I have volunteered as security for various festivals throughout Oregon for many years. It is a great way to enjoy expensive festivals in exchange for a few low pressure shifts. The job usually requires a strong knack for shepherding. Like sheep dogs, my security volunteers and I yap at the corners keeping festival attendees in the safe zone.
Most fairgoers are used to this technique. They stare at us blankly for a minute or 2 and then wander off to greener pastures. This group was a little different. Faery World attendees are not herd animals. I learned to disguise my sheep dog ways.
The Faerie World folk are dedicated to their costumes. I have never before seen so many fairy wings, unicorn horns and stovepipe hats assembled in one place. Any one without a costume was eyed with suspicion. As my son and I worked the gate in our jeans and staff t-shirts checking admission bracelets, a fair goernoted our lack of costumery and declared us “naked”. The addition of a lacy skirt to my security ensemble the next day seemed to appease the masses.
I am not a showy person. I don’t like costumes. I am impatient with the maintenance that dressing up requires. I am annoyed with stockings, I don’t like the smell of make up, and the one time I had to wear a corset for a play, I was ready to claw my way out of it by the final act. I have seen chihuahuas show more patience wearing a Halloween costume than I display.
Other than thier code of conduct at Fairy Worlds is quite civilized. There was a seemingly unending fountain of alcohol but very few drunks. Smokers, with a few notable exceptions, stuck to the road as the fire marshal demanded. Children are treasured. The fair offers a kid-friendly area complete with crafts, puppets, and a friendly giant with a foam mallet. Safety and respect for all participants is a top priority.
My job as a security ranger seemed to consist of finding lost children, giving rowdy participants a hug to mellow them out and saving smokers from forest service fines. The uniformed members of the Parks Department showed up Saturday night and started threatening to pass out $200 tickets for smoking anywhere but the road. This would make for some very angry fairies.
The security crew fanned out into the crowd. We approached each and every smoker to warn them to stick to the road. Any smoker that sniffed our inner sheep dog, became instantly defensive. We learned to refine our approach. We stuffed our herding techniques into tricorner hats and became pirates.
The smokers were our pirate crew. We stopped trying to shoo them to the road like sheep, instead we were protecting hidden treasure from the Park Service invaders. Our fellow pirates banded together and spread the word to the rest of the smokers.
“All hands on deck! Man your battle stations! Don’t let those dastardly park rangers reach for those ticket books!”
Our pirating ways won us smiles and saved a lot of fairies expensive headaches from the rangers. Next year, I might bring an eye patch. It will help disguise that inner sheep dog.