Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I mark the progression of summer in two ways: the state of my garden and Madison’s series of summer festivals. Currently, my garden is overrun with weeds, fairly dry and bearing cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and beans. The larger tomatoes and peppers are not ripe yet, and seeds for fall greens are waiting to be planted (that’s partly because I keep forgetting, I admit).
Last weekend I went to one of my favorite Madison festivals, Africa Fest. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my summer because, as many of you know, I love African music and dance. And once again WADOMA (the dance group I founded with my husband) performed in the heat of the evening, making the festivities that much more enjoyable. Not that it is hard to enjoy an African party. The music was live and loud. Talented performers showcased the diversity of dance and music styles from all over Africa and the Caribbean.
The food was incredible, too. Many of Madison’s acclaimed African and Caribbean restaurants were represented, such as Jamerica, and Buraka. Food choices ranged from the ever-popular peanut sauce (mafe) with chicken, to seasoned rice and vegetables, to jerk tofu. I ordered both mafe and grilled chicken with a pepper sauce from Africana restaurant, which served food from its brand new food cart. Fatu cheerfully handed me two heaping plates of delicious food from behind the cart’s glass window as my husband and children descended hungrily upon me. Tasting the savory food and listening to the drum rhythms made for an effortless afternoon tour through West and East Africa to the Caribbean.
Africa Fest, which takes place at Warner Park every August, also signifies that summer is waning, and fall is around the corner. There are a few more festivals to go, providing much needed celebratory send-offs into the cold months ahead.
Be sure to check out Orton Park Festival, August 28-30; Taste of Madison, September 5 & 6; Willy Street Fair, September 19 & 20; and Food for Thought Festival with Keynote Speaker Michael Pollan, September 26. Enjoy sampling music and food from numerous talented artists and notable Madison restaurants. I’ll see you there – unless I’m buried in weeds and ripe tomatoes!