The Sunflower Alley campout is in its third year. Hosted at Lee’s Campground in Saratoga Springs, NY, this clean and sober festival was started by my friends Island Girl and Sean. While not connected to any specific recovery method or group, they instead provide a safe space for friends to gather and relax. The weekend featured two great bands and a huge buffet dinner cooked by Sean himself.
The plan was to drive to Saratoga and continue on to Potsdam to visit a friend for a few days. Settling into camp was great as Hair tie had already set up a nice space. He even anticipated the potential arrival of Lee the jeweler and her amazing tree tent which does best when situated in a stand of equilateral trunks. This space also helped him set up his tarp which he is quite proud. Alas. Lee was not in tow.
All was going swimmingly until I woke up sick. A headache, cough, drained, bleh. I spent most of the day being lazy, laying in a hammock and drinking lots of water. Well, that’s probably what I would have done if I were healthy but I had less choice this weekend. Each cough brought a new pain to my head. I finally accepted some ibuprofen and the evening got better.
The first band of the weekend was a local cover band called Off Kilter. They brought us two full sets of classic rock from multiple decades. The small stage was built in front of a cozy and well-stocked fire pit surrounded by folding chairs and many friends. Luckily the music was loud enough to hear from our camp directly across the field. It seemed anti-social but we had a small village of five tents and our own fire. I balanced my time between the stage and the ground. Curled up beside the fire in front of our local picnic table proved quite comfortable and relaxing. Watching the fire crackle to the sound of Barracuda, random Fleetwood Mac, and 80s favorites elicited some movement. The cool ground and warm fire were sufficient, major moves would be saved for major incidents.
The morning came with another perfect day in the sun… as seen through the ceiling of my tent. Couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t stay still, had to get up yet didn’t want to leave. I migrated to the hammock anticipating the early to rise children in our area. Sleep came and went then I rallied to help ensure we had our morning Watermelon Man on the PA. That lead to Hair tie requesting Yaz knowing full well the “squee” it would produce in the lady. A preview of their unplanned wedding. Needing more music and lacking the energy, I put on an 80s mix and went back to camp. The crowd was waking up and was very confused. Corey Hart, Berlin, Loggins, etc. Maybe too many cocaine memories for people at a clean and sober event?
I tried my hand at tie-dye and said hello to those who didn’t notice me prostrate by the fire for the evening just as they opened the stage for an open mic session. The dinner prep looked promising, smelled better and I felt I had socialized enough to go back to camp for a rest. We ate by the fire to the sounds of Grateful Dead via The Wheel, a local band headed by our friend Andy. Two sets of classics done tastefully and with an energy that matched the backyard party vibe. I hadn’t seen Andy play since his days of playing kids tunes at Gathering Of the Vibes (RIP) and he’s still got it. All in, Sunflower Alley is not to be missed.