Foodies, Unite

At a Food Festival, Alone Is not an Option

Story and Photos by Amy Larson

I ignored the rolling hills, sagebrush, farmland, and streams along Highway 20, too busy thinking of what my psychology professor, Dr. Fellows, once said about solo vacations—that they were the best thing ever. You could keep your own schedule, talk to whomever, go wherever, whenever, however.  I hoped her assessment was correct, because I would be solo in Sun Valley for the Harvest Festival.

Years ago, we’d had an electrical contracting business in the Wood River Valley, wiring many high-end homes, condominiums, hotels, and mixed-use buildings. Our business served the area for four years, and then branched out to elsewhere, but the time had been filled with plenty of family play, pedaling tandem bikes, sledding, hiking, following trails on ATVs, and spending weekends in rented condos or cabins.  I silently prayed I wouldn’t be lonely on this trip, that I’d discover new friends. The worst image I conjured was dining alone in a corner while others talked, laughed, and ate. But I had seen one thing firsthand: food brings people together.

It’s good to be back, I thought as I passed the landmark white barn with its circular stained glass window. Wintertime, and my favorite salmon Caesar salad awaited at the grille on the corner. I passed the luxury resort on the corner of Dollar and Saddle Roads where the electricians spent many a hardworking hour. The ski museum with its haunting photos of Hemingway. The lodge with its jazz festival and nearby chocolate shop. Fond memories tugged at me.

Festival participants were supposed to meet at Towne Square, but I’d never heard of it, and felt silly asking for directions. I walked past one of the many artists in residence, who was building a faux Grecian pillar and had fur fashions displayed on the shop’s platform.

“Towne Square?” I queried, lifting my hands in surrender.

“They call it that to be fancy. It’s really the little park next to Giacobbi Square.”

“Ohhh.” I knew the one. With the giraffe sculpture and chess tables. Built in 2010––we’d left Ketchum by 2006. I didn’t feel so bad.

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