I look forward to First Saturdays all month long. As I’ve written previously, our moving day was a December First Saturday, and the experience solidified our love for our new town. But I also value First Saturdays because they’re a great way to show off Frederick to our friends from DC – to woo them by highlighting some of the many charms that our adoptive home has to offer.
After moving here, it took quite some time before we were truly ready for house guests. The holidays hit and we just sat in our house, surrounded by boxes, staring them down (this did not expedite the process). As anyone who has recently moved knows, one of the best ways to motivate yourself to finally unpack is to throw a party – to set a date for people to come see your new home. Without this little trick, we might have spent the winter tunneling our way through the home, making do with approximately 10% of our belongings, which, depressingly, is probably all we really needed.
With February looming, we invited six of our friends up for the “Fire & Ice” First Saturday and to our delight, three of them took us up on the offer – a pretty decent percent considering that we only had one spare bedroom. If you have a truly stellar memory, you might recall that the “fire” component was cancelled, but the “ice” more than made up for it. By the time everyone arrived and we started walking up Market Street, a light snow had fallen and the town, strung with white lights, glistened and twinkled, as did our faces, full of child-like merriment. We watched children playing with ice sculptures that had been cut into the shapes of games and bemoaned the fact that no adults were allowed. We continued up Carroll Creek and roasted more than our fair share of s’mores. We walked down Patrick, stopping to take pictures in front of our favorite sculptures – the hubs and I reenacting our engagement in front of the Eiffel Tower sculpture and my birthday buddy, Matt, and I taking a shot in front of the crab sculpture for our shared astrological sign. We poked into Cowork Frederick to warm up our bellies with some wine and cheese and our hearts and minds with their art gallery. We lingered in front of Brewer’s Alley to watch a live ice-carving demonstration, with flakes flying in all directions, like some bizarre cross between Edward Scissorhands and a Rockwell painting. This was one of Frederick’s greatest performances to date – maybe it was all the warm chocolate in our bellies or perhaps the natural excitement that children exude at the first glimpse of snow was contagious, but everyone returned home won over by our town.
In March, we tried the same tactic, but nobody was free to make the trip up. No worries – I took plenty of pictures of the drag show on Market Street and posted them to Facebook. Look how wild and crazy and progressive we are! In DC I’ve paid more money than I care to mention for a show of this quality! I’m sure everyone was jealous. Despite the blatant lack of comments to this post, I could feel the envy wafting up 270.
In April, we executed our “First Saturday Conversion” trick yet again, knowing that this time both we and Frederick had to really bring it. This was no ordinary conversion – the friends coming to visit had been among a group of our biggest doubters – teasing us at every turn. They’d started early on, when we’d only been discussing a move away from DC without any actual date or location in mind, but after we’d picked Frederick, the jokes became more strategic. I can’t say that I believe there was any research-based teasing among our friends – really, we could have selected any smaller town – but with the move looming, the ante was upped. “Is it even in the same time zone? Do we need a passport to visit you?” The boys in this group of friends chortled merrily about how we wouldn’t have an opera, despite the fact that they’d certainly decry having to go to the opera should their wives or girlfriends “make” them. The hubs took all of this as a sign that they loved us and would miss us. I took this personally, becoming an ardent defender of Frederick, armed with research about its merits. But, it was all in vain – you can’t fight farce with fact. So as the April First Saturday approached, I became nervous.
I’m happy to report that the conversion was a complete success. We got the boys to compete in a hula hoop contest (sorry, no pictures of that), we sampled wine and Zoe’s chocolates, we listened to live music and watched adorable families stroll up and down Market. By the end, our friends were planning who they could take up to Frederick to visit next and we received the highest praise I could have ever expected, “you know, as much as I made fun of you guys, this is a really charming town.”
So, Downtown Frederick Partnership, I sincerely thank you for all you’ve done to make believers out of jaded Washingtonians and to continually renew our love of Frederick. This month we’re celebrating the dog days of summer. I don’t own a dog, in fact, I’m pretty allergic to them, but keep an eye out – I’ll be there in full force to support one of my favorite Frederick rituals.