This weekend was an annual festival called Fall for Greenville.
It's one of those sample-all-the-restaurants events that had 60 or 70 participants set up in booths for several blocks of Main Street. A block or so of several side streets was also barricaded with tents or sound stages.
No telling how many people show up for this thing, but, at times, you could barely squeeze through the mass of humanity getting from one tent to the next.
I ventured out of Soby's on Friday night to listen to the Piedmont Boys on one of the stages. They are a local rockabilly band that I've wanted to see almost since moving here. By the time I walked the three blocks with a few friends, I was ready to drop kick a baby bird. The band, though, was worth the effort.
I don't even go to a mall during Christmas-shopping season because I don't like crowds. Fall for Greenville simply isn't my kind of event.
Having said that, I spent most of Saturday there, too.
My usual Friday night hangout, the aforementioned Soby's, put out a call for volunteers to help work its booth. I like Soby's and have pitched in there for other events; although not in any official capacity. This time, though, I signed up.
I was on the first of Saturday's shifts. The event opened at 11 AM; I was scheduled to work the booth from 10:30 until 2:30.
After getting signed in and receiving my official Soby's t-shirt, I got a quick tutorial in plating barbeque sliders, one of the five dishes we were serving. That was my station for the next three and a half hours.
I had to mix the pulled pork with the homemade barbeque sauce in a big warmer. I'd take a plate and open two slider buns on it. Using tongs, I would pile pulled pork on each bun, close them up and stick them, plate and all, in a second warmer. When one of the people taking the tickets -- you had to trade cash for tickets and then spend the tickets at the various booths -- got an order for sliders, they would yell it out. I would then dip into the warmer with already plated sliders and hand them to the order taker.
It was all sunshine and rainbows until the lunch crush. Then I looked like a modern-day version of Lucy and Ethel trying to work the assembly line at the candy factory.
The order takers were yelling for sliders; my reserve of pre-plated sliders disappeared; and I was plating as the orders came ringing in. Well, almost. It was more like I was plating two or three orders behind what was coming in.
Pulled pork was flying all over the place and buns were rolling off the plates onto the ground. Finally the kid at the creamed-corn station -- creamed corn apparently not a huge seller -- began putting the buns on the plates for me and I still struggled.
Eventually, another set of tongs arrived and he also began making the sandwiches. Finally things slowed down and sanity returned.
That I was on the slider station was kismet of some sort. Barbeque sliders used to be on Soby's appetizer menu, but disappeared about 18 months ago and no amount of complaining has brought them back. I have been on a mission to get them returned.
Apparently the head chef has dug in his heels and refuses to entertain our repeated requests.
He was running the tent that morning and I just couldn't resist popping off about the regrettable slider situation. I went on a short break for lunch and of course had a couple of sliders. As I was heading for a spot to wolf down my lunch, I paused next to the head chef and said, "I am having the sliders for lunch because we just can't seem to get them back on the menu."
His only response was a cold stare. Geesh, get a sense of humor for the love of God.
It was another Fall for Greenville for the record books.