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Last week I had to take my car to a dealer in Silver Spring because there was a recall on the steering wheel. After I had that fixed and picked up that car, I decided to chill out at a nearby Target store in Silver Spring. I normally don’t go to this particular store, mainly because there’s another Target that’s located closer to my home but I decided to go there since it was on the way back from the car dealership.

This particular Target has giant red cement dots outside its doors (which is a feature that the Target that is closer to my home doesn’t have). Normally I don’t pay attention to those dots but I saw that two of those cement dots have been converted to resemble the heads of Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. and other numerous Nintendo video games.

The heads were there to promote the recently released Nintendo Switch console system.

I stepped inside the store where I noticed that this store is larger compared to the one I usually go to. It also had items on sale that I’ve never seen at the other Target, such as American Girl’s Wellie Wishers dolls.

Those dolls were released last year but it was the first time I had ever seen them in person. That’s because it’s been a year since I last set foot inside an American Girl Place. The next photo shows the clothes and other accessories that one can buy for a Wellie Wishers doll, which are priced somewhere between $20-25.

The Wellie Wishers are smaller than the other American Girl dolls. From what I’ve read, these dolls were created for kids who are younger than the larger dolls’ target audience of girls between the ages 8-12. These dolls have vinyl bodies (compared to the larger dolls’ cloth torsos) and they are depicted as being somewhere between the ages of 4-7 (while the larger dolls are supposed to be around 9 or 10 years old). At $60 per doll, they are definitely cheaper than the larger dolls’ $115 price. But these dolls are more expensive than the 18-inch Our Generation dolls that Target sells as its alternative to American Girl. (The Our Generation dolls are generally priced between $20-35 depending on how many accessories are included with a certain doll.) I still find them to be pretty cute and their clothes are very lovely and colorful.

I went to two different events on April 23. First I went to the Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire, which I wrote about in my last blog post. Then I went to Silver Spring where I checked out something called a Creator Con, which I first learned about on Facebook.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

The event was held at the James Hubert Blake High School and the admission price was only $8 per person.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

There were a couple of food trucks parked outside the school for hungry participants.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

There was a Game Truck parked outside that has all kinds of video games for people to play. This Game Truck can be rented for all kinds of events through its website.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

Inside of the convention there were plenty of information regarding art and technology schools, hands-on exhibits (including video games), and an Artist Alley full of various kinds of arts and crafts available for sale. There were also a few cosplayers who milled about. Since this event was held in a high school, the vast majority of participants were high school students. Yet many of these teens showed a lot of potential in their art and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them actually go on to be comic book artists or work in the video game industry.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

Passover

I spent the Saturday before Easter at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival that’s held every year as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Most of the cherry blossom trees in the area haven’t bloomed yet but it hasn’t deterred people from having a good time at the festival anyway.

I went to the festival back in 2012 and 2013 then skipped last year. The other two years I arrived in the afternoon and hung around until I grew tired. I ended up leaving the festival hours before the fireworks because of fatigue. This year I decided that I really wanted to check out the fireworks in person so I ended up not leaving for the festival until after 4 p.m. So I packed my folding chair, headed to the nearest Metro station, and took the subway to the Waterfront station.

When I first left the station I noticed this nearby building where someone had decorated the windows with cherry blossoms made entirely from Post-It Notes.

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Someone had even done a pretty decent replication of Mario from the numerous Nintendo games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.

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It’s been two years since I last walked around the Southwest Waterfront area. I noticed that there was a bunch of construction activity going on.

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I also walked past this Bible preacher urging festival attendees to become Christians.

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I eventually arrived at the entrance to the festival.

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The festival was full of people.

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Since I arrived late in the afternoon, I decided to treat myself to an early dinner. (For once I attended a public event without schlepping food and drink around.) I found a group of food trucks that provided different types of food ranging from Middle Eastern to Korean BBQ to pizza.

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I ended up ordering my food from the truck in the next few pictures. The truck served French crepes under the name Crêpes Parfait. I waited in a long line to order then I was given a number where I had to wait a little while longer until my number was called and I could pick up my crepe. I ordered the chicken crepe with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, which was definitely worth the wait. I was able to set up my folding chair along the Washington Channel where I ate my crepe while watching the beautiful scenery.

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After I finished eating my dinner I continued to walk around the festival. I saw another group of food trucks in a different area.

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I found a blue truck called Captain Cookie and, on impulse, I decided to treat myself to dessert. I ordered an ice cream sandwich which featured vanilla ice cream in between two snickerdoodle cookies. That ice cream sandwich was incredibly awesome! The ice cream tasted like there was actually vanilla bean mixed in and the snickerdoodles were exquisite. I picked up their business card in the hopes that I somehow run into that food truck again. (LOL!)

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The next photo shows the Washington Channel. The day was pretty lovely in that it was cool enough for a light jacket but it was still a very far cry from that Arctic chill that plagued our region earlier this year.

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I saw that one of the festival sponsors, Proctor & Gamble, was having a booth where they gave away free samples of Tide. I got in the line and picked up a bag full of Tide samples. I won’t have to worry about buying new laundry detergent for a while. (LOL!)

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The only part of the festival that I was disappointed in was that, unlike other years, there was no craft show that was held as part of the festivities. I was kind of looking forward to the craft show only to find that it was eliminated. At first I thought there was a show that ended early until I saw the official program and it wasn’t even listed. As a consolation I took a bunch of photos of the various demonstrations of Japanese-inspired crafts (some of which were hands-on) that were held at the festival along with general sights of the event.

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The official program guide urged visitors wishing to view the fireworks to stake out a place near the Titanic Memorial in order to get the best views and to get to the memorial early. I took that advice and made my way to the memorial.

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I set up my folding chair along the banks of the Washington Channel, where I was treated to a lovely sunset.

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After sunset a bunch of boats with red and blue lights were floating around in the channel.

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The fireworks began at 8:30 p.m. and they lasted between 15-20 minutes (just before the official 9 p.m. close of the festival). The fireworks looked incredibly spectacular along the waterfront. These are just a few of the fireworks that were shot off that night.

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After the fireworks ended I decided to head home. As I was crossing one of the streets at one point, I realized that I was holding the plastic bag containing the Tide samples wrong because Tide samples began to spill out right on to the street where cars were driving by. I managed to pick up a couple of the spilled samples quickly but I couldn’t pick them all up because I didn’t want to risk getting hit by a car. So I had no other choice but to leave a few of the envelopes in the street where they got smashed up under car tires.

Most people who were at the festival were headed towards the Southeast Waterfront Metro Station (many of us heeded the advice of the festival organizers not to drive there because of a lack of parking), which became totally crowded along the platform as everyone waited for the next subway train to arrive. I really lucked out when a car with a door happened to arrive right in front of me so I was able to get right on the train without having to push people. My train car filled up quick, as you can see in the next photo.

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I ended up having to stand for at least the first few stops. I ended up right against the back door leading to the next car. I looked through the window and I saw that the next car was just as crowded as my car was, as you can see in the photo below.

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I was eventually able to get a seat once the Metro got past the L’Enfant Plaza station and hordes of people got off (because that station is a major transfer point). When I got off the Metro and headed towards my car in the parking lot, I saw this lovely full moon.

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I’m glad that I finally saw the fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. It was the first time I saw fireworks in Washington, DC since the one year, soon after my husband and I were married, we headed off to the Mall on the Fourth of July with a couple of friends from my husband’s job. It was very crowded and it was very hot and humid (I remember it was in the mid-90’s that day). It was pretty uncomfortable the entire day. While the fireworks over the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin were lovely, it was hell trying to get home after it was all over. It took us at least an hour before we could even get inside the Smithsonian Metro Station and it took another half an hour before we were able to board a train because it was that crowded. My husband and I swore off ever again going to the Mall on the Fourth of July.

In contrast to that one, the Southwest Fireworks Festival was pretty nice. It wasn’t quite as crowded and it was relatively easy to find a decent view of the fireworks. And I didn’t have to wait as long to get on a Metro train either. The only thing I would do differently is that I should’ve brought a blanket because it got pretty cold after sunset. While I was able to put up my hood and place my hands in my jacket pocket, I would’ve appreciated a little bit more warmth. Otherwise, it was a great fireworks show on a pretty lovely day.

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