Not a harvest festival as we know it. This was all about harvesting wheat and was the first one of its kind held in our village. The festa started on Friday evening and finishes tonight. Yesterday evening, we invited our friends J & L for their first village festa experience. The organisers were obviously expecting a crowd. The tables and benches had been moved to the playing field and had increased in number. The stage and dance floor had been set up at the other end of the field, and the main attraction, a huge threshing machine (if that’s what you call it) lined one edge, along with a display of tractors from years gone by.
Almost on time, a crowd gathered in front of the machine as it started up ready for the demonstration. As diesel fumes headed our way, a young lad stood on top of a tractor load of wheat, wheat that had been especially grown for this occasion, and threw sheaf after sheaf onto a conveyor belt. In a matter of seconds, a bale was pushed out one end and grain poured into an urn at the other. It was very impressive to watch and strangely addictive!
It was then time to think about food (same might say the main attraction!). Being seasoned festa goers, we knew to get our order in early. As we waited for our food, the queue stretched our further and it became obvious that the organising committee had clearly underestimated the pull of a new festa. People rushed about setting up additional tables and benches and orders started to back up.
At 9:00pm, the band took to the stage and people gravitated towards the dance floor. I almost had my dancing debut when we spotted 3 couples from our dance class along with the dance instructor’s assistant. One of them spotted us too and came over to chat to us, as well as to try and persuade us to put into practice the few basic steps we have learnt so far. M was having none of it, citing his inappropriate footwear (flip flops) as a justifiable reason to decline. Having danced with the assistant in class, I thought he might be my best bet, but try as I might to catch his eye, he was just too far away and I wasn’t brave enough to walk over to him! Perhaps a lucky escape given I have not danced for 3 months and certainly not in public!
We were happy to watch others though, listen to the music and chat with friends and neighbours. At 11:30pm we headed home. I think we can safely say, the first festa della mietitura was a success and will no doubt be the first of many.