Friday, June 21, 2013

Riverbend 2013 photoset #2 - festival food

The festival is over, but the food memories live on.  My favorite this year: fried Reese's peanut butter cups!  If you know me in real life, you know I have a thing for 'so bad it's good' food.  (I'm looking at you Cool Ranch Doritos Locos tacos.)  So the theme of my Riverbend food this year was Food on a Stick, and the festival did not disappoint!

I don't know when the last time I had a corn dog was. 
Reece's Cups on a stick & Snickers on a stick...glorious
Cheesecake on a stick, this guy swore it was the best.
The infamous Deep Fried Kool-Aid.  I didn't try it, but it was there.
Other 'on a stick' options
I didn't try them, but I thought noodles at a festival was cool.
Note: this post was supposed to publish sooner, but the photos never loaded.  Sorry for the random outdated post.  Odds are this food will be back next year.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Riverbend 2013 - Photoset #1 - CeeLo Green

I wrote a really long post yesterday about how disappointed I am with Friends of the Festival for how they're handling the CeeLo 'controversy.'  That post is going to sit idle in my drafts until a day when I feel like bitching.  Today is not that day.  Today shall more positive than that.

what's happier than a giant sandcastle?

I had a blast at Riverbend this weekend.  I went Saturday for CeeLo Green & Goodie Mob, and it was even better than I expected.  It's tied for my favorite Riverbend show of all time.  We were in blanket seating, and had plenty of space to dance...which we did for the entire show.  I woke up Sunday morning still grinning from how much fun we had. 
  1. CeeLo Green & Goodie Mob, Coke Stage, 2013 (tie)
  2. Chattanooga Symphony & The Machine - Pink Floyd, Coke Stage, 2011 (tie)
  3. Gov't Mule in the rain, Bud Light Stage, 2012
  4. Alabama in the rain, Coke Stage, 2000
  5. Dirty Guv'nahs, under the bridge, 2011
The only downside was the fact that no one reads my blog was glaringly obvious.  Blanket Seating remains the best kept secret at Riverbend.   People get there crazy early to make their claim for the 'good' free spots.  We showed up at 8:00pm on Saturday night to set out our blanket, and the section was maybe 1/3 full.  I mean, yay for me, but y'all are missing out.  Blanket seating has bathrooms, beer, tokens, and concessions, and no one bumping into you.  If you're there to see the main act, this is the way to go.

This was taken at 9pm, with the show scheduled to start at 9:30

We had plenty of room to dance, and dance we did.

We rocked out with CeeLo and his black leather shorts.

We threw down with Goodie Mob.

We heard some old stuff, some new stuff, and songs I didn't know CeeLo had written. We had a blast.

I would gladly pay to see CeeLo & Goodie Mob again, and I would love to see him back in Chattanooga.  And seriously y'all, BLANKET SEATING!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Riverbend 2013

Is it time for Riverbend already?  I think this mild spring has gotten to me, because I'm not nearly as prepared as I usually am.  This time last year, my pins were purchased, and my list of bands that I wanted to see was complete.

I'm not completely slack though, and for the first time in a long time, there are a good number of headliners that I want to go see.  CeeLo Green for in the world did we get CeeLo?  Have I mentioned that pins for the whole nine day festival are $32 right now??  And only go up to $45 on Friday??  CeeLo is worth $45, and you've also got Lynyrd Skynyrd.  I'm even a little pumped about O.A.R.  Why not?  It's like a free show that you know is going to be fun.  Plus, the main stage is a barge on the river, what's not to love??

So without further adu, or a ton of research, here is my list of what I'm most excited about for Riverbend 2013:
  1. CeeLo Green - Saturday, June 8th, 9:00pm Coke Stage (bio)
  2. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Thursday, June 13th, 10:00 pm, Coke Stage (bio)
  3. O.A.R. - Saturday, June 15th, 9:30 om, Coke Stage (bio)
  4. 10,000 Maniacs - Sunday, June 9th, 7:30pm, Bud Light Stage (bio)
  5. The Strut - Monday (info)
  6. Roger Alan Wade & Sparkle Motion - Wednesday, June 12th, 9:15 pm, TVFCU Stage (bio)
  7. Strung Like A Horse (local) - Thursday, June 13th, 9:15 pm, TVFCU Stage (bio)
  8. Psychedelic Furs - Wednesday, June 12th, 7:45 pm, Bud Light Stage (bio)
  9. Galactic Cowbow Orchestra - Friday, June 7th, 9:15, TVFCU Stage (bio)
  10. Florida Georgia Line - Friday, June 7th, 7:45 pm, Bud Light Stage  (bio)
  11. FIREWORKS - Saturday, June 15th, 11:00-ish pm, over the Tennessee River (Google image search)
Edit 6/7/13 - Apparently I missed a few bands.  Let me know who you would like me to add : ) 
  1. Moon Taxi - Friday, June 14th, 9:30 pm, TVFCU Stage (bio)
  2. Steel Pulse - Saturday, June 15th, 7:30 pm, Bud Light Stage (bio)
  3. Larry Carlton trio - Thursday, June 13th, 9:30 pm, Unum Stage (bio)
 And last, but not least is the food!  For better or for worse, Riverbend is known for the festival food.  If it's fried, you can find it.  If you want it on a stick, you can get it on a stick.  If you want it coated in sugar, by golly there is powdered sugar to be found.  Last year my favorite find was a Fried Green Tomato Burger & Fried Mac & Cheese from Funny Face Foods near the Bud Light Stage.  I'm crossing my greasy fingers that they'll be back again this year!

One thing I always recommend for Riverbend is Blanket Seating.  I think they're doing it again this year, but I'm not sure.  Its mentioned in the FAQ of the website, but not the admission part where they talk about the different seating options.  I've asked about it via twitter, and if I get a response I'll let you know....Anyway, if there is someone playing on the Coke Stage that you really want to see, the extra $10 per person is 100% worth it.  It has its own set of port a johns and concessions. You're a little below the stage, but you can actually spread out and enjoy the show.

Riverbend Information:

Pins: General Admission Pins can be purchased from May 1 - June 7 at midnight for $32 at local Kangaroo gas stations. Gate price starting June 8 is $45. One night wristbands are $26 and can be purchased at the entry gates. Senior citizen and military one night passes are discounted to $12.
Tokens: Festival tokens are valued at $.50 cents each, and are used for all food and beverage purchases. Token Centers are also located throughout the festival where they are sold at face value. Tokens are nonrefundable, but may be used at the 2014 Riverbend Festival. 

Parking: Plenty of paid parking is available throughout downtown Chattanooga. Shuttle buses will be available for $1 per ride from 6PM-12:15AM every night of the festival, except during the Bessie Smith Strut (Monday, June 13th). Parking is available at Finley Stadium and the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The shuttle will drop patrons off at the corner of 3rd and Bro ad Streets. 
Alcohol: Age verification wristbands are required for all alcoholic beverage consumption. Wristbands are available at all token and beer locations.  All alcohol sales will cease 15 minutes before the final show is scheduled to end. All other concessions will close when the last show is over. 
Blanket Seating: Bring a blanket and stretch out on the lawn in front of the Coca-Cola Stage for only $10 a person (per night) with your Riverbend admission pin. Wristbands available at the Main Gate located at Chestnut and 2nd Street, and at the entrance to the Blanket Seating area. (from 2012 website)
Boaters: Boaters can enter the festival through the Walnut Street Pier Gate, but admission pins must be purchased in advance.

Website | Facebook | @rbfestival

Last Year's Posts: bands & information, photoset 1 (music), photoset 2 (food)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Before I get to heavy into this story, I want you to know that it is a happy story.  Parts of it are sad, and the waterworks were full blast this past weekend, but the tears were all happy tears.

So let me tell you an amazing story.

My cousins in Virginia are the cousins I am closest to.  Our moms are sisters, and even though we lived two states away, we saw each other every summer growing up.  There are 4 of them, and their family is the best possible way.  They are laid back, welcoming, and above anything else, they go with the flow, or as some would say, roll with the punches.  All four of my cousins have distinct personalities, and this story is about the youngest of the group, Raleigh.  Her personality is the most laid back of them all, and I'll be honest and say that she is the most normal,grounded, and toughest of them all. (She was dropped & stepped by her siblings more than a few times as a child.)

When the oldest of the four cousins got married, Raleigh was introduced to a cousin of the groom, a special guy by the name of Lon.  He knew then that he was going to marry Raleigh.  Never mind that he was 28 with a girlfriend, and Raleigh was 17.  Lon has always been a very class act, so as fate would have it, his relationship did not last much longer, and he waited. Then, on Raleigh's 18th birthday he asked her father if it would be ok to date his daughter. He was polite and respectful, and my uncle said yes.  And as it says on their wedding website, they have been inseperable ever since.

Here's where the tears start.

**I'm going to preface this by saying my details may not be 100% accurate.  This is the version of events that I choose to keep in my mind. The only detail that really matters to me is that Lon & Raleigh got married this weekend.**

Twenty six months ago Lon was working and involved in an explosion.  He was in rural Virginia, in a place where there is normally no cell phone reception.  This is where the miracles start happening.

So somehow, someone was able to call 911, somehow there was a clearing in the woods close for helicopters to land, somehow there was morphine available very quickly, and somehow Lon was sent to the AMAZING burn unit in Richmond, where he would become a semi permanent fixture.  I can't imagine what that day was like.  A friend of a friend was working at the hospital when Lon came in, and all I've been told was that it was bad.  I'm not sure of the exact percentage, but Lon was burned over 90+% of his body.  He was wearing a welding helmet & boots, so his face & feet were the least burned.  It takes an amazing person, and an amazing team to survive that. Somehow that is exactly the group of people that gathered in Richmond. Somehow he survived.

I'm not going to talk much about the next 20 or so months.  All that matters is that Lon got the nickname Superman, his dog Cassie passed the therapy/service dog exam with flying colors, Raleigh graduated Suma Cum Laude from Virginia Tech, two families came together (and added A LOT of extended family), and Lon proposed to Raleigh. (That would be #tearfest2012 if anyone ever wants to hear that story.)

Fast forward to this past weekend.  Lon & Raleigh got married, and I don't think I have ever seen a happier couple.

Everything was perfect.  The weather, the well placed shade, the breeze.  

Lon has always been a quiet guy, but his face lights up when Raleigh is in the room.  This weekend , he was more animated that I have ever known him to be.  They were both so happy and excited, and I can't imagine ever being part of a more joyful celebration. in a more perfect setting.

The seated ceremony was performed by the chaplain who was on duty when Lon arrived at the hospital after his accident.  She met Raleigh that night, came to know Lon through her eyes, and was able to see their love firsthand as Lon began his recovery. There was not a dry eye anywhere near the ceremony.  Their vows were powerful, and included enough humor to keep the tears to a steady stream and not a noisy flood. 

After the ceremony, the bridal party came forward and formed a half circle in front of the newly weds.  A pair of silver Nike's had been discretely placed behind Lon's chair before the ceremony. Before they were even dating, Lon had been looking forward to the day that they would walk down the isle together as husband and wife.  After his accident, there was no question that they would become husband and wife, but no one knew if the whole part of the dream would come true....It did, and it was amazing.

Raleigh had her dress altered so that the skirt detached, and  the two of them received a standing ovation as they took their first steps, together and on their own, as husband & wife.  Again, not a dry eye anywhere close to the ceremony.  You could not help but feel the love and support of everyone present. 

The reception was a celebration, and merely a formality of joining two families that had already become one. The family present also included Lon's doctors and nurses from the hospital in Richmond, as well as the rehab facility he spent time in.

The best part about the reception was how perfectly normal it was.  For me, having not spent much time with Lon & Raleigh in the past two years, this fact made me exceedingly happy.  I didn't know what to expect, and what I saw was exactly what you want to see for your cousin - a couple undeniably in love, surrounded by people who will help them move mountains.

So the reception had the typical toasts and tears. There was the traditional cake cutting & face stuffing of cake.

The first dance was a mash up of Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You" & a slow country song that was also ridiculously appropriate...everybody cried.

The father daughter & mother son dances bought even more tears.

I even cried happy tears as Lon removed Raleigh's garter.  When one of my cousins started calling this wedding #tearfest2013, he wasn't kidding...but they were all tears of joy and celebration.

One of the coolest things about this wedding, more so than any other that I have been to, was the clarity of the foundation that was laid.  I have never been witness to a stronger foundation for a marriage, or two lives going forward.

So yeah, I cried like a little girl, but can you blame me?

Photo credit: the pictures are all iphone pictures, some are my own, and some are from my sister, the good one's are my sister's.
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