It's no coincidence people do not plan their fall, winter or spring activities with the same fervor we spend scheduling out the summer. Since I was a kid, wide-eyed at the thought of a later bedtime once the school year ended, most of my twilight evenings were spent roaming around outside, investigating half-built houses in my neighborhood and playing games in the cul-de-sac with friends until I achieved a tan surpassing any orange-ish tanning bed teenager. I didn't exactly plan out my summer at that age, aside from demanding a pass to Wild Waters and succumbing to whatever family vacation was concocted, but my pre-planning ways did eventually evolve.
In high school, organizing a summer came down to a few important factors: whose parents were out of town and when for shameless weeklong parties; what music gigs were happening and how to sneak into the over-21 sections; and what friend's house I should say I'm at when a bunch of us are really planning a camping foray to Touch of Heaven or the various hot springs around Idaho. As an alleged adult now (key word: alleged), I'm taking even greater pains to map out the best outdoor fun I can squeeze from this summer, keeping in mind a different list of factors, namely: event costs, driving distances and other people's plans (sad, but true).
Starting with festivals I would usually remember the day after they finish, I am determined to experience a few shows at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival; tap into my inner Greek at the Greek Food Festival; participate in the rare opportunity Boise has in the Basque festival Jaialdi coming to town; and head up to McCall around my birthday for a star-gazing weekend at the McCall Music Festival. If I get really ambitious, I'll even throw in the Jackson Hole Film Festival beginning June 6 and surprise my uncle and cousins living nearby with a sleeping bag at the ready.
The Shakespeare Festival is always a treat because of the outdoor picnicking atmosphere, whether all audience members understand every Shakespearian nuance or not. If the lineup this year is as entertaining as in 2004 (when two generations from my mother and her friend to myself and my friends laughed so hard we cried at: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), then the two plays not to miss are The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (think, Bill S. on speed: the definitive Cliff Notes on the Bard via 37 plays presented in two acts) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Shevelove and Gelbart's legendary circus of circumstances.)
The annual Greek Food Festival is held the first week in June at Saint Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church (corner of 27th and Bannock). Cazba gets competition while these guys are partying down to Greek music and eating Spanikopita, Dolmathes and Baklava while touring the church grounds. Be prepared for witnessing expert matchmaking in action ala My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Basques from all around the world are headed to our little town for the numerous events of Jaialdi, beginning July 27, including a sports night (special Basque-only feats of strength, hmm); the music and dance of Festa'ra; mass in the Basque language and the annual birthday party for San Inazio (St. Ignatius). Though the festival, held once every five years, demonstrate how the rest of us culturally mismatched mutts are so disorganized, it welcomes all for the reuniting fun.
The McCall Music Festival, beginning July 14, features bluegrass, blues and banjo music to rival with the equally entertaining Weiser Fiddler Festival, beginning June 20. Surfer-dude Jack Johnson is sure to rake up some ticket sales and numerous local and regional acts are playing around town like Built to Spill and Alive After Five hosting Marcus Eaton to Rising Lions, Reckless Kelly to Jude Bowerman (side note: congratulations Jude and Laura!) There's the annual Jazz in the Canyon weekend in Twin Falls and Lyle Lovett straddling shows in both Sun Valley and Eagle, while Widespread Panic dukes it out with DJ Logic up at Brundage July 1 and the always gloried Vans Warped Tour returns to the Idaho Center July 8.
Now I'm remembering Opera Under the Stars and concerts up at Sandy Point and suddenly, damn! I know I'll never experience everything I aspire to this summer without taking some of the previously mentioned speed of Bill S. Since I will attempt the impossible of attending all of the above, not to mention additional events I lack the space to include, I challenge my fellow Boiseans to do the same. Party on Ted, in true yearbook fashion: have a great summer, don't change.