This is what Solano Avenue looks like on a normal day.
And this is what it looks like on the second Sunday in September every year, at the Solano Stroll.
I have mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of crowds. But when the street party is right down your street, you have to go, right? It’s fun to see the kids in the parade, to run into neighbors, to listen to good music. And it’s also fun — I’m not going to lie — to go home, shut the door, and put your feet up.
Strolling amid 300,000 people takes attention and some patience. Taking photographs adds another layer of challenge. You can’t control the light or the background because you can’t really move around. Once you have your spot, you do your best, waiting for a moment. Then someone extends their iPhone at arm’s length right in your shot just as you depress the shutter. (But I’m not bitter.) And you try valiantly not to get in anybody else’s way. (If I did, I’m really, really sorry.)
For me, it is sensory overload. So I set myself the goal of looking for the specific within the general chaos. I wanted to find some small moments that, writ large, made up the Stroll. And that made the whole experience so much more fun. I saw my favorite things and some new things. Let me break it down:
There was talent.
And hot work.
Joy on young faces.
And joy on young-at-heart faces.
It was a great big party in my little town. If you were there, I hope you had a grand time. I did. Specifically.