I have survived another Festival of the West.
This one started with a fine Italian lunch with Bob Boze Bell, Executive Editor of True West Magazine, at which we talked Westerns and comics and a wide range of other subjects. Then it was into Friday afternoon Phoenix traffic, which means pretty much sitting still on the freeway, L.A. style. We gave up and turned into Scottsdale for ice cream at the Sugar Bowl, a local landmark since 1958.
Saturday morning we finally got to the Festival. This is an event for fans of every West--the historical one, the mythical one, the B-movie one. It's attended by celebrities like Stella Stevens, Robert Fuller, Ruth Buzzi, June Lockhart--basically, any actor who's made more than one Western is treated like a star. It's full of vendors offering every kind of Western merchandise you could want, from authentic cowboy and Indian clothing to furniture, log cabins, saddles and tack, etc. There's cowboy and Western music at every corner. One section is full of chuck wagons, with people cooking on firepits dug into the ground. There's a mountain man encampment and a Civil War section, and some of the people go all out with historically accurate costumes. It is held every year at Rawhide, which is a re-creation that somewhat resembles an old Western town, but with more bathrooms.
I was there with the Western Writers of America, trying to push fine Western literature on the crowds. We had a great location this year and did a booming business.
Here are a couple of images from different parts of the event:
Today was rainy and the attendance dropped off. We left about noon and drove home, in the rain until just outside Tucson when we hit heavy hail. Around Tombstone it started snowing, and the snow chased me the rest of the way home.
Tired now, but it was a fun weekend in the company of good folks.