If there’s one thing Ann Arbor-ites love, it’s a weird event. I imagine it would be difficult in most other small cities for an art professor to launch a large-scale papier-mâché puppet parade and see it thrive as FestiFools has in Ann Arbor. FestiFools has only been around since 2007, after University of Michigan professor Mark Tucker returned from a trip to Italy with a big idea—to get art students and artsy locals to build their own oversized puppets and parade them around town on an early spring Sunday afternoon. The FoolMoon luminary parade is even younger—in 2011 festival organizers added the luminary parade on the Friday night before FestiFools. And it’s not just luminary parade, it’s a block party complete with live music, snacks and performance art.
Wednesday was so sunny and so beautiful and so freezing cold that I did what any sane Ann Arborite would and went straight to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens after work. As a kid, I used to go the gardens with my cousins every winter, and somehow that tradition has carried over into adulthood.
(I wrote this piece for the Ann Arbor blog Damn Arbor. Read the whole post here.)
The Ann Arbor Aviary is the perfect example of what’s great about Ann Arbor. You wouldn’t expect to find a gym specializing in the “aerial arts”— which include aerial silks, trapeze and lyra—in a city of this size, but there it is, next door to a storage facility out past the airport. For the record, they also offer other classes like belly dancing, and burlesque performance, and at one time, something called a “Twerkshop” for anyone needing professional instruction in that area.
I took a vacation day and went to Matthaei Botanical Gardens to soak up some warmth and humidity and pretend to be somewhere much further south.