Downtown West Palm Beach is a terrific place for outdoor activities. For example, every May the city hosts SunFest, an art and music festival along the Intracoastal waterfront that lasts the better part of a week. There’s a juried art show and performances by local bands and national acts, too. We’ve seen performers like Train, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and last year, we missed Kid Rock but caught the Dropkick Murphys.
And because for every Yin there is a Yang, each October the city celebrates MoonFest, a free one-night Halloween bacchanalia that shuts down several blocks of Clematis Street. Costumed revelers enjoy live music by local bands on the handful of stages placed along the way in the middle of the street and there are vendors selling everything from beads to t-shirts to alcohol. There’s a costume contest and the bars and clubs have special indoor events as well.
Mr. R. and I have enjoyed ourselves at a few MoonFests in our day. Who doesn’t love to dress up in costume and barhop with thousands of your closest friends, listen to all kinds of music, and, let’s face it, drink a little?
One year, Mr. R., who at the time was sporting the shaved head look, painted his whole head orange and black, and went as Jack Lantern, International Gourd of Mystery. I went as a dark fairy. Word to the wise–if you plan to join throngs of people out on a crowded street, deep-six the fairy wings. You could put out someone’s eye with those things.
Several years ago, on our last excursion to MoonFest, Mr. R. went as a Chili Miner (if you keep up with the news, you can figure out just how long ago that was) and I went as a drunk flapper. Well, I didn’t start out that way. It’s just sort of how it ended up. Probably those last five shots had something to do with it.
We haven’t made it out to MoonFest since then, though. It’s not because we didn’t have a good time–we had a blast. But MoonFest changed after that Halloween. Apparently, at some point after we staggered on home, there was some kind of a ruckus and somebody ended up getting hurt.
Enter the nannies (don’t get me started) who “just want to keep it safe for the public.” It’s no longer a free event. Not that it’s super expensive, it’s about $10 a ticket. But it’s irksome that you need a ticket at all. Because all that $10 gets you is in. You still have to buy your food and drinks, and you still have to pay covers at the bars and clubs.
Additionally, of course, how do the powers that be make sure that everyone attending the event has a ticket? They erect fencing and gates all around the area. MoonFest has lost it’s ‘block party’ feel, which for me was a huge part of its appeal. Now it’s just another money-making event for the city of West Palm Beach.
Why can’t we have anything nice?!