Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Birthday Girl: Mum(ford)'s the Word

I was so lucky to celebrate my 42nd birthday last weekend with Beary, my mom, my sister, and 36 000 other people at the Gentlemen of the Road Simcoe Stopover. Not something I normally would have jumped on, but when a very big deal for our very rural county happens so close to home (a.k.a. no camping involved and dad on standby to chauffeur), well, a fantastic time is in order. I've put outfit details up near the top for y'all who'll want to deek out, and tons of other stuff beyond that for y'all who'll want to see. Seriously, tons - fair warning! 

I'm also glad to be celebrating by joining Judith's second instalment of Hat Attack at Style Crone. With Visible Monday on holiday, Ariane of Style Sud-Est is hosting Show Me Your Style - see you there also. Yay! 

green cowboy hat: one of those mall accessory stores 5+ years ago
green scarf: a gift from my mother, Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
dress: Retrolicious, ModCloth, worn here

vintage crinoline: (not visible, but effectively manifest) Netty Vintage
DIY colour-corrected cowboy boots: Frye Billy Short, worn here as well

I highly recommend the CBC feature "The Mumford Effect" (extended band interview here) for more about the area where I live and this event's impact. Weather was perfect both days, and for Friday night's lineup the venue was wonderfully spacious. A favourite moment was Dan Mangan crowd surfing, tambourine in hand

bonus Friday "party pants" outfit: all info & details here
except messenger bag: here
on Beary:
cowboy hat: shop on the Six Nations reserve
trike t-shirt: screen-printed by Beary's friend Evans
banana popsicle: free at event (not as good as the strawberry)
cargo shorts: Joe Fresh

One of the buildings at the fairgrounds was set up like a wee miniature version of the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show (now in its 173rd year) with displays of local art, quilts, vegetables, youth projects, commercial displays, and livestock. I got to say goodnight to these chickens instead of my own!

flower hat ornament: Dillard's 99-cent clearance

Before the concert on Saturday, we toured the town's street fair, which featured live music on multiple stages and many other venues to jam, a mustachio'd Town Hall, rides, shopping, and a classic car show. 

guyabera shirt: gift from yours truly, El Disco Super Centre (Progreso, Mexico)

My favorite part was the prop-filled photobooth stations set up along the way, each with a historic Norfolk theme - and one of which incorporated the iconic horse head mask of Amazon customer images fame (I want one!): 

clockwise from top left: tobacco farming (which I've written about here), Dr. John Troyer the witch doctor (see here and here), dance and music halls of the area, and rail travel. 

If this were my car, I would HAVE to get these shoes

Dedicating an entire side of a downtown block to chalk art inspired everything from wieners to angel cats and beyond: 

Okay, this was my favourite part too - even pianos took to the streets: 

We had the good fortune to follow this adorable and multi-talented couple as they played their way along:

There have been many-many significant improvements to large-scale outdoor concerts since the Lollapaloozas of yore, which I enjoyed but found brutally gruelling even being in my early 20s. Here there was shade, water, flowers, chandeliers with candles, and actual gluten-free food. 

The sound quality was just tremendous as well, which helped the whole thing be enjoyable as well as comfortable and fun. Aside from the merchandise booths and sometimes food, line-ups were minimal - and there were enough staff on hand that they had the capacity to be funny and kind to the attendees.

all the wrist business plus: rubber O-ring, neon green 19+ band, Stuhrling Tuskegee Skylancer watch, axe-and-barley ribbon and bar code event ticket, silver OM bracelet, leather and silver "hands" bracelet, yellow vegetable turquoise bracelet,
deets of the usual stuff here

I've brought you some outstanding audience stylins as well: did you spot the tot with the red sequin cape, the hat made of cardboard beer case,  some high-fiving pass-through staff, a guy with nearly the same shirt as Beary, and the "QUIET AREA" standard-bearer? Okay, that last wasn't a great shot, but a favourite concept.

sing along

I had to include a special collage inspired by my friend Curtise, who, do you remember was so clever as to have a manicure that matched the port-a-potties? Well, me too! And the Sewage Waste truck! I found this happy coincidence on my way back into the melée after "scanning out" of the venue for a short scamper across the parking lot to the line-free and extremely humane facilities at the Aquatic Centre - sometimes a little local knowledge goes a long, long way. 

Sorry for the rather distant juxtaposition. That's as close as I was getting in bare feet, especially given that wet spot of indeterminate origin. 

I saw no juggling sticks or hacky sacks, both of which used to drive me just bonkers, but there were flower crowns galore - and powdered paint dancing:

I was desperately over-stimulated by the end, of course. 

New favourite picture of Beary, it's how he looks when he dances with me.

After all that grooving on the grass, we climbed the grandstand just in time for a perfect view of the unique Old Crow Medicine Show encore ... 

... and the best seats for watching an egg-shaped moon rise over the exuberant crowd. 

A crowd that particularly appreciated the finale, given that Rick Danko was one of us: 

Who should I have play my next birthday bash? 

Hope everyone's had an excellent Labour Day (or start of September) weekend! 


  1. Howdy, partner! Great post. Happy Birthday.

  2. Happy birthday Amber! There's a lot to like here, most of all the happiness in your smile. Looks like a memorable birthday surrounded by fun. Your green dress is super cute in color and design especially with your jaunty hat. And I love the plaid pants! I'm on the lookout for some myself. The glorious styles of the '80 are close to my heart too.

    blue hue wonderland

  3. This is a lovely outdoor fest indeed, with flowers! You look joyful and gorgeous, as does your handsome man. Happy, happy birthday, fabulous cowgirl!

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You had the best celebration, I can see that!! You look adorable in your festival outfit and the pictures of you and Beary are precious. (I was hoping to see your sister?) I have to go back up and click on some of your links, especially the CBC one. As a matter of fact, I have to go back up and just enjoy this post all over again. The fun is infectious. Joey would like the cars. :-)

    Love you so much. XXOO

  5. Holy smokes, that looks like such a fun time! I love Dan Mangan and all the bands mentioned (I even know who Rick Danko is thanks to Luke Doucet).

    Happy Birthday, Amber! You look fabulous!

  6. Happy Birthday!
    Tks for linking up with my blog hop and tks for mentionning!

    Such cool events!
    You have a fabulous smile!

    Ariane xo

  7. Happy Birthday!!
    Wow Amber what an awesome time you had!!
    I love your floral dress, boots and hat--in fact i love both of your outfits!!

  8. OMG, what a glorious event!! I feel pooped just looking at all the excitement!
    Happiest of Birthdays, lovely!
    Adoring that frock! XXX

  9. What a great end of summer post! Lucky you, and the best thing of all here is to see you looking so well, and smiling so big! Happy Birthday, Amber!

    Stop by sometime, won't you?

  10. Happy Birthday! Damn you're cute! Love a good old outdoor Western concert. This looks like an especially good one! Reminds me of the dusty beer drinking days of my Montana youth!

  11. Happy Birthday !! What a great festival, it looks like it was so much fun. Love dress and boots and hat - you look amazing.

  12. Well, a belated happy birthday! This looks to be quite the event. I'm most taken by the pianos in the street and the matching pedicure, of course.

  13. Happy Birthday Amber! You and Beary really know how to celebrate in style. So many wonderful photos to gaze upon, and I especially love the pic of Beary dancing with you.

    Of course, your outfit is divine. The floral print dress and cowboy boots are perfect for dancing and taking in the festivities and I adore your 'wrist business.' Thank you so much for featuring the fabulous green cowboy hat on Hat Attack and linking up with the chapeau party.

  14. Happy Birthday! Sounds like you celebrated to the best of your abilities, with a little help from your 36,000 friends. It's good to have someone keeping me informed on the latest trends, like the horse head on Amazon and painting your toenails to match porta-potties. And Mumford and Sons - I still have not listened to them, but I will try to take the time and watch the videos.

    My favorite things were your gorgeous dress, and that fabulous Italianate house! Everything else is a blur, but I did see the kid with the red-sequined cape.

  15. Happy happy birthday Amber!! Looks like you had a riot! What a lot of fun this looks! You're gonna laugh but for some daft reason I thought Breary was a hen :{ - nice to meet you Breary! (Clearly need to work on my comprehension skills!)
    LOOOOOVE your outfit!! You look so pretty in that lovely dress. And love the cowgirl touches.

  16. Happy Birthday Amber. Mine is tomorrow, auch, LOL
    I had a real ball with your post, my dear friend.
    You are wearing the MOST beautiful dress EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR, and I see you love boots as much as me.

  17. Following you in Bloglovin too now. No that I understand it, but we have to go with the flow, jajjajajja

  18. Sending you a belated, but very warm and happy Birthday hug! Glad to see you celebrated in a big way, with great music, men in kilts, dancing, singing, piano playing AND chickens! It's good to see you out and about again, being you usually uber-stylish self ( I do love that dress!!). You've captured the spirit of the event in words and photos, and I will have to go back and watch the videos when I'm not at work ;)

  19. Happy birthday dear Amber! Enjoyed seeing some glimpses into your world.. so joyously presented!

  20. Happy birthday, my lovely friend! I see you celebrated in cowboy hatted and booted style, both excellent with that pretty dress. But of course the pics of you and Beary having a ball are my favourites - singing, dancing, enjoying the whole shebang. It looks like a wonderful festival, with something for everyone. Music! Chickens! Dancing! Kilts! Pianos! Photo booths! Wish I could have been there with you, again sporting a mani-pedicure to match the toilet arrangements! xxxxx

  21. Well, howdy, happy birthday to you Ms. Amber. I'm out of breath just lookin' at all those pictures of people having fun. And looking ever so lovely as you participate in the festivities. Whatever are you going to do for next year's celebration?

  22. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday my dear! So glad you had a brilliant celebration! You look totally stunning in that gorgeous Marilyn Monroesque dress, what a knock out, and great with the cowboy hat and boots.

  23. Happy Birthday! Wow, what a party you had and so many friends you invited haha! But seriously, what a way to celebrate! My favorite part of your story definitely has to be, "If I had this car, I'd have to have these shoes." A true fashionista statement if I ever heard one!!!
    xo ~kim

  24. Amber, Happy Birthday!! Sorry I am late! And that post was a virtual feast!! First of all, gluten free food? Wow. Thinks are surely improving! Now, I love the combo of the plaid pants with those black shoes. That's awesome. I love the floral dress, and those floral shoes you said you had to have? Me too, please!! :)


    PS -- speaking of pianos in odd places, I recently posted about the Scrap Exchange where this regular looking guy comes in and plays like a virtuoso.
    You might enjoy the little clips there. ;)

  25. I love your look!!!!
    Fashion Omi on Blog

  26. In Rio! Also, you have the best dress, colourful and stylish. Thanks for posting the photos and feel free to drop by me too anytime.


Thank you for your comments!
- Amber