“Camas Vintage & Art Street Faire, Camas, WA, USA” by Richard F. Yates

Last Saturday (25 Aug. 2018), Mariah and I decided NOT to spend our mutual day off watching television, and instead we hit the freeway for an adventure in the mythical land of Camas, Washington! (Home, according to local legends, of the mysterious Lacamas Lake monster, “Squish-Squish.”)

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But before leaving our town, we had to run a few errands: 1. Get Richard F. Yates a haircut (because he was starting to look like a short, round hippie—or a hobbit—neither being a good thing.) 2. Get Richard F. Yates’s voice-mail fixed on his phone. I’ve had the damn phone for over a year and never figured out how to make the voice-mail work. (Now that it’s fixed, I HATE IT. I definitely liked it better when folks COULDN’T leave messages… I’ve even had to call someone BACK, which made me feel all icky. Misanthropes should not own phones with voice-mail…) 3. Get Mariah a coffee…

Our errands completed, we mounted the freeway and drove like the Dickens. We encountered a few sprinkles on our journey south, but the roads never really got wet, and by the time we reached Camas, the Sky God’s had stopped teasing us and let the day remain rain free.

For this event, the city planners closed a few streets in downtown Camas and filled them with vendors and food carts and plenty of exciting “products.” This was our first visit to Camas, but both Mariah and I were impressed by the turn-out and the materials on view. Mariah, in particular, loves antique shopping (more for getting ideas for stuff to make than anything else,) but there were numerous booths that also had handmade crafts and independently produced art objects. I snapped a couple of photos of some particularly interesting items (interesting to me anyway…)

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We also met a very nice, very funny lady, named June, who made some cool Halloween and Christmas décor. We chatted with her for quite a while, actually talking more about the Kite Festival at Long Beach, Washington, (which we missed again this year) and camping than anything else. June was hilarious, and we bought a couple of her little, vintage-styled Halloween decorations.

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(June warned us that her website isn’t particularly up to date, but if you’re into supporting artists who are also good people, give her work a look!)

About this time, Mariah and I started getting hungry, and as per tradition, we located a Mexican restaurant and had some food. (I even spotted an interesting piece of art in the restroom, a tryptic on little chunks of canvas board, mounted on cardstock. I thought it was cool.)

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After lunch, we returned to wandering the street faire and just enjoying the atmosphere. Oddly enough, we spotted a “Liberty” Theater, that is still functioning as a theater! And we began to wonder: How many “Liberty” theaters were there? There used to be one in Longview, there’s still one in Astoria, Oregon, apparently one in Ridgefield, and now one in Camas? Was this a chain at one time??? And, inexplicably, there was a diagram outside this particular theater teaching people how to “Cha Cha” dance… (Which I found funny.)

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Eventually, we saw the entirety of the street faire, it was about four blocks in diameter, and we decided that we weren’t quite ready to leave yet, so we stepped into an antique shop to do a bit more sight-seeing. (The place was very crowded and hot and made us both feel claustrophobic—but before panicking and leaving, we did find some fascinating items, which we would have purchased if they weren’t “vintage” priced!)

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All good things must come to an end, but we also must rage against the dying of the light, so although we took our leave of Camas at that point, instead of going home, we headed for Vancouver, WA, with some vague thoughts of hitting a gallery that was having a 10th anniversary celebration that day. It was still over an hour until the party was supposed to start, however, so we located a little coffee/crepe shop, called Mon Ami, and had a confection, partially to kill time and partially because we like sweets. The atmosphere was cool, with lots of art on the walls by local artists, and the shop attendants were all cheerful and helpful. (And the cinnamon and sugar crepe was great!)

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Next we hit a record store (where I GASPED at the prices they were charging for vinyl—apparently, I’m sitting on about a million dollars worth of records in my collection! I had no idea!!!) and then we trotted a few doors over to I Like Comics, where we each found a book. About this time, the gallery celebration was underway—but we came to the conclusion that we were tired and over-stimulated, so we decided to get back on the freeway and head north instead of stopping for another chunk of excitement. We aren’t really much for parties, anyway, and GALLERY parties are some of the roughest. (I know. I attended ONE such shindig in Olympia, WA, when I was represented by Matter! Gallery, and it was not the most fun I’d ever had. Even though I was part of the gallery, I felt like a second class citizen because I was primarily a 2D artist (painting and drawing on paper and canvas), NOT a REAL artist (sculpture is where it’s at—much more impressive than a silly drawing…) Fuck that.

So we jumped back on the freeway and headed for home—with a minor detour at a local department store to pick up a certain superhero film (with about a million characters in it.) While perusing the store—we were hoping to look at the Halloween decorations, but they weren’t out yet—we spotted THIS:

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It’s brilliant, and I’m surprised that it took this many decades for someone to finally make a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game. It seems like such a natural idea. I took a photo of the game and sent it to my older daughter to let her know that the game existed, and she sent me a message back saying that she already OWNED a copy… Once again, I’m behind the times… (Oh well!)

Anyway, Mariah and I had a great time on our adventure. We got to explore a fun, little city that we’d never been to before, had some good food, and we got to spend some quality time together doing something besides passively absorbing someone else’s entertainment products. (We ACTIVELY absorbed other folk’s products—which is better, right?) Interestingly, most of what we did was pretty cheap, just gas and a little physical effort were all this trip COULD have cost, and it still would have been fun. In fact, we spent more money on FOOD than anything else, and that was completely our prerogative! (If we’d brought sandwiches, or if we’d had food from a fast-food dollar menu, we could have gotten through the entire trip for less than $30 or $40 bucks…) My point is that there are lots of fun things to do in this world that don’t cost an arm and a leg, AND we both found some images and ideas that have inspired a couple of future projects of our own! And, of course, it’s good just to hang out with our friends and loved ones. Make those memories while you may! After all, Winter is Coming… Later skaters.

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)

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About richardfyates

Compulsive creator of the bizarre and absurd. (Artist, writer, poet, provocateur...)
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