Don't get me wrong; I love the First Saturday events -- the activities, the music, the themes -- but I do not love the crowds.
And it's not so much the number of people moving as almost a single mass of humanity down Market and Patrick Streets.
What it is, is the surprisingly large numbers of individual doing reckless and dangerous things, most of which involve the blatant disregard of the basic safety rules of street crossing.
True, some of the folks are just distracted by the musicians, artists or other set-ups along the street, so they fail to look both ways before crossing the street. Or they fail to even notice that the light for them is RED.
But many more, aren't really preoccupied; they PURPOSELY cross on red, while cars are coming at them, then they hold up their hands as though they have the right to be there in the thoroughfare, or are directing traffic, or as though they really believe the driver will stop.
Lucky for them, this is Frederick. Let one of them try that in D.C. -- they'd at the least get honked at -- or in Philadelphia, where the driver might just get and evil gleam in their eye and gun it.
My favorite though, I say sarcastically, are the two men I encountered yesterday afternoon. Traffic on Market Street, as usual for a First Saturday, was stop-and-go, and many people took advantage of the momentary stoppages to cross the street. However, NOT during one of those moments, while the car was actually moving, and at a slightly faster rate than most people walk, a bearded man in a baseball cap and sunglasses thought it would be a good idea to step in front of me. In the middle of the block. Without a crosswalk.
Because I am a careful driver and did not wish to either injure anyone or have a lawsuit brought against me, I braked and also honked my horn at him in warning, you know just in case he didn't see the full-sized family sedan less than two feet from rolling over him.
And then he just gestured at me dismissively, continuing across the street as I began rolling the car again. But then his almost identically-clad companion thought his buddy had the right idea, and followed suit, walking in front of the giant Buick I was piloting, looking at me in defiance. So I leaned on my horn again, stopping the car against my now-P.O.'d inclinations, and he has the nerve to say something unpleasant and also gesture at me as though I had done something wrong to him!
These weren't the 20-somethings I'd expect that from; these looked like they were definitely old enough to know better, in their late 30s or early 40s.
Maybe those guys were drunk, which begets its own special kind of carelessness. Or I'd rather think that maybe they were out-of-towners than to believe they are from this area, representing Frederick with that kind of stupidity and entitlement.
But then again, with as often as I see that kind of behavior here on other days than First Saturday...