Last month, the girls and I packed up our camping gear and headed south to Wilmore, Kentucky. What’s in Wilmore? Well, actually, a friend of mine lives there (I didn’t get to see her though) and there’s a college…oh, and an IGA straight out of 1965. Once a year, a bunch of big empty fields in Wilmore become home to thousands of campers (most of whom are happy) for what is known as Ichthus Festival. Pronounced ick-thoose (as opposed to itch-thoose- which is how my Garmen says it.) Ichthus is the greek word for fish, and is the name for all those little fish symbols you see on good Christian cars. For the record…I don’t have one. For a history lesson on the symbol, you can go here.
While the girls and I enjoy a nice camping trip with some fishing, that wasn’t what this festival is all about. Ichthus is 4 days of concerts and speakers. The camping at festivals is not like camping in the woods or at a state park. Basically, it’s shelter so you can not die of heat stroke, and maybe get a few hours of sleep a night. Good times…and not for the faint of heart. My husband, who does not care for camping or music nearly as much as I do, used the excuse of not having vacation time to stay home. Whatever. The girls and I do what we want and have lots of fun over the summer, and if he can get the time off to join us, great! If he can’t, we’re still having fun.
One of the main reasons I decided on this festival as opposed to others around the country was that one of my online friends was going to be attending as well. More than attending actually. Her husband is the grounds manager for the event, and worked VERY hard the whole time. I’d never met the Gambrell family in person, but Shelly and I had been friends through email, facebook, and texts for months. They made it very easy for me. All I had to do was show up. The main gates opened to the public on Wednesday morning, but due to whom I was camping with, the girls and I arrived on Tuesday. It was neat to see the prep work and the behind-the-scenes goings on at a big outdoor event like that. Claude had already set up a tent for us, and they would be staying in their camper. Many people wondered why I would camp with virtual strangers. I mean, they could have been lying about being a nice family and been serial killers or something. But no, they were the very nice family I thought them to be! They are amazingly gracious and I dare anyone to try to outgive or outlove this family.
That first day we arrived a storm was on it’s way in, so we ended up having to lay the tent flat, and put coolers and weights on it, and hunker down in their air-conditioned camper. I know, we had it rough. The storm hit and passed over, leaving a very wet tent that Marissa and had to dry out with many towels, only to find out that another storm was on it’s way. Swell. Their suggestion wast that we just stay in the camper with them. A little awkward considering I’d only known them (in person) for a few hours. Some of their friends from Michigan were also arriving Tuesday night, and they were going to have to cram in the camper too. So, we ended up sleeping 10 people in a camper that comfortably sleeps 8, only to have the storm completely miss that area through the night. And this was only day 1.
I’m happy to say that by the end of the festival we had become great friends…no longer strangers.