ypsilanti’s heritage fest in retrospect

At the request of a great many readers, I’ve decided, against my better judgement, to open up a thread about Ypsilanti’s Heritage Festival, which happened just this past weekend. I know I’ll take a lot of shit from people for saying this, but, to put it as kindly as possible, Heritage Fest isn’t one of the things I love most about this community. For the most part, I just try to tolerate it. Having said that, however, I should also point out that there are a lot of redeeming things about the event. While I could do without the too-tight fashion atrocities lurking around every corner, and the site of enormous, mullet-topped children licking powered sugar and grease from deep-fried heaps of dough, I do like some things. I like the old engines, the tipis on the banks of the river, the parade down Michigan Avenue, the little city of moon walks (minus the attitudes of the young men governing it), and the folks playing fiddles in Depot Town. I realize I’m probably in the minority, and that this makes me sound like – God forbid – an elitist, but the disrespectful yahoos throwing their trash on the ground and screaming at their brats really ruin it for me. Still, all things considered, it’s probably a good thing. I was, at one point or another, in Sidetrack, Aubree’s and Luwak this weekend, and they all seemed to be doing great business. And, I think that’s the important thing. They need the business, and I should just keep my mouth shut, and stay home if I don’t like it.

And here, on a somewhat related note, is a little copyright puzzle for you… If someone takes your photo without a signed release, and puts it on the web, and the person in said photo decides to post said photo on his website in violation of the photographer’s copyright, who’s in the wrong?

My friend Jim just wrote to inform me that my family had become ‘Flickr famous’ thanks to local blogger Steven Krause, who was apparently stalking us on Saturday morning… And, yes, I apparently am one of those people who waves at folks in parades. And, yes, Linette and I do have a second daughter who we don’t talk about here on the site.

[note: Speaking of the parade down Michigan Avenue, if anyone has video of the church float with the folks singing a reworked version of Toto’s song “Roseanna,” entitled “Hosanna,” please put it on Youtube as a public service… I can’t stop humming, “Been two-thousand years since you went away, Hosanna, Hosanna.”]

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  1. Brackache
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Man, I hear ya on the disrespectful trash throwers. I wish the place weren’t crawling with cops so I could hit the impious wretches in the back of the head with a shovel and get away with it. Anyone with more cultivated problem solving skills, please advise on a more efficient and effective method of instant Depot Town character building for the complete jackass.

  2. YpsiJip
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    My question is, where are all the other people? I haven’t been to an Ypsi parade since I was child, but as I remember, the sidewalk was pretty full with people watching the parade. I could be wrong though, seeing it’s been over twenty years ago since I’ve been to one.

  3. nearby
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    No idea re: the copyright, but: I wish the penny-farthings could hit the Ypsi 4th July parade every other year and share the fun on that day over here sometimes too.

  4. Posted August 18, 2008 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    my heart sank for the biodiesel bus that broke down in the middle of the parade.

    pretty good recovery for the parade itself though…

    The girl child enjoyed the parade and the moonwalk and the tipis and the river… and I sat under a tree and ate kettle corn while reading a book and that part of things was quite lovely.

    Having Crossroads all day Saturday was pretty sweet too- except during set up they had ‘School’s Out’ cranked up and on repeat for oh, 30 times in a row? We were working on the shop and it about drove us batshit.

    Also the streets seemed more carpeted with vomit than usual. Mark, when I ran into you and yours on Washington St. I was discussing with my daughter what a good sleeper she was- since between Michigan and Washington pretty much every Friday night is a regular whoop fest.

  5. DanIzzo
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Hosanna! Hosanna! Now you’re gone and we have to say . . . Praise you every day! Hosanna Hosanna!

    That damned song was trapped in my mind all weekend. When they hit the “Two thousand years since you went away” I turned to my wife and said “Are you shitting me?”

    The parade is WAY too Jesus heavy. Do we really need a float with Godzilla on it proclaiming that it was made on the 6th day? I don’t recall that part of the Bible “and on the 6th day the Lord created Godzilla, and lo did the people of Japan run in fear.” Next year let’s put together a non-denominational float where we’ll sing Doobie Brothers songs in a church choir style for no discernible reason.

    I’m less down on the fest than most. I love the old two-stroke motors, the buffalo soldiers, and actually spent money on some crap. It was good to see something in town generate that much interest, as well as parking revenues for a few local organizations, even if that included the atheist, gay hating, boy scouts.

  6. Brackache
    Posted August 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    There wasn’t a Japan until after humanity was scattered from the plain of Shinar after the tower of Babel incident into seperate nations. This occured after the flood of Noah, which, according to the once widely-accepted Book of Enoch, also took out the Godzillas.

  7. mark
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I really think that we should organize and enter some floats in next year’s parade. I’ve got a notion to form a new band for it. I think it could be really fun. I’d love to make amplified noise on the back of a flatbed truck going down Michigan Avenue surrounded by stuffed monsters and go-go dancers.

  8. Katy
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I was pretty upset when I realized that I was going to miss the Heritage Festival parade this year. It’s probably my favorite part of the ordeal, that or the the people watching in Riverside park, combined with a little bit of bingo if you can find the tent, hidden behind magnetic bracelet and dip your own candle -type huts. I think it’s a shame they stopped letting people climb up the water tower, but can understand the reasoning behind it.

  9. Bob
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    I really miss the jazz tent that WEMU had at the Heritage Festival for so many years. Also, I miss the water tower being open for a once-a-year look over the city.

    And while I am at it, how about making the farmers market parking lot a free one again. Nothing against the Boy Scouts but how does the City get away with “leasing” a public parking lot to a group. I just would like to see one lot open for people that don’t have all the money in the world.

  10. Posted August 19, 2008 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I love the fest. One of the few where one can truly say there’s something for just about everyone. Where else can you get therapeutic magnetic jewelry, little wizard/dragon pewter thingies, tie-dyed dresses, purses made out of old pants, the Libertarian Party, a spine exam, a violin lesson, a petting zoo, camel rides, caricatures, ribs, shrimp fried rice, Hulaballoo and a rubber ducky race?

    And this year, fireworks.

    It’s a dang shame the distractions cause you to lose your focus of how cool and unique it is, but I can’t really give you shit for it, ’cause it would be kinda like the pot calling the kettle black . . . .

  11. publius
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    That was a catchy tune. Hosanna! Hosanna! I love the fact that Ypsilanti’s festival has the theme of Heritage. I usaully spend the most time talking to people in the ancestors encampment, but I always felt something was missing. This year I was thrilled really to talk to the gentleman from the Omaha Nation near his tipi.

  12. Posted August 19, 2008 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that posting a copyrighted photo without permission is illegal, even if the photo is of you, and even if it was taken without your permission.

    From what I’ve read, anyone in a public place (where there is no expectation of privacy) is fair game to be photographed, and no permission (signed or verbal) is needed. I’ve seen photographers advised to get permission from a parent before photographing a child in public, but in the case of adults, there is absolutely no requirement to obtain permission.

    Any such photo is automatically a copyrighted work, and posting it without permission is a violation of the owner’s copyright, even if you are the subject of the photo.

  13. publius
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Watching the bio bus break down = comedy gold.

  14. EoS
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Don’t sweat it Mark, madler doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The photo was posted on Flickr, you gave credit to the person who posted it, and he put it on the site with no restrictions. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work.

  15. degutails
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    although the festival doesn’t do it for me every year, this year was fabulous. we had a tent for the youth theater, and we hung out and had a banjo player for a while and met people and there was knitting and shopping and a parade. also, my children love the weaponry.

    the coolest thing was the tent next to us – the lady working it had a mom that did needlepoint on plastic canvas, obsessively. so she had tons of stuff, and at first glance you think, oh it’s plastic and needlepoint – tacky. but then you realize (actually, it took a kid to realize) that it was completely amazing. we bought a dollhouse with a removable roof, bunk beds, a working buffet, treasure chests, and an outhouse with a tiny roll of toilet paper in it, all of which was embroidered on plastic canvas, for $25. i now have a tiny embroidered haunted house with aliens in the windows ($3), and a grasshopper with movable parts (no idea on the price – by that point i had stopped asking).

    super fantastic! i loved it, and i loved that the heritage festival was for everyone – didn’t matter how your clothes fit, what kind of music you liked, how old you were, or anything. something that relentlessly unhip is a treasure, and i completely adored it.


  16. Dave French
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    As far as the biodiesel bus breaking down, please give Amy and “Limey” credit. They’re doing what they can do solve a difficult problem changing people’s attitude toward our environmental responsibilities . They should be commended.

  17. Posted August 21, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Jeez, I should have posted here first!

    * I’m not a lawyer either, but copyright law on photography in public places is pretty clear: if you’re in public, I can take a picture of you and do what I want with the picture. This is why paparazzi get away with what they get away with. I posted this pict on flickr with a creative commons share and share a like license, which means that Mark didn’t violate a copyright rule either.

    * Truth be told, I wasn’t aiming for Mark and his fam. I was aiming for the bikers.

    * Most of the people at the parade were actually on my side of the street. Mark and fam were kind of out there in the middle alone….

  18. I Have a Dream
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Why weren’t Mark and his family allowed to sit with everyone else? Was it the smell?

  19. gleblon
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I hope the camel had a good time…

  20. Jill
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    It just so happens that I do have a clip of the riveting cover of the Rosanna song. I will put it up on Youtube posthaste. Look for videos by jlmrbk.

  21. mark
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Yay! I’m going to check right now. Thanks, Jill.

  22. Jill
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Here it is! Better late than never …….. Hosanna! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psjw2A8DbHs

  23. Posted August 26, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to arrive at the party late, or should I say parade, but just to clear up a couple of points. The Conscientious Cruiser didn’t exactly break down. She ran low on battery power due to a slightly loose connection on one of the _four_ battery terminals that she has. The quick version is that when she dips much below full power (24 volts) [that’s 2 125 lb. batteries] _transmission_ goes into neutral until the power comes back up. Since the batteries weren’t getting a full charge, there we sat. If the subtlety is escaping anyone, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the engine (which is where the biodiesel stuff goes) it was only a power problem. There has never been anything wrong with the engine since we started using biodiesel, with a _minimum_ blend of B20 max. B99, over 4 years ago.
    We would have been able to finish the parade if the POC “made in china” generator hadn’t failed us exactly when we needed it. But, that’s how it goes. If anyone had had a spare 1/2 in socket in their pocket, that would have been helpful, too. And… Thanks, Dave F. We appreciate the good words. See http://www.thebiobus.org for a slightly more in depth version.

  24. Posted August 26, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Addendum: Next year for the float idea, maybe the bus can blast out “Here Comes the Sun” and maybe segue into “Blowin’ in the Wind” … any takers/riders?

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