Tag Archives: Festival of Nations

Survivor’s report

Photo credit: Erik Patton

Above you see me this last week, at the Festival of Nations in St. Paul. The Festival of Nations is a celebration held annually to rejoice in the rich diversity of our community.

Can you speak the words “rich diversity” without that intonation that implies quotation marks? I know I can’t. I’ve tried.

It’s not a bad event, and my sales (more on those below) were pretty good. But it’s grueling. It just involves sitting around, but you sit around in a windowless, echoing concrete cavern, and Friday and Saturday are twelve-hour days – ten to ten. It wears on an old man.

We had an example of rich diversity at a nearby vendor’s stall, where a gentleman was selling “Ojibway Beadwork.” Another Native American came over and insisted he had no right to make or sell what he was making and selling. Wrong tribe or wrong designs or something. The offender packed up and left, saying he felt unsafe.

You may extract what moral you will from this story.

But I did pretty good business. Saturday in particular was excellent – at one point I had a line of three people waiting to buy Viking Legacy (the book I translated, if you’re new around here). This occurred – of course – just as I was sitting down to eat the Chinese meal I’d brought from the food section.

It’s not true that I’d rather eat than make money. I produce this anecdote as proof. My sesame chicken was cool by the time I got to it, but I made sales.

I really think we’ve got great possibilities in Viking Legacy. Again and again I had the experience of explaining the book’s theme (the influence of Viking democracy on our own democracy today) and a kind of light would go on in people’s eyes and they’d reach for their wallets.

My investment in stock was expensive, but I made it all back and took in a fair profit.

Capitalism is good, as every Viking will tell you.

A day in the bunker

Day One of the Festival of Nations is done. This was the easy day – 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow and Saturday will be roughly 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday wraps it up for good at 6:00 p.m.

Today and tomorrow morning were/are student days. The place rings with the laughter of children, and the ennui of teens.

When I say “rings,” I mean it. The River Centre is part of a complex (adjective) complex (noun) comprising the Excel Energy Center, the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and probably a couple other institutions I never noticed. What the River Centre appears to be – mostly – is the basement of the whole thing.

I am not a sun worshiper. I wear a hat for shade when I go outside, and never wear shorts. In general, I prefer to spend my time indoors, away from the sunburn and insect bites.

But a day in the River Centre drives me to consider nudism.

(Not really.)

It’s not only the artificial light – I expect they replaced all the fluorescents with LEDs long ago – but the sound of the place. The reverberations of noise off the bunker walls. I’m too old for this.

However, I recently invested in a stock of Viking Legacy (the paper version is available from Saga Publishing, even though Amazon only carries the Kindle version. For some reason). I’m eager to recoup my expenses. Even at the expense of voluntary incarceration.

Sold 3 copies today, plus one of West Oversea. I consider that OK for student days at the Festival. I don’t expect to sell a lot of copies to kids.

Tomorrow should, I hope, bring serious sales. I seem to recall I’ve had good sales in the past (it’s been a few years).

One high school guy came by and told me he already owned the book. And he hadn’t bought it from me.

I didn’t ask him what he thought of it.