Saturday, October 02, 2004

Creme de la Cash

This weekend (October 2 and 3), downtown Celebration hosts the Creme de la Craft event, but in my case it's always more like Creme de la Cash. I can never make it through all the booths full of tantalizing wares without buying at least one (or two or three or four...) new decorations for my house.

This year, my new additions included two plaques for the wall next to our front door (I rotate them seasonally), created by a local artisan. I bought one of her plaques last year, and it held up very well against the elements, although it did come inside for the hurricanes. One of the new plaques is a generic autumn pumpkin design, but I couldn't resist the's a little painting of Barnie's, with the motto "A friendly place, Celebration, FL." As addicted as I am to their flavored beans, it's natural to hang a tribute to Barnie's on my porch.

We also bought two posters at the Celebration Foundation booth. My husband has deemed our front room "The Celebration Room," so we already have two prints with scenes from town in there, not to mention last year's cute little Celebration snow globe. The two new posters are in the same watercolor style as one of the others, and the color scheme of one will fit right in with the existing decor. The other is heavier on reds than yellows and blues, so it will go in the family room to offset the pervasive Disney theme back there.

But best of all was a plaque that we mounted above the address on our door frame. It has a little castle painted on it; technically, it's a sand castle, but if you squint a bit, it definitely evokes the Magic Kingdom. The thing I really like about it is that the artisan was able to personalize it, so it bears the name of our beloved home: Duloc Manor.

You might be thinking, "Okay, but don't you live in a triplex? Isn't it more than a bit pretentious to give such a grandiose title to such a humble abode?"

Perhaps, but it's just an example of my very cynical sense of humor. One of my all-time favorite movies is "Shrek," and my favorite part was when donkey and the title orge arrive in the town of Duloc. The main street is pristine and sparkling clean, with piped-in music and quaint souvenir shops. And who can forget the Small World-esque puppets singing that catchy little jingle:

Welcome to Duloc, such a perfect town,
Here we have some rules, let us lay them down,
Dont make waves stay in line, And we'll get along fine,
Duloc is the perfect place,
Please keep off of the grass, Shine your shoes, Wipe your....face,
Duloc is, Duloc is, Duloc is the perfect place.

The very first time I ever walked down Market Street, Celebration's main drag, I heard the Muzak wafting from the street speakers and noticed the squeaky-clean atmosphere and the tidy row of souvenir shops. I turned to my husband and said, "We're in Duloc!"

The name stuck as an inside joke between the two of us, probably because we quickly decided that Celebration was the "perfect place" for us. We referred to our future house as "Duloc Manor" even before we selected it. For the brief time when we thought we'd be moving into a condo, we referred to it by that name like expectant parents who have already christened their unborn baby.

Once we found our triplex, the name seemed even more appropriate. We had originally selected a condo because we thought that's all we could afford, even though I longed for a front porch and a back yard. When we found a place that offered both of those things, and in a price range that we could actually manage, we knew that it was truly the "perfect place."

Now the rest of the world will know it, too, or at least the ones who wander into our corner of East Village and happen to look at my address. I doubt that anyone will understand what it means unless they read this blog, but my home will always be stately and majestic "Duloc Manor" to me.

Anyway, since we hadn't had lunch yet, we grazed among the offerings at the various food booths. Whenever there is an event downtown, my husband makes a beeline for the Columbia and a glass of ice cold, refreshing sangria. He also purchased some of their garlic shrimp...delicious! And for him, no downtown event is complete without picking up some spicy tuna rolls at the Seito booth.

I opted for clam chowder from the Town Tavern, since the Plantation Room didn't have a booth (they have exquisite crab cakes). The sloppy Joes being served by Max's (Market Street Cafe) looked good, but the soup managed to tempt me away. The chowder was very hearty, with plenty of potatoes and clams. It was served in a cute little plastic "mug" with a handle, which made it easy to sip as we strolled around the booths. I topped it off with bubble gum ice cream and freshly-squeezed lemonade from Herman's.

I also sought out the "Orlando Sentinel" booth. They always attend our local events, and they hand out colorful pens and notepads. I would be totally lost without my brightly colored pen and "Orlando Sentinel" paper near the phone. As usual, I was able to stock up on my favorite goodies. They also raffle a gift basket, but so far I've never had any luck with that.

The downtown events are one of the things that I love about Celebration. It's so neat to spend a Saturday afternoon strolling among the craft booths and pausing to have a snack while sitting on the lakefront. I have my fingers crossed that Lexin, the company that bought the downtown from Disney, will continue to hold these traditional events. Founders Day is coming up in November, so I'm anxious to see how this year's festivities will compare to last year's.

Even though the "great dog controversy" is still raging on the Front Porch intranet, it didn't seem to be affecting Barnie's. My husband and I stopped in for some iced coffee and fresh beans, and there were two or three dogs in the outside seating area. They didn't seem to be mauling anyone or jumping and drooling on the patrons, and I didn't see any health officials lurking behind the trees.

As a matter of fact, we saw quite a few dogs in general at the craft show. They are not banned from downtown, just from the patio dining areas, and I was glad to see that people were still bringing their canine friends along. I enjoy stopping to pet a dog every now and then. No matter what kind of mood I'm in, I can't help but smile when I'm patting the head of a tail-wagging pooch.

Oh well, perhaps I'm naive. Perhaps the child on our town seal is not biking with her dog tagging along behind her. Perhaps she's actually fleeing in terror from Max's, and the hell hound is chasing her after devouring the hamburger that he snatched right off her plate. But happily, this afternoon the dog owners and non-dog owners seemed to be getting along peacefully.

As the afternoon wears into evening at Duloc Manor, I am busy putting up my new decorations. I love changing with the season, and summer has somehow slipped into fall. The love bugs are back, infesting my porch, the days are growing shorter, and the craft festival has once again come to town. I have some new decor and a new stock of "Orlando Sentinel" pens. Life is good!

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My Celebration website can be found at:


Carol said...

Hi, I'm from Brazil and I'm going to Orlando in October. Do you know if the fair "Creme de la Creme" will happens this year too?
Thanks a lot!

Barb said...

Here are the URLs to find out about scheduled events: