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And the living is easy
Weather aside, Memorial Day marked the official beginning of summer. And while you may end up stripped naked and panting like a dog before it's through (man, that's a bad image), let's not forget the things that make us love Fresno in the summertime.
If there is one thing that is iconically Central Valley, like in a bizarro-Norman-Rockwell kind of way, it's lazily floating down the river cradled up in an inner tube. Where I'm from, summer is four-hour weekend floats down the river (we use the Kings River, but there are several close), 10 or so rafts attached by rope, sunburns be damned. You haven't really spent a summer in Fresno until you've done it.
This was the signature drink from Dr. Tim Stearns at Creative Fresno's last Battle of the Bartenders, which sadly he lost, though the organization's mural project made $1,000. Named, no doubt, for the The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the drink is a mix of pepper-infused vodka (you can make your own, or use Absolute Peppar in a pinch) tonic and lime. Simple and sublime, and totally suited for the Fresno heat. Just watch out for the heartburn.
Yard sales work like this: People have junk. People sell junk. You show up (early) to buy said junk to add to your collection. It's like recycling, but with tacky furniture and ugly ties. Right now there are lots of sales each weekend, so check the Classifieds. The great part is, you'll be done before the day gets really hot. Shoppers can find some good advice here: http://www.yardsalequeen.com/yardsaleshopping.htm
Fresh fruit for rotting veg-heads
It's almost sickening (literally) the amount of cherries I've eaten in the past two weeks. But fruit is Fresno's gift to the world and if ever there's a time to indulge, it's now. We're smack in the middle of some of the best ag-land in the world and for a few months we've got fruit falling from the trees. Seriously, there are piles under the trees outside my apartment.
So, the simplest way to do this is to make a list of what's fresh in season and local: apricots, boysenberries, cherries, figs, grapes, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries and watermelon. You can probably come up with a few more. Now, get thee to a farmers' market or road-side stand and be a good little glutton.
Admittedly, this isn't very Fresno-centric. Or maybe it is. Fresnans seem to love their blockbusters and this is prime time for it. And I'm not above copping to the fact there's a few movies I might (but probably won't) brave the crowds and shell out $10-plus to see. In no particular order: “The Dark Knight,” M. Night Shamalamadingdong's “The Happening,” Dario Argento's “Mother of Tears: The Third Mother” (which won't play here, but is worth mentioning) and that new X-Files movie.