Sagra 2017 come and gone...
A stormy Saturday night at the Sagra dei Pomi. A chilly wind blew through the pavilions in the reconstituted church yard and occassionally an equally chilly sprayed rain. But, there were folk. Mostly young people braving the weather to see and be seen and to partake of the sagra faire of carne al asaldo, grigiata mista and meshcia.
The later is a divine local minestra of vegetables, beans and polenta. Hits all the buttons: absolute carbs, blog sanctioned veggies, creamy & warm, filling. Back in the good ol' days when the stove was a fire in a fireplace, the women of the Codiponte households would chop up a cabbaged-like cauliflower, zucchine, potatoes, borlotti beans for extra measure and throw what all into a pot of water to hang above the fire to boil. The broth was helped along with carrots, onions, garlic and a big piece of lard too. About an hour before one could dig into it, polenta was mixed in to add bulk to the dish. A touch of olive oil, grated parmessan cheese and a glass of local vino nero completed the meal. The sagra's version was offered at the second of two eating venues, Il Mulin. A real live olive press once powered by water, which explains why it's net to the Aullela River, and heavily decorate for the sagra with pupacci in erected scenes of local dometic life and utensil & tools scattered about to remind people, I guess, about what agriculture was like way back when. The mill's piazza was packed with diners at long wooden tables. The wind abated by a temporary fence for protection and privacy. A Good Time seemed to be had by all despite the unfortunate climatic phenomenon.
Sunday was splendid for the last day of the sagra. Warm, bright and breezy. Perfect weather for the Parade of the Floats, a long standing and very popular tradition on the Sagra dei Pomi's agenda. The ideas, design, construction and the accompanying skits are yearly entrusted to Codiponte's younger generation. Weeks before the 2nd weekend in September, they gather in a building off-site to work. And work they did. The Dogs and I would pass by on our PM walks to Acqua Paradiso, a natural spring at the foot of the chestnut covered hills, and there inside and out would be 10 to 12 kids laboring away. The fruit of their labors were wonderful. The four floats... Trump e Melania, Melaficent, Fantozzi alla Sagra dei Pomi and I Promessi Pomi... trundled down and onto the grassy circle lead by a marching band to display their ingenious rolling manufacture and, more importantly, set into motion their hysterically funny, clever skits. Naturally, and yet sadly to the memory of the sudden death last year of Paolo Villaggio, the actor who played Fantozzi in innumerable films, the Primo Premio was given to that sqaudron of teenagers for the Fantozzi float.
Sunday evening finished with more food & drink and a concert of songs from the famous Genoese song writer & performer, Fabrizio de Andre', performed by local singer musician at Il Mulin until Midnight.
Today, the sagra looks like a loney ghost waiting to be dismantled and stored until next year's Sagra dei Pomi 2018.