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Remembering Mariposa

I don't remember when we heard of it, The Mariposa Folk Festival, but with our collective consciousness in sync, we all decided that this was something we couldn't miss. It's still a mystery to me as to how I managed to secure us a room in the '70s, an age of no internet or google, but I did. I booked a double room with 2 single beds at The Windsor Arms Hotel on St. Thomas St. in Toronto.

David, Valerie, Alan and myself loaded up David's VW bus and off we went to Mariposa, one of several annual trips to this great festival. Clearing the border we continued the four hour drive to Toronto. Upon arrival at the hotel Valerie and I checked in and David and Alan waited in the VW until we got settled then they joined us in the room. This was subterfuge. We snuck them in, but hey, this was the early '70s.

We cleaned up and started touring Yorkville and other neighborhoods. We oohed and ahhed at the wonderful exhibits in The Royal Ontario Museum,  which at the time had the most amazing collection of Chinese art and artifacts. We sampled various cuisines and explored Chinatown.

Back in our hotel room we split the mattresses and lined them up on the floor so there were 4 beds instead of 2. In the morning we had a shower problem so we called for repairs and quickly re-assembled the mattresses. David and Alan snuck out the window, the Windsor Arms at that time was only 2 stories high and we were on the first floor, lol. The repair made, we showered and began our trek to the festival, taking the subway to Union Station and finally the ferry to Centre Island.


The air was festive and the signs posted "Please Walk On The Grass" were welcoming. We got some Labatts and sat to take in our surrondings. Music seemed to be coming from everywhere. We started wandering around the many workshops and mingled with the crowd and performers. The music was The music was fantastic. Banjoes, guitars, horns, harmonicas on and on forever memories.

In the several years we attended we saw: Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, John Prine and many other known and lesser known musicians. We stupidly managed to miss Leon Redbone and Bob Dylan because we took the ferry back too early.

We had been fastidious in making sure there were no stray joints, psychedelics or other paraphernalia on our persons or in the van. We headed back to the border weary and satisfied US Customs gave us a thorough smackdown. They tossed the VW and our personal effects and found a syringe. Well, we hadn't thought of that! David was a diabetic and took insulin. Oops! They ran us through criminal databases and finally accepted the truth about the syringe. All things considered: Mariposa was a fantastic music experience.
martysmax martysmax 61-65, F Jan 21, 2013

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