Yep, just down the road a few miles you can hear fiddles and accordions and guitars and all sorts of down-home musical instruments entertaining folks who have come from miles around.  They’re all listening and playing music down at the 33rd annual Aura Jamboree. 

We’ve been volunteering at this event for more years than you can count on two hands.  In the past I have worked in the kitchen selling bratwursts and sloppy joes, but last year I decided to change strategies and work at the front booth selling admission pins.  For the cost of only $10 (if you’re over age eighteen) you can get pin made out of actual handmade wood, with the bark still on the edges.  That gains you access to the Jamboree for two whole days.

My shift was from 2 to 4 p.m. this year.  I figured this qualified as an outdoor adventure.  Even though, technically, you’re in a small little shack with a door.  If you don’t think it qualifies, I did spend time outdoors afterward trying to find some photos for this blog.

Here is the admissions booth across the way, so you can see where I spent my time:

Admissions booth.  That will be $10 please.

Admissions booth. That will be $10 please.

A fine and dedicated group of local people make the Aura Jamboree a success each year.  They meet and plan out the event, contact the musicians, coordinate the volunteers and a whole lot more.  It takes a lot of work to make a weekend like this a success.

The Aura Community Hall (where the Jamboree is held)

The Aura Community Hall (where the Jamboree is held)

The “main show” takes place inside the hall.  But it’s a lot of fun on the outside.  Impromptu groups of musicians gather together to jam and strum and sing.  Sometimes people start to dance.  There was a fine rollicking dance going on while I was selling admission pins.  Unfortunately, it was impossible to leave and take a picture.

Three guys just jamming

Three guys just jamming

The expressions on faces show how much fun everyone is having.  You can buy beer or popcorn or bottled waters.  The pasties (Upper Peninsula’s famous meat pies filled with meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and rutabaga) come in later in the afternoon.  There’s a rush for the kitchen to buy your pasties.  Don’t be late or you’ll miss them!

More jamming

More jamming

Still more jamming

Still more jamming

Way back on the hill these two sat on the grass, strumming away

Way back on the hill these two sat on the grass, strumming away

And if you're not jamming or strumming, you're listening to the music

And if you're not jamming or strumming, you're listening to the music

I guess one of the best parts of the Jamboree is meeting up with folks you haven’t seen in awhile.  My friend Susan and I lamented that we hadn’t even seen each other in months and months and months.  When we only live about seven miles apart.  Then Kemmy and I caught up…and Mary…and Nancy…  Well, you get the picture.  A whole lot of talking goes on along with that fiddlin’!

Whitewater and the Augustines teem up beneath an outdoor tent. They're good!

Whitewater and the Augustine Family team up beneath an outdoor tent. They're good!

You wouldn’t believe how cool it was there this afternoon.  As in, chilly.  The temperature didn’t reach 60 degrees.  The sun went incognito and refused to shine.  Two years ago we baked around 90 degrees.  Some of us were trying to figure out which was worse (or better).  Hot or cold?  I’m casting a vote for somewhere in between for next year.

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