Monday, September 18, 2006

My First Traffic Jam in Downtown Lincolnton

I experienced my first Lincolnton traffic jam on Saturday And it wasn't because of an accident. Or a lane closed down for construction. No. Our little town of 10,000 found itself flooded with visitors from all over the area (some coming from as far as 2 - 3 hours away) to celebrate the Lincoln County Apple Festival.
Yes - for a few hours on Saturday our sleepy little town turned into quite the buzzing metropolis (or at least a buzzing fairground).

Sadly - we (mostly) missed the actual festival. I know, you are wondering how I could miss such a large happening in such a small town. But it's not my fault. I knew the Apple Festival was on Saturday and I planned on attending. But I assumed it would last all day and well into the night. At least until 9 or 10 o'clock. I pictured a band playing out on the Courthouse Square. Maybe some fireworks.

Silly me. The Lincolnton Apple Festival lasted exactly 7 hours from 9am to 4pm. And I didn't figure that out til after 1pm when I had already encountered the traffic disaster AND I was unshowered and still in my running clothes.

Our run in with the festival related traffic came when Marty and I headed downtown at around noon to drop some mail off at the post office. I knew the Festival was going on so instead of heading straight downtown, I thought I'd take a back road and cut across Flint Street. Clever me. And clever 50 other people. You couldn't turn right on Main Street (7 whole blocks - a significant area in downtown Lincolnton - were closed off for the event) so there was a major logjam of cars as people tried to contemplate where to turn.

We inched along slowly until we finally got to a stop sign right before Main. We turned right and headed down the narrow street. Cars were parked on either side and in every available lot. Many commercial lots threatened towing if you parked their for the festival.

Marty and I actually covered the blocks we needed to get close enough to the post office. We pulled into a bank parking lot and I left Marty (still in his jammies) in the truck in case an overzealous bank employee was on duty and threatened to have us towed. Meanwhile I crossed through a crowd of people and a cornucopia of fair food smells (turkey legs, fresh corn on the cob, funnel cake) and made my way across Main Street to the drop box.

Then back through the throng and to the truck where we sat in another mess of traffic - all people trying to figure out how to get close to Main Street street while we tried to make our escape.

The whole excursion - which should have taken 15 minutes - took upwards of 45.

So while we missed the Apple Festival, we got a taste of the traffic.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...