It was a dreamy Saturday afternoon driving down the windy road towards Ojai. I had my cowboy hat and boots on and was charged-up because it was my first-time ever crashing the Cowboys and Indian’s festival, located on a horse ranch in the quaint, artsy town of Ojai, California.
This year was the 3rd Annual Cowboys and Indians festival, a private festival and potluck for friends and locals put on by a very dreamy French woman and her two lovely daughters.
Festival participants arrive dressed in their finest cowboy’s and Indian’s attire, ready to enjoy a day with great food and live music from a local band.
However, this year there were more Cowboys and Cowgirls and I had trouble finding a Pocahontas to keep my tepee warm in the early Summer nightfall. Nevertheless, I ate lots of great food and couldn’t get enough of the gigantic pot of lamb stew that the hungry cowboys and indians encircled at nightfall.
After we barbecued, we relaxed on the blankets and dove into some deep discussions of life, sustainability, and all kinds of cosmic topics. I enjoyed the relaxing conversation, but I knew things were about to heat up when we started hearing the coyotes howling in the distance. The cowboys and Indians protected their dogs from being lured into the dark by the coyotes’ fake cries.
The group then wandered up the hill to the tepee flat as it was time for us to have our ritual night-dance and release our spirits to the dark with fresh beats provided by the Festival Princess. Some of us slept in trailers, others in tents, and Brian went gangsta on us and slept in his car with his lovers stacked up next to him – surfboards.
I came completely unprepared for the sleepover as usual – but I was able to steal a pillow and a blanket from the Festival Queen and found refuge in the tepee. I woke up to another lovely, sunny, cool California day feeling the effects of my dancing with the wolves.
I clumsily wandered down the hill and pass the horses in the quiet morning to find the Festival Queen and a family of cowboys and Indians cleaning the horse stalls and shoveling horse manure. I grabbed my shovel and joined in – flip flops and all.
I relaxed as the Festival Queen cooked up gourmet breakfast tacos with goat cheese outside under a shaded tree. Then a strange cowboy walked out of the woods from up the hill with his guitar in hand. The awkward cowboy played an impromptu show on the wagon while drinking whisky coffee.
It just turned out that I was the last of the Mohicans of Cowboys and Indians 2013. I just couldn’t leave the dreamy Festival Queen on this beautiful horse ranch – so I kept on asking if there was any more horse manure to shovel or chores to attend to. She insisted there was no more work at the moment and then locked the rusty gates behind me, sadly bringing Cowboys and Indians 2013 to it’s final end.
Nevertheless, there were warm goodbye hugs from the Festival Queen and great memories to think about on the drive home. I’m not really counting the days, but there are only 355 days left until I crash Cowboys and Indians 2014.