Taste of Fort Collins Felix Wong

There are few days I enjoy more than the second weekend of June in Fort Collins, and it is not just because the days are long and the nights are warm. It is, in fact, largely due to the annual Taste of Fort Collins, not that I ever eat all that much food at the festival. Instead, it’s because in exchange for a modest entrance fee, Fort Collinsers are treated to world-class popular music sung by nationally known bands.

There’s also always an eating contest.

Let me talk about that first. The food guzzler competition was dominated by a tall skinny dude who methodically downed three pounds’ worth of hamburger, bread and condiments (in that particular order) in five minutes. I’m not sure if he regurgitated any of this afterward, but it was impressive not just how he could gorge on this stuff so skillfully, but that he managed to gain over three pounds in less time it would take you to read this blog post.

Regarding the music, Everclear performed on Saturday and Mat Kearney sang on Sunday. I went with my buddy Tim on Saturday, and the two of us were joined by Kelly on Sunday.

While I can’t say I had heard many of the musicians’ songs in advance, I did spend the weekend with their songs playing in the background at home in advance of their concerts. As Tim later realized, it greatly enhanced one’s enjoyment of the concerts to be able to recognize songs that were being sung live.

Everclear brought a lot of positive energy with an excellent performance, but I enjoyed Mat Kearney’s concert even more. In addition to walking through the audience and dispensing hugs while singing a song, he displayed wit and humor in between songs and altered the lyrics to reference Fort Collins, the state of Colorado and the recently started High Park wildfire looming in the distance.

Indeed, it was an odd juxtaposition of thousands of Fort Colliners in a festive, party mood with a sky that was red and a dark, apocalyptic smoke cloud that blanketed the city. Surreal for sure.

It did, however, make singing about “there’s a fire in these hills that’s coming down” in “Nothing Left to Lose” seem completely appropriate.

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Fort Collins: where even the mayor attends an Everclear rock concert and gives a speech while holding a beer in her handThe Everclear concert was great! (June 9, 2012)Everclear singing an encore. (June 9, 2012)Scion FR-S.Toyota Prius C.Scion IQ.  It is the same size as a Smart car but has four seats.An officially licensed John Deere cruiser that was purchased at Full Cycles.  Very cool!Kids in air bubbles in a giant pool.  Note the orange sky due to smoke from the High Park Fire.Spun Potatoes.Bringing out the 3-lb. hamburgers for the eating contest.There were nine participants in the 3-lb hamburger eating contest, including one girl ("Beef Master").  The guy at the very right dominated, finishing his burger in five minutes.Matt Kearney singing "Where We Wanna Go From Here."Sweetie Kelly and my best guy friend Tim.Matt Kearney singing "Breathe In Breathe Out."Me and Kelly.Felix, Kelly and Tim.Matt Kearney went into the crowd during one of the songs to give folks a handshake or a hug.Matt Kearney just meters away.The smoke cloud above from the High Park Fire looked like it had a smiley face while Matt Kearney sang his encore of "Dawn."

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