Tehee: Wide-ranging weekend, from sports to film to poetry to beer

FresnoApril 23, 2014 

In a 2007 file photo, under the direction of Brian Gleser, right, owner of Harmony Enterprises Tie-Dyes, Kris Roderick, left, with daughter Shera, takes down a tye-die peace banner they bought the Vintage Days.

JOHN WALKER — THE FRESNO BEE

This is the weekend it all happens.

Sure, "Wicked" has left town, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" opens next week and Bruno Mars isn't until May, but if you're looking for a microcosm of all the Valley's entertainment, this weekend has it. A quick check list includes:

-- Two long-standing events from two long-lived institutions.

Fresno State's Vintage Days and Clovis Rodeo have 150 years of tradition between them.

-- Two off-the-wall fringe sporting events.

Fresno's original roller derby team, NOtown, hosts a home bout Saturday at Fresno Fairgrounds, while the Pedal Junkies bicycle crew brings the two-day Smack in Da Middle bike polo tournament to Cary Park.

-- One film festival.

The Fresno Film Festival runs through Sunday at Tower Theatre and celebrates its 10th anniversary.

-- One poetry festival.

Twenty-five of Fresno's best poets will read one poem each Saturday at Mia Cuppa Cafe.

-- One beer festival.

The Visalia Craft Beer Festival starts 1 p.m. Saturday at Mooney Grove Park. It benefits the Craft Beer Coalition, which preserves the unique history and culture of craft beer.

-- One makers fair.

Not to be confused with last weekend's official Mini Makers Faire, Fresno Ideaworks Day happens Sunday at Chukchansi Park. It's the same create-your-own-world spirit.

-- One parking lot party.

There's also everyone's favorite fundraiser party, Springtini, which happens Saturday night at the Park Place shopping center and has a special twist this year — a national touring artist — Andy Grammer — to headline the event.

Remember, people once thought of Fresno as an entertainment wasteland. Even those that knew better had a hard time fighting the sentiment. To this day, you will hear stray comments bemoaning Fresno's entertainment options.

Of course, humans are selfish and those who complain should be more specific, because they don't mean there's nothing to do. They mean: There's nothing they want to do.

That's fair enough.

Not everyone is going to be excited by rodeo action or the cowboy way of life.

An equal number might find bike polo or roller derby a tad too hipster.

A poetry festival might seem too high brow.

A beer festival might seem too low brow — even if it is "craft" beer.

But this weekend, those are all viable choices.

That's worth mentioning, because these events offer an authentic showcase of our area's cultural offerings. They also stand as an example of the things we in the Valley do well.

There is a reason the rodeo has survived for 100 years and is being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in August. Bike polo (and poetry festivals for that matter) is expected in metropolitan cities, where sheer numbers means it will get picked up by the subculture underground. Here they survive because organizers are willing to put in the hard work to see that they do.

Also, because as Fresnans, we appreciated our entertainment, naysayers notwithstanding

This columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6479, jtehee@fresnobee.com or @joshuatehee on Instagram and Twitter.

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