Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Red White and Rainy

(long non-knitting post!)

It started out as an ok day. Horribly hot, but ok. The plan was to go into Washington, DC, spend the day at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and then head to the Washington Monument to watch the fireworks. We took the subway in, which was surprisingly not too crowded.

The first thing we saw when we got off the subway was a high school band performing at the Navy Memorial.
high school band performing at the Navy Memorial
We got to hear them play the Star Spangled Banner, which, I gotta say, kinda choked me up a little. All the people in the crowd had their hands on their hearts and were singing along. Perfect patriotism for a July 4th.

Then we headed to the Mall. We had a good time wandering through all the Folklife exhibits. There was a very cool dance performance by Blackfoot Medicine Speaks. Sadly, my camera batteries died so I only got a few not so good pictures of their amazing costumes.
Blackfoot Medicine SpeaksBlackfoot Medicine Speaks
I was shocked when S. got up and joined the dance! Sadly, my camera batteries were completely dead at that point (I had extras in my bag, but couldn't find them quick enough), so I have no photo evidence. I think he planned it that way!

We decided to grab something to eat and found a bench under a tent to sit. We were soon joined by a group of S.'s friends. We were hanging out for awhile when we started to hear people talking about a storm coming through. The skies were starting to look a little scary, but we figured we would be nice and dry under the tent. Then I spotted this:
Heed the warning
Hmmm... Maybe staying under the tent wasn't such a great idea after all....

While we were contemplating this, a NPS cop car drove up with a bull horn: "You MUST evacuate the area immediately. There is a huge dangerous storm coming through the area. 50-70 mile an hour winds, large hail, much lightening! Please seek shelter in the museums!"

Ok, take a minute to picture this... (I don't have any actual pictures, so you'll have to imagine it)

THOUSANDS of people on the Mall for the fireworks and Folklife festival having to freaking EVACUATE. It was insane. We headed to the American History Museum with a few thousand other people. There was such a crush of people trying to get into the museum, that they gave up doing security checks and just let everyone in. Now, I gotta say - I am soo not comfortable in big pushing crowds. I was not a happy girl. We did manage to escape up to the upper floors of the museum where there weren't quite as many people, but it was still damn crowded. A guy came up to me and asked if there was some kind of event going on in the museum and why it had suddenly gotten so crowded. He had been in the museum all afternoon and had no idea of the incoming storm.

Needless to say, I was really happy when we escaped the museum. I never saw any of the storm, but the aftermath was impressive. Lots of tree branches on the ground, a few of the tents on the Mall took a hit, lots of overturned trash cans. I wish I had thought to keep my camera out.

We headed up to the Washington Monument to stake out our spot for the fireworks. But NPS wasn't letting anyone through. It totally sucked. We had already stood in line when we got to DC to get through security to get on the Mall. (The entire Mall is fenced off on the 4th of July and you have to go through a security check to get out on it.) Now, not only were we going have to wait in line just to get to the monument, we were going to have to go through security again. There was another huge crush of people. And the police kept trying to drive through the crowd, so we were having to squeeze together to get out of the way. By this point. I was DONE. I wanted to go home. I was tired of the waiting, all the people, the yucky weather and I had a huge headache. I gotta say, S. Was a prince about me being such a crab. He lead me out of the crowd, we got pretzels and water from a vendor, and we sat down, away from all the people and just waited it out. I felt a little better once we got away from the crowds. Still headachy and whiny, but at least willing to stay for the fireworks.

Finally, what felt like an hour later, they started letting people onto the mall again. We got through the security check fairly quickly and joined S's friends near the monument.
waiting for the fun to start
You can kind of see the Lincoln Memorial and the WWII Memorial off in the distance. This was the view around 7:00 p.m. By 9:00 p.m. the grass was completely covered in people. The most crowded I have ever seen it.

This was my view when I was lying down
Washington Memorial at night

Finally, finally, finally... What we came for...
My creation

Purple fireworks!
Note the Project Spectrum worthy fireworks above. PURPLE!

The fireworks were awesome. I'm not sure they were worth the day from hell, but still a good show.

I did actually do some knitting during the day from hell. I knitted on the subway and while we waited for the fireworks to start. But pictures of that will have to wait. Imagine purple koigu Jaywalkers!


Blogger Lolly said...

I know that there were tons of crazy people and some unpredictable weather - but being on the Mall for the 4th? Amazing! I am jealous! It sounds like a wonderful time - especially the Folklife Festival (but not the crowds...)

Purple firework is gorgeous!!

Did you and L see the movie yesterday?

7:56 AM  
Blogger Mama -E said...

gorgeous sister!!!

9:19 AM  
Blogger Diane D. said...

Well, sounds like we made the right decision in not going down to the mall this year! Nonetheless, it's an event you'll never forget and a great story. We went to Columbia. I'd never been before and was very impressed by the amount of fireworks.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Oh my gosh - what an adventure!!!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Amie said...

I met one of my dear friends nine years ago when a mutual friend of ours got a group together to go to "the Capital Fourth" and now we wish each other happy anniversary during the fireworks every year.

It can be crazy down there, and I'm with you on crowds being a no-no. But it's worth a trip, at least once...

really sorry I missed you yesterday!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kadiddly said...

Sounds crazy! We went to the beach along with everyone else on the West Coast and their brother, grandmother, and dog, but it was fun to watch all the families' firecrackers and then the fireworks off the pier. I hate crowds, too, and so sorry you had to endure them! From what I heard of the storm, though, I'm rather glad that you were able to get inside and stay safe! Great pics!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I've gone down to the Mall maybe once or twice on the fourth, and that was enough for me. But I love the fireworks. I lived in Rosslyn for awhile and you could get an excellent view from the Iwo Jima Memorial, which was just a short walk from my apartment.

Now I'm all nostalgic and misty for DC. Thanks for the great pictures! :)

8:52 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Okay, I'm really jealous! I have wanted to go to the fireworks on the Mall for ages and never get up the nerve, because of stories just like this, but those pictures are totally worth it! Next year I'm going!

8:23 PM  

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