I'm not entirely sure when my love affair with the Winnipeg Fringe Festival began. I remember going to a random play one year while I was in university - I worked in the registration centre and some of the girls there were talking about this awesome show that they had been to, and I decided that I wanted to check it out. I think that I may have dragged my mom along.
I know that it was a few years after that when I had my first day at the festival with a few friends. Wandering the tables/booths set up around Old Market Square (I'm sure I bought at least a ring or a necklace)....discovering shops in the exchange that I didn't know existed....not knowing which show we were going to see next....checking out info on the board for what was close by and sounded good....definitely learning our lesson about arriving even one minute late for a show.....laughing at some seriously talented artists....wishing time would speed up for other poorly chosen shows.....making our way back to the Square to drink some vodka coolers (I think?) and watch the acts on the free stage in the dark.
I'm a bit inconsistent with the number of shows I go to each year. One of these years I'll just buy a pass and make sure that I use it fully. I think that last year my total was seven or eight shows over three different days. By far, my favourite was "7(x1) Samurai", even though it wasn't my choice to go see it. By the write up, I had no desire to go watch a man mime his way through some sort of battle; but to this day, my friend (who chose it) and I still agree that we have never seen a more disgusting scene in a live play than when he sliced himself into several pieces during one particular battle (it sounds absurd, but really.....it was fantastic. And gross.).
This year, because of the worse summer cold I've ever had, I missed a large portion of the festival. I just couldn't go and subject people to my constant coughing. Even when I did get there, I was still probably coughing a little too much to be at a play (judging by the evil glares I received from one woman in particular). Since time was limited, I had to choose carefully. I bought two tickets to "Bursting Into Flames" and told a friend that she was coming with me (she's pretty open to seeing anything that's been given a decent review). It was great. Martin Dockery is hilarious, so committed, and so utterly thoughtful.
And of course, my other favourite part of the festival....
Rootbeer in a glass bottle? Yes please. My first ever poutine? I went with the traditional....no need to get all crazy with the toppings until I know what the foundation is supposed to taste like. Cakettes from Cakeology? Hello sugar rush. And pink lemonade? Heaven....hence the name :)