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.
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.
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:
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.
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
Finally, finally, finally... What we came for...
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!