Thursday evening I dropped my daughter off downtown for Columbia's Twilight Festival. Since this would be the second to the last of the festivals I decided to walk around town and see what was going on. The first thing I noticed was the number of people walking around, a lot less then in previous Twilight evenings. The other thing I noticed was the number of music venues were reduced to a decent level that did not crowd the airwaves with unnecessary noise. There were still enough people and musical acts to attract a decent crowd but with 9th Street not being closed, the sidewalks were full. Most of the teenagers were congregating in Peace Park and there seemed to be fewer gangs of young people running around harassing everyone. And with the weather being clear and cool the evening my walk downtown was quite nice.
I walked all the streets to get a feel for the crowd which seemed happy but sparse in some areas. There were very few information booths set up and only a handful of people handing out flyer's. My first stop was Gumby's to say hello to a friend who is the evening manager. Gumby's is over the now famous Sapphire Lounge which has been in the news lately for unruly crowds and people taking pot shots at police. The lounge was closed so I had a beer at Gumby's, an ice cold Negra Modelo from Mexico. They only charged two bucks which is a great price. All of the customers in Gumby's seemed like Junior High students there for the cheap pizza. They kept looking my way like I was a plain clothes cop or a dirty old man. My friend was busy so I left after one beer. I soon ran into a old Columbia College school mate of mine. We talked politics for a good half hour with strangers joining in or just listening. I had conversations with the Libertarians and the Obama workers of which I changed my positions several times to see what theirs were.
Around 8PM I went to Smoking Chicks BBQ on 9th Street to get a sandwich. I highly recommend their pulled pork sandwich as it was tender and flavorful but not too smokey. I liked their Cole slaw which has horseradish in it but it was dry and could be a little creamier. After eating I walked the streets one more time to see what was going on. Little bands of young people were showing up so I decided it was time to leave. I used to enjoy the Twilight Festivals but it became a hassle dealing with the rude kids and at the time of this writing I do not know if I will go to the last one this next Thursday. I am sure Columbia will come up with something new to entertain it's populace.