of October. The 20*20 House is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4:00 in case you can't make it Saturday evening. But try to attend the reception; it'll be cool.
Meanwhile, the Farmers Market will continue as regularly scheduled on Saturday morning, never fear. We're at last back to an even-numbered Saturday (by that we mean the second one of the month), so our 2/4 vendors are on deck. We haven't seen them in a while, and they've been missed. Plus Bonnie's Wondergardens really and truly is back this Saturday. In addition, Taste of Puebla is going to be at the Market every Saturday from now on, with their delicious salsas, guac, chips, and tamales. (Note that they'll only have the hot ready-to-eat tamales on the first and third Saturdays though.)
Unfortunately, the other Taste, Taste Artisanal Market, is taking September off. And Green Zebra Farm decided at the last minute last week to take a rest day this Saturday too.
If the continual cancellations and changes in vendor schedules frustrate you, just remember that all of our vendors are small businesses, in most cases very small businesses, and the loss of a single valued employee can knock them flat for a bit. They sometimes realize they've bitten off more than they can comfortably chew and need to take a step back, and sometimes the business grows quickly and they can no longer commit to a farmers market. Only rarely do we lose a vendor because they're dissatisfied with the LFM per se; it happens, but not often. Thought that this little reminder might help you deal with any disappointment if you're unable to get what you planned at the Market you've come to love. Just know that it's not you; it's them.
It's Mystery Meat, Y'all!
We tend to think of Freeland Market as "the sausage stand" because with that many varieties of meat tucked into casings, it's hard not to. But Ben also brings seasoned hamburger patties, regular and Canadian bacon, tasso ham, pâté, confit, and salami, all of which have many fans among LFM shoppers (just try buying bacon late in the day). It's the sausage we always come back to, nonetheless, and our favorite way of purchasing it the past couple months has been in one of the "grab bag" packages.
The grab bags contain unidentified, uncased sausage meat - specifically, what's left in the stuffing machine when there's too little to fill a whole sausage. The meat has been formed into patties and is sold in packs of four, typically with at least three varieties in each. You can select either chicken or pork, but you won't know what specific sausage varieties you're getting until you eat them, and then only if you can figure it out from the taste. But unless you have allergies, it doesn't matter much because they're all delicious.
This loose meat is full of the same flavorful ingredients as in the cased sausages and is great for stuffing peppers, forming into unorthodox meat balls, or using in casseroles. We like to split each patty into two smaller patties, grill them, plop them onto little slider rolls, top them with both basic and gourmet sandwich toppings, and have at it. (When we offered a platter of these unidentified little sausage burgers to friends, no one batted an eye, and the discussion of what we all thought we were eating was part of the fun. Then everyone went back for seconds.) Our only complaint is that Ben doesn't have a lot of these packs, so you have to get there early to get one. (Some weeks he doesn't even have any, and that is just unacceptable, as we've made clear in his performance review.)
Dog Day is fast approaching, and we're hoping to have flyers about it at the Market this Saturday. Flyer or no, it's happening on September 26 (not the 25th as erroneously reported here last week when we were too lazy to check a calendar), and there will be loads of canines and canine-related stuff to see and buy and participate in, plus we hope you will bring your dog (you will bring your dog, won't you?). Vendors include DOCs dog collars, pet artist Galleria Mona, Lovable Pet Delights (treats), Your Mannerly Mutt dog training, and Glenolden Animal Hospital, AFL's official vet. There will also be representatives (and hopefully dogs for adoption) from five rescue organizations (we'll list them here next week). Finally, two of our very favorite words come together: dog parade.
Sure would be great to have an extra hand or two for set-up and breakdown this Saturday, as some of the Market committee will have their hands full with the Arts and Music Festival. How, oh how, could we go about getting a little help at 7:45 am and at 1:00 pm? Guess we'll just offer it to the universe and see if anything comes of it.