Out of the corner of my eye I could make out three, maybe four photographers snapping away. I think, although I did not look, if I would have looked up, I would have seen a boom mike.
“Did you come to Port Townsend just for this?” an excited voice asked. How could I break the news that we did even know what festival we were currently at.
So I replied, “Yes! We did!” with a huge smile and nod.
Just twenty minutes earlier Melissa and I had gotten off the Port Townsend ferry and entered the town with one purpose: to stock up on food before pitching our tent at the state park a few miles down the road. We rode down the town’s Norman Rockwell-ish main street while people (and I can’t say for certain if I imagined this or not) waved and smiled at us. The air of the town felt different. It felt . . . festive.
I had been concerned with looking to my right while riding through town, where we could see the cold gray water that we had just crossed. But in a quick glance down a side street to my left, I saw a flurry of action. There were twenty people in official looking matching t-shirts setting up rows of hay bales, which were being set to face an official looking stage. Others, to the back of the street, were setting up a massive buffet line under a grand white tent.
“Did you see that?! A festival!” I barely managed to shout as I whipped a u-turn (of course, in true Melissa fashion, she was oblivious to all of it.) I’ve been begging for a town festival as of late, so I was thrilled.
We walked our bikes through the buzz of activity and stopped at the back street corner, trying to figure out what was going on.
“Are you ladies here for the film festival?” a small, impeccably dressed older woman sporting a ‘Women for Obama’ button asked. Her question was followed by another person’s question (“Where are you two coming from?”), who was followed by another (“Bike tour, eh?”), who was followed by another (“All this way for the festival?”) until Melissa and I were surrounded by what seemed like 50 questioning townspeople and accompanying photographers and videographers.
For a minute, we were the main event at this festival. Questions were being asked rapid fire and we could barely answer them all, both of us holding four different conversations at once.
“Where are you staying?” no one in particular asked.
“Well you could probably stay at my dental office,” said another voice.
“Really?” I asked, racking my brain for what this man might have just said. . . . stay at my garage . . . ? extra office . . . ? guest room? I thought what he had just said started with a “D” and sounded like “dental”, but that couldn’t possibly be it. We’d never been offered a business to sleep in . . . let alone a dentist’s office. Or any place with needles and drills (or any other place the Melissa fears and avoids -- he might as well have said, “Here! Sleep in my airplane! While I fly through turbulence! And oh! My dentist is on board! Can he clean your teeth for you?!). Wait-- did he just offer us a place to stay at his dental office?!
He did! He totally did. He gave us a key and directions and sent us off. We dropped off our bikes (at the dentist’s office!) and attended the outside viewing of American Graffiti at the11th annual Port Townsend Film Festival.