Festivals and the Creation of Public Culture: Whose Voice(s)?


Original text scanning by Julie Rose, the University of Virginia. Scanned and copy-edited 1/25/96.

It's a Saturday evening in mid-July. The temperature is still in the high eighties, and it's humid. Pea-pack at the Green Giant plant has just ended; corn-pack starts on Monday. The smell of the insecticide sprayed in the afternoon to kill mosquitoes hangs over the park. The queen pageant has just ended, the park lights are on, a band is playing mid-sixties favorites from the back of a flatbed truck parked on the edge of the picnic area. In the pavilion, men in feed caps are pouring foaming pitchers and glasses of 3.2 beer from a trailer with twelve taps and an endless supply of kegs. Over a thousand people are jammed between the band and the beer, dancing, drinking, eating bratwurst, meeting friends, running into people they grew up with but haven't seen in years. More people, mostly college-age and just beyond, are downtown, crowding the sidewalk and spilling into the intersection between the town's two main bars. The atmosphere is festive; it is exciting to be in the midst of this crowd of people so obviously enjoying themselves. It is the forty-ninth annual Kolacky Days, in Montgomery, Minnesota, a small town south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. On the face of it, this is the stereotypic small-town festival--people celebrating themselves and their community in an "authentic" and traditional way, or at least emerging spontaneously from their homes for a communitywide expression of fellowship.

As one of the few moments in the annual cycle when it is claimed that a community publicly celebrates itself, civic or community festivals play a central role in the creation of public culture in Minnesota towns and cities. From queen pageant to parade, community barbecue and food stands to street dance, municipalities create a momentary, if recurrent, popular architectonics, a symbology of local significance, a public presentation of the community to itself and to outsiders. A public culture emerges.

Yet the public culture that Minnesota festivals produce does not simply emerge out of the collective unconscious of a single-voiced, organic community. The voices of most of the people out for a good time on a Saturday night in a small Minnesota town do not influence the design of the festival; rather, as I will show, it is carefully constructed by the local middle class. An exercise in impression management, a Minnesota community festival is the more or less self-aware celebration of the values of its middle-class organizers, made in the name of the community as a whole. The appropriation of "our community" by these organizers in small towns is generally (but not always) accepted by other segments of the local population who share their vision of a harmonious community of mutually supportive equals. The tension between this ideal and the daily experiences of uninvolved individuals who are linked by fragile, contingent social ties in the town engenders the characteristic earnest and nonironic official voice of the small-town festival. 1

Out of the relatively large number of festivals that I have studied, I will draw on data from several small-town festivals during the period from 1981 to 1987, the Hutchinson Jaycees Water Carnival in 1987, and the 1990 St. Paul Winter Carnival. These festivals are points along a continuum, ranging from uncontested monologue (and absence of irony) to dialogue and open contestation of organizers' voices.

The small towns that I have studied, although certainly different from one another in many respects, have certain structural commonalities that are reflected in and condition the shape of their festivals. First, they are small--650 to 3,500 people. Second, they are farm service towns: feed stores, implement dealers, an auto parts store, one or two banks, gas stations, bars, schools, two grocery stores, one or two lawyers, two or more churches, a motel or two, one or two hardware stores, clinic or hospital, one or two dentists, a bakery, floral and gift shop, etc. There are usually a nursing home or retirement home and some government offices. Third, class differences are muted, although not absent. 2 Most of the people in the town depend on the surrounding farm areas, and many are small-business or professional families. There are people who work as custodians, wage laborers in agricultural or light industrial plants, truck drivers, service station attendants, construction workers, and the like. There is a core of teachers at the schools, who are ordinarily set apart from the main social patterns of the town. There is an identifiable group of retired persons, many former farmers who now live in town, and there is a group of young people, mostly males, who are marginal to the community for essentially economic reasons. Given the sheer weight of their numbers, it is not surprising that the principal voice heard in these communities is that of the business and professional community. The other groups, in part because their livelihoods depend on the health of the business and professional community, tend to go along with that voice, or at least not to contest its claim that it speaks for the entire community.

Festivals in these towns are organized by the businesspeople, with some assistance from those elements of the professional community that are most closely aligned with them--lawyers and dentists. As they design the festival they think both of their own interests and of what they imagine to be the interests of the portion of the population that is not like them. They are concerned with "family issues" and with providing events for the young children of the community. It is important to remember that in a small Minnesota town, especially during the summer, there is very little of a public, community nature for anyone to do. Children in particular are home with no publicly organized activities to occupy them: school is not in session and the high school athletic teams are not competing, which affects not only the children but also the adults who follow the teams. This is changing a bit. The influence of the video store is increasing in small towns, and one festival organizer told me that the proliferation of summer sports camps, cheerleader camps, and so forth has made it difficult to schedule the events of her festival, since so many people have children in these activities now.

The festival text that emerges is one that attempts to provide activities for families in the community, that will bring the community together and former residents back, and will "give something back" to the community. The typical festival takes place over a weekend, with events beginning Friday afternoon or evening and concluding Sunday afternoon or early evening. Table 4-1 presents in frequency order the events to be found at a sample of fifty-four Minnesota small-town festivals. The core of the Minnesota small-town festival is a parade, events for children, one or more dances (usually in the street), a beer garden, a queen pageant, several contests, an arts and crafts fair, and food provided by local organizations--Lions, Minnesota Women of Today, church youth groups, the hockey boosters, etc. While there are differences in attendance patterns at these events, by age and sex, many people from the town attend these events, which create an undemanding sense of belonging to the community.

Small-Town Festival Events in Order of Frequency
Event Percentage of festivals with this event Event Percentage of festivals with this event
Parade 81.5 Other children's events 24.1
Dances 79.6 Food provided mostly by local vendors 24.1
Food provided by local organization 74.1 Ethnic food 24.1
Beer garden 74.1 Other water events 22.2
Children's contests 62.9 Ethnic concert 20.4
Art/craft fair 62.9 Fishing contest 18.5
Queen pageant 59.3 Farm-related events 18.5
Other contests 59.3 Ethnic dancing 18.5
Kiddie parade 57.4 Food provided by about half local and half outside 16.7
Concert 55.6 Boat races 14.8
Food provided by local individuals 40.7 Junior king and queen contest 12.9
Flea market 40.7 Children's story hour 13.0
Barbeque 37.0 Ethnic religious service 11.1
Firemen's water fight 35.2 Waterski show 9.3
Events for senior citizens 35.2 Other ethnic events 5.5
Carnival 35.2 Food provided mostly by outside vendors 5.5
Food provided by outsiders 33.3 Swimming races 3.7
Ecumenical church service 33.3 Sample size = 54
Kiddie carnival 29.6 One festival = 1.85 percent
Senior king and queen 27.8
Crazy days 27.8

A former student of mine writes about her town's festival:

In . . . every summer in the first week of July we have our celebration. And I believe every year the same thing happens, there is a kiddie parade early in the week, the Jaycees put on a Turkey BBQ, there is a river raft race on the Rum River, all of the "carnies" begin milling around town much to the dismay of every young girl's mother and of course it all ends with a parade followed by every citizen in the whole town heading down to the carnival afterwards. Every year, everybody says the same thing afterwards, "it's just not the same as it used to be" but nevertheless you see those same people there year after year doing the same things year after year. The same bands, the same old cars, the same floats and of course the same old fire truck going by and squirting whoever they see that they know.

During this time everyone comes home, and of course, all new gossip starts circulating: who got married, who had a baby, and who passed away. You see people you haven't seen in months and spend the whole night trying to catch up on all that has happened. And every year I wonder why I come back for the same old celebration-- yet I do!" 3

I have argued elsewhere for the community-creating qualities of small-town festivals, 4 and those qualities are certainly there. Still, organization of the festival, since it takes several months of meetings and coordinated effort, creates a special sense of solidarity among the organizers, who always plan some sort of social event for themselves after the festival is over. In small towns, however, differences that divide people tend to be expressed in terms of individualities rather than in class terms (for example, I'm not interested in an auto swap meet, and you're not interested in the crafts show). There are few events that are dramatically class-marked and exclusive. First, to some degree there is an overlap of interests among the banker, grocery store manager, auto parts dealer, and construction worker--they all fish and hunt, they all follow sports, etc. Thus, some events of a typical small-town festival will naturally appeal to many residents of different backgrounds. Second, a small town cannot survive with serious internal rifts, and most residents share a commitment to the ideology of community and cooperation that is not entirely illusory. Many of these people do in fact believe in community and will attend events that seem to them to build community. Because many festival events are undemanding, it is easy for a wide range of people to attend and enjoy them and come away with the feeling that they are part of an organic, harmonious community.

Nevertheless, the festival is the product of the work and worldview of a powerful segment of the community, and the dominant voice heard is theirs. Strikingly absent in small-town festivals, for example, is the voice of the rural people on whom the town depends. In town after town, the community festival ignores or actively excludes farmers and events of interest to them. That is, farmers may attend the events of the town festival, but they do not attend as farmers. Indeed, in some festivals, they cannot even attend: primary events are scheduled for seven o'clock in the evening, which in rural Minnesota is milking time. When farmers pointed this out to the organizers of one festival, the organizers apologized, averring that the festival was for everyone. But they still have not changed the time of those events. 5 Similarly, there are no small-town festivals that provide activities for adolescents, the group that is perhaps most economically marginal in the town: the queen pageant involves only a relatively small number of young women, and the young men are completely excluded. And even in festivals that propose to celebrate ethnicity, it is ordinarily the ethnic heritage of the dominant group that is accented. 6

Sometimes the tie between the organizers and their festival's ethnic theme is tenuous and paradoxical. Montevideo, Minnesota, was named by its sturdy Scandinavian founders after the capital of Uruguay, and is now its sister city. The town celebrates this unusual tie every year at Fiesta Days, highlighted by the presence of the Uruguayan ambassador or a high-ranking deputy. A wreath is laid at the foot of the statue of Jose Artigas (a gift of the people of Montevideo, Uruguay, in the 1940s), the queen and her princesses wear Spanish-inspired lacy dresses with mantillas and combs, and there are a few other general Spanish-style touches to the festival and the city's architecture. But the town's Mexican or Mexican American migrant-labor pool is not represented in the festival at all. Festivals, even in small towns, are not untouched by the divisions and disagreements of everyday life. While the divisions between the "us" of the organizers and the "them" of the other groups within the community may be blurred, they are never absent, and a festival script that asserts community may be interpreted by other participants as denying their membership in that community.

Once the festival begins, it takes on a life of its own, out of the control of its organizers; as Paul Ricoeur notes, "In the same way that a text is detached from its author, an action is detached from its agent and develops consequences of its own.... [O]ur deeds escape us and have effects which we did not intend." 7 The festival, both text and action, becomes public property, creating a public culture. And the inability to control what happens once the festival begins is a loophole that lies at the center of this public culture. This loophole affects all the groups that meet in the festival, not just the organizers. The outsiders who now buy tours to small-town Minnesota festivals may find the performance quaint, pretentious, soaked in small-town tradition, or embarrassingly naive, but the organizers are equally free to find the outsiders' performance boorish, unpleasant, friendly, or cynical. Rural people may find the festival performance exclusionary, and young people may similarly find that they have no place in the festival; by extension, both groups may see this as symbolic of their place in the structure of things in the town. The organizers and their adherents, seeing the withdrawnness of the rural people, or what they interpret as the insolence of the young, may decide that the farmers are unsophisticated and the young incorrigible, and act accordingly.

The disagreements that are muted within small-town festivals can become increasingly audible in the festivals put on in larger towns. This is the case in Hutchinson, Minnesota, a city of some 9,200 people in the central part of the state. Its festival, the Jaycees Water Carnival, began in 1942, and is held annually over three days in June. The festival is a project of a civic organization, the Jaycees, that exists for reasons unconnected to festivals. That is, men in Hutchinson do not join the Jaycees because they want to work on the festival. They see the Jaycees as an organization with business and social importance. It is nevertheless the case that the Water Carnival has become the single most important project of the Jaycees, and working on the Water Carnival follows from membership. This is an important point: the Jaycee organizers, unlike organizers of festivals in other, smaller towns, are not "festival people," and this fact shapes both the festival and the community response to it. 8

For one thing, the Jaycees are essentially an age grade: until very recently, men were required to leave the organization at age thirty-five. As a result, the long-term, continuous commitment to the festival by its organizers, a phenomenon found in towns where the organizing body is either festival-specific or not restricted by age, is absent in Hutchinson. This presents the Jaycees with two structural problems. First, members who may not be interested in the festival have to organize it. Second, as soon as someone has become good at organizing part of the festival, he leaves the organization. One solution that the members have developed is to organize the festival according to "the books." These are a set of loose-leaf notebooks, one for each aspect of the festival, which each committee chairman receives from his predecessor and passes on to his successor. Each includes a timeline and all of the details about the organization of the event. A committee chair has only to follow the book to do the job. And this is what most of them do most of the time. The option of canceling the festival is not one that seems open to them. They feel strongly that "the town would rise up in arms" if the festival was ever canceled. As a result, the dead hand of tradition rests heavily on them.

In Hutchinson there are two separate, official programs that result from the organizers' planning: one is open to the public, and the other is hidden from the public and open only to Jaycees and their wives. The events of the Water Carnival, especially given the size of the town, are rather limited compared with most small-town festivals. There is a queen competition, unusually divided into two parts, with the pageant on Friday night and the coronation on Sunday night. There are races (a two-mile one and a ten-kilometer one), three children's events (Big Wheel races, a parade, and a junior royalty coronation), a square-dance demonstration, the Queen's Ball, a fly-in breakfast organized by the Civil Air Patrol at the county airfield, a large parade, powerboat races, mud volleyball, a traveling carnival and midway, a pork chop dinner at the airfield put on by the Civil Air Patrol, and fireworks. A tennis tournament and men's and junior girls' softball tournaments are held concurrently, but are not official, Jaycees-run events. Most of the food concessions are provided by the carnival, which is located away from the main part of the town but near the park at which the powerboat races and mud volleyball are held. Such classic small-town festival events as a beer garden, street dance, firemen's water fight, arts and crafts fair, and various other contests are not held. There is beer sold by the Jaycees near the boat race and mud volleyball area, but the location is out of the way, poorly marked, not publicized before the festival, and seems to be frequented mainly by Jaycees.

Unknown to the general public are the events of what I call the festival within the festival. At the local motel that serves as the Water Carnival headquarters there is a hospitality room, open to all Jaycees at any time during the festival and well stocked with cold beverages and food of various kinds. An appreciation party, a semiformal cocktail party at the home of a wealthy business or professional man, dinner at the country club, a "royal buffet" (held for queens, princesses, and their chaperones from other communities who have come for the parade), and a large concluding party called Afterglow are, from the point of view of the Jaycees, the major events of the festival, and their reward for raising the money and putting on the festival. About one-quarter of the $31,000 budget goes to this festival within the festival. These events help to create the private culture of the Jaycees--one based on privilege, and the justification of both their way of life and their entitlement to it. While very few people we spoke with in the city know much about the details of these parties, there is certainly a general consensus that the Jaycees are "cliquey" and do not want any input from the rest of the town. In this they are correct. A former Water Carnival commodore (the head of the festival organization) told me that were other organizations to get involved, there would be conflicts over who was running the festival. Hence it was better that only one organization run it.

It is interesting to note, however, that out of all the festivals I have studied, including the St. Paul Winter Carnival, this was the only festival in which there was ambivalence about our project on the part of the organizers, and in which we were excluded from some events and made to feel uncomfortable at others. This is not, I think, accidental. Some of the Jaycees see their parties, and their festival within the festival, as private, and did not want to be the subject of observation by a group of college students and their professor. Some seemed worried about our "blowing their cover," as it were, and revealing the extent to which the Water Carnival could be interpreted as a justification for Jaycee parties. Some seemed unwilling to consider the contradiction between their private parties and the public festival, which they may sense (and even profit from), but which they cannot fully control or justify. By contrast, the commodore of the 1987 festival, who was a high-ranking member of the Jaycees, and the vice commodore were most hospitable and very supportive of the research. They, too, have their own agendas for the future of the festival and the Jaycees: diversification of membership in both the Jaycees and the festival organizing group, the inclusion of more events, and the incorporation of more of the city's civic organizations.

The explicit ideology expressed by the Jaycees is that they put on the Water Carnival to develop community pride and togetherness. They are doing something for the community. The Water Carnival is a way that they can be of service to the people of the area. Yet at least half of the men in the Jaycees had moved to Hutchinson within the last three to ten years from elsewhere (several more had moved back after several years' absence), and joined the Jaycees "to meet other men their age who have similar interests." There is a major structural feature of life in Hutchinson that the Jaycees cannot control: many Jaycees members are newcomers who find themselves in this city at this moment for career reasons. They are alienated from the community by their youth, occupation, and relative wealth, and by the way they set themselves apart as the organizers of a public celebration of a community in which they themselves are relative newcomers. Hutchinson is unusual in that the main employer in the city is 3M, which produces a great deal of its videotape at its Hutchinson plant. Over two thousand people work at 3M, some of whom are executives or managers, some of whom (although not many) join the Jaycees. Hutchinson is also an important banking center for that region of the state, and there are three large banks in the city. The young bankers are very active in the Jaycees and the festival. There are several prominent people in the city who work in the Twin Cities, some fifty miles away, and some who have moved to Hutchinson from the Twin Cities. People in town regularly talk about shopping in the malls in the western suburbs of Minneapolis or attending other events in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

At the same time, most of the employees at 3M are wage laborers, most from the city and smaller cities in the area, though some are farm wives. There are other relatively large employers in Hutchinson, and they too employ wage laborers, assemblers, semiskilled workers, etc. The class divisions that are downplayed in small towns are much clearer in Hutchinson: the man who is in a public position in the festival may be a man who has power over your future. He may be the man who denied you a loan or began foreclosure proceedings against your uncle's farm, wears an elegant suit, went to college, and belongs to the country club. 9

The standard community-festival ideology--that the organizing body is open to anyone in the community who wants to participate-- is not entirely absent in Hutchinson. To be sure, except for certain peripheral events such as the tennis and softball tournaments, organizers must be Jaycees, but Jaycees membership is theoretically open to all men under the age of thirty-five. Nevertheless, the issue of social class is not far from the surface. The commodore complained that although the Jaycees are open to all men of the correct age who wished to join, they had been having a great deal of trouble getting working-class and lower-middle-class members He was of the opinion that this was in part because the only place the Jaycees could find to meet was the country club, and many potential working-class or lower-middle-class members did not feel comfortable in those surroundings. He added that some of the Jaycees liked it that way, though he did not; one of his goals was to find another place for the Jaycees to meet because he felt it necessary for the organization to diversify. There still exists an egalitarian ethos in Hutchinson: the idea that it should be possible for any man in town to join the Jaycees works against the idea that the Jaycees are (or ought to be) an elite organization. This may contribute to the discomfort many Jaycees seem to feel with the privileges they grant themselves during the festival.

To summarize, a nonrandom group of men in the community, the Jaycees, who are young businessmen, bankers, insurance agents, owners or managers of businesses, lawyers, or dentists, are the people behind the festival. They have taken it upon themselves to speak for the community, as do all festival organizers, and to present an event that becomes the public expression of the community, both to itself and to outsiders who are only in the community during the festival. The Jaycees do not share this work with other civic organizations, nor do they share the credit. This is resented in Hutchinson. A surprising number of people on the street, going about their regular business, informed us that they would attend only the parade, that they didn't feel that the other events were for them. Some even suggested that the entire festival was really an event for the Jaycees.

The festival as it is practiced reflects both the Jaycees' relative unfamiliarity with Hutchinson as well as the characteristics of the social fraction to which they belong. It could even be argued that, counter to the ideological statements made by the members, the festival is designed in such a way as to separate the Jaycees from the rest of the community, bringing the two groups together only for certain specific events. Indeed, the ways in which the groups come together are carefully orchestrated. The queen coronation, for example, becomes an occasion for the community to thank the Jaycees for all they have done for Hutchinson. The coronation is held in front of a backdrop representing the statue of an Indian that is the official symbol of the city. The winner is called Miss Hutchinson, and is supposed to represent the city at other festivals that she will attend. In her white evening gown, she receives from the tuxedo-clad commodore a diamond cocktail ring representing her position. Her first and last acts during her year as queen (and her only opportunities to speak during the coronation ceremony itself) consist of tearful speeches thanking the Jaycees. Here, then, the community--in the form of its "official' representative--grants the Jaycees the recognition they believe they deserve, assures them that their efforts have not been in vain, and proclaims that their view of the city, the festival, and their relationships to both are satisfying and appropriate. As I noted earlier, many people in the community do not share this understanding. But those people do not pay forty or fifteen dollars per couple for reserved seats, nor three dollars for seats in the back, to attend the queen pageant.

In terms of the organization of events, the Hutchinson Water Carnival presents a public culture emphasizing division rather than solidarity. For example, although the traveling carnival, which attracts children and adolescents from a wide variety of backgrounds, was in action on Friday, the major event of the day was the queen pageant, an expensive event that attracted 625 people, many fashionably dressed. On Saturday, all but one of the public events attracted both Jaycees and others. Several of the forty-three entrants in the ten-kilometer run were Jaycees. All but one of the Jaycees were married and many had children, and the Kiddie Day events were of interest to them. Indeed, my students observed that many of the people in the crowds at the children's events were Jaycees. The one event that was not of interest to the Jaycees was the square-dance demonstration, and it was scheduled to overlap with an important Jaycee cocktail party. The Queen's Ball was another event that attracted far more Jaycees than anyone else: the candidates and the outgoing queen and princesses were in formal gowns, and those Jaycees who were most involved with the Water Carnival were in tuxedos. This is a far cry from the small-town street dance, where dress is blue jeans, shorts, and various kinds of appropriate shirts and tops.

The one "populist" day was Sunday, which for most people started at one o'clock in the afternoon, when the parade began. The parade was followed by the powerboat races and the mud volleyball tournament, and then later in the evening by the coronation and fireworks. The parade drew a very large crowd-there were nearly 16,000 people lining the route. 10 Particularly striking was the number of reunions and parties being held on lawns along the residential blocks of the parade route. Here were people's private celebrations, carried out in counterpoint to the official communal ideology of the festival. All festivals provide, at the very least, a focal point for scheduling reunions and family get-togethers. They are a justification for sociability within preexisting, private spheres of social interaction. However, most small-town festivals also provide the opportunity for an experience of communality through a meal open to and convenient for everyone in town, where the private pleasures of friends and family are extended and complemented by the public expression of community membership made possible by festival-provided commensality. The absence of such a meal in Hutchinson reinforced the distinction between the Jaycees and the rest of the community, who had to make private picnics on their own lawns or in the parks.

This same pattern was continued in the other events on Sunday, the powerboat races and the mud volleyball tournament. Over 1,700 people attended the three events scheduled soon after the parade (this includes those counted in the area near the traveling carnival). Many had brought lawn chairs and coolers with food and beverages, but there was no food for sale. Once again, the emphasis was on individual clusters of people independently seeking entertainment. The irony is that the Jaycees were intensifying their own sense of community, rewarding themselves for a job well done, and establishing and reestablishing their own communal ties. It is scarcely surprising that following the fireworks should come the Afterglow for the Jaycees.

Thus, in Hutchinson, the festival organizers are rather dramatically alienated from and alienating to those segments of the city that are not their own. Their control over the festival is obvious and resented, and it is not countered by any outlet for the disaffected. In contrast, the small-town festival organizers are not so strikingly alienated from the people for whom the festival is organized. Their control is hidden, and as a result, opposition or disaffection is diffuse, with no clear target.

A striking contrasting case can be found in the St. Paul Winter Carnival. St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, has a population of about 270,000, and is part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area of more than two million people. The St. Paul Winter Carnival was celebrated irregularly in its early history, beginning first in 1886 and being held off and on until 1946, since when it has been held annually. It is a large and elaborate undertaking that extends over twelve days, boasting a full-time staff of four and a legion of over sixteen hundred volunteers. Several key features of the Hutchinson Jaycees Water Carnival are even more highly developed in the St. Paul Winter Carnival. All are related to the fact that class divisions in St. Paul are well established, multiply determined, and clear-cut. The egalitarian ethos that still has the power to make some Hutchinson Jaycees uncomfortable has become little more than a slogan for many in St. Paul. This accentuates the prominence of certain features of the festival that have a lower profile in Hutchinson.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival operates on two levels, that of performance and that of administration and organization. The St. Paul Winter Carnival Association is the body that is responsible for the official program of the event. Composed of a board of directors, a festival cabinet, an executive director, and a three-member professional staff, it handles thematic coordination, fundraising, publicity, and the scheduling of official Winter Carnival events. This is a year-round job, and much of it is behind the scenes.

For most residents of St. Paul, however, the distinctive features of Winter Carnival are the Royal Family and the Vulcans, two uniformed groups who enact the fifty-year-old festival legend during the last ten days of Winter Carnival 11 and who then travel all over Minnesota and beyond during the rest of the year. The Royal Family is composed of twenty-one members: King Boreas (the king of winter, and the ruler of Winter Carnival); his brothers, the Princes of the Winds (North, South, East, and West); the Queen of the Snows; the four Wind Princesses; the Prime Minister; the Captain of the Guard; and the nine King's Guards. The Royal Family makes over 150 appearances during the ten days, some public, some at Winter Carnival functions, and many at hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and other care facilities.

Opposing these rather stodgy guardians of winter and social order are the eight Vulcans and Vulcanus Rex, the fire king. The Vulcans dress in red running suits and capes, crested hoods, and ski goggles, and smear greasepaint on their cheeks and chins. Formerly renowned in St. Paul for their traditional practice of kissing women and smudging them with their greasepaint--the sooty symbol of the increasing power of the forces of warmth--the Vulcans now are permitted only to rub their faces against the cheeks of consenting women. The Vulcans are completely anonymous, both to the public and to one another: during the festival, they refer to one another by their "Vulcan names," such as the Prince of Ashes, Grand Duke Fertilious, or Baron Sparkus (also known as Sparky). The Vulcans are the most carnivalesque feature of Winter Carnival. They lodge together during the ten days they are active in the festival, ride around the city in an antique fire truck, make fun of the Royal Family, and engage in mock battles with them. Safe in their anonymity, the Vulcans, representing warmth and disorder, deconstruct the stuffed-shirt pomposity of the Royal Family and, by extension, the order they represent. At the end of every Winter Carnival, they make one final attack on the Royal Family and win. Winter has been defeated. The Vulcans are the popular favorites, universally recognized and cheered around the city. Two of my students had a chance to ride with the 1990 Vulcan Krewe on their fire truck for a few hours as they traveled to schools, nursing homes, hospitals, restaurants, and department stores. They reported that wherever in St. Paul they were--and they went through many of the city's neighborhoods--people honked their horns and waved, made the V-for-Vulcan sign, and shouted "Hail the Vulc!" As with everything carnivalesque, however, the Vulcans are not just safely domesticated figures of fun; they can be frightening and potentially dangerous. At night, leaping off the truck, capes flying, the powerful smell of alcohol enveloping them, running after women to smudge ; them even if the women object, they exude a whiff of the chaos that lies at the heart of carnivalesque disorder.

The uniformed groups are not officially part of the Winter Carnival Association. Each uniformed segment has its own alumni association, a fraternal order dedicated to choosing (sometimes) and supporting (always) the annual incumbent(s) of the role. So there are four wind organizations, the Order of the Royal Guard, the Star of Boreas, the Queens, the Churchill Club (for former Prime Ministers), and-- the most powerful, wealthiest, and best organized of all--Fire and Brimstone, for former Vulcans. There is also a women's division, which is the backbone of Winter Carnival and seems to be composed largely of wives of members of the uniformed groups, especially Fire and Brimstone. Each fraternal order has its own uniforms for different occasions, and produces emblems in the forms of buttons, embroidered patches, pins, and so on: some to sell, some to distribute to other uniformed groups or to the public, and some with which to adorn themselves. These groups are active throughout the year but the level of their social activities increases around the time of Winter Carnival. Many of the events they sponsor, dinners especially, are officially open to anyone who wants to attend and is willing to buy tickets. These dinners are expensive: several informants remarked that it could cost around a thousand dollars per couple to attend all of them. For example, the October fundraiser, called the Snow Ball, costs one hundred dollars per person. About five hundred people attend. The dinner that precedes the royal coronation, which features the introduction and investiture of the new male members of the Royal Family and the coronation of the new Queen of the Snows and the new princesses, costs fifty dollars per person. Slightly over a thousand people attended in 1990.

The jewelry, furs, clothing, hair styles, cars, deep tans, and so on that are on display at these events signal clearly that Winter Carnival is organized and performed by an elite. It takes money and position to be part of the core of Winter Carnival. All the members of the uniformed groups must be able to be absent from their jobs for ten days during the festival, and must have the freedom afterwards to make appearances on evenings and weekends (King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows now make over four hundred appearances a year). The King's Guards are men in their mid-to late twenties who can afford the $1,500 in uniforms, pins, lodging, food, and entertainment it will cost for the year. Vulcans are older and better established; it costs about $3,000 for a year on the Krewe. Vulcanus Rex, usually in his forties or early fifties, will normally spend about $15,000. The Prime Minister, usually a man in his early to mid-thirties, normally spends about $10,000. The Princes of the Winds are usually in their forties, and well-known and successful businessmen; they are chosen by their wind organizations. It costs at least $10,000 to be a Prince of the Wind. Boreas must be a man at the height of an executive career, in his late forties or early fifties, who is prepared to make an investment of upwards of $40,000. Frequently, the corporations for which these men work contribute to their support, sometimes substantially. 12

During Winter Carnival, the major players, including the chairman of the board and the president of the festival cabinet, chaperones for the queen and princesses, and all the uniformed characters, take up residence in three hotels in downtown St. Paul. One of these, the stately St. Paul Hotel, becomes the de facto center of the festival within the festival. As in Hutchinson, the St. Paul elite regularly congratulates itself for its festival activities, although it does so in a rather more spectacular style. The festival within the festival, which is concealed and almost furtive in Hutchinson, is openly, elaborately, vigorously, and joyously celebrated in St. Paul. As the doorman of the St. Paul Hotel remarked, "Those people know how to party."

For the people most deeply involved, the two weeks of Winter Carnival are a time of intense social activity and like a rite of intensification. Those in a given year's performance wing are in at least a liminoid period, approaching and perhaps reaching the truly liminal. 13 They are separated physically, emotionally, mentally, and in attire and activity from their everyday lives. They live what appears to most of them later to have been a dream of remarkable power and affect. For those who put on the festival, there are parties, meetings, events to attend and direct, and more parties. Those who are members of the fraternal organizations seem to be involved in a round of parties and events that never stops. A former Vulcan reviewed his schedule for one of the weeks with me. Every night was taken up with some Winter Carnival-related social activity: the Seventh Street Parade, a traditional Vulcan event that involves drinking in every bar along a street famous for the number of its bars; the reunion of Fire and Brimstone at the hotel to initiate and swear in the new Krewe the night before the Vulcan Coming-Out (an event for which my informant checked into the hotel to avoid the temptation to drive home and risk a DWI arrest); the reunion of his Krewe (this event with wives); the get-together that his Krewe always has with their successors; the Vulcan Conclave; a party for the parade street directors (he was the director for parades); the West Wind dinner; and the Torchlight Parade and Vulcan Victory Dance. While this man's schedule may have been a bit ore crowded than most, my students and I saw the same faces at any of the social events associated with Winter Carnival that we ere able to attend (which were by no means all of them).

This festival within the festival at Winter Carnival reflects, perhaps, the intensity of the experiences of the people who have performed in Winter Carnival. They have certainly created a social world that they find compelling and satisfying, and that extends beyond the specifics of Winter Carnival. In this, they are similar to the West Indians who celebrate Carnival in Notting Hill, discussed by Abner Cohen: "The two-day event is the culmination of months of preparation by various artistic groups, which over the years have become permanent cliques of friends, interacting in primary relationships that are not necessarily connected with the carnival.''14 The Winter Carnival people patronize one another's businesses. They vacation with one another. They marry one another. They have their own language of address and reference, their own kinship system (for example, the Princes of the Winds are brothers to Boreas, and men who have had the same Vulcan name in different years have been heard to refer to each other as "brother"), and even a lengthy formal protocol manual. Indeed, the president of the festival cabinet, a senior vice president at the St. Paul Companies, told me his response to friends who were asking why anthropologists were studying Winter Carnival: "We've created a culture here, with tribal differences and so on, and that's something anthropologists study."

The public performance itself, however, plays with symbols of domination and appropriation. The stress on the quintessential hierarchical figures of royalty provides one field for the expression of these symbols. The Royal Family dress in elaborate costumes that proclaim and catalogue hierarchy--the princes as an Oriental potentate, a Mexican charro, a wealthy cowboy complete with leather coat, silver buckle, and snakeskin boots, and a vaguely Tartarlike lord; the Prime Minister and King Boreas in the kind of military uniforms worn by modern European royalty, the king with his scepter, the queen and princesses in formal attire with crowns, and the King's Guards in military uniforms with braid. The language of subjects and rulers, of "our right royal city,' the knightings of worthy people 15 into the service of Boreas, the medals bestowed, the buttons distributed, the Captain of the Guard with his sword, and the guards themselves, who march in rhythmic step into every public setting, all provide an overwhelming image of political domination. The Landmark Center, the old federal courts building in St. Paul, now beautifully restored and a symbol of the city, becomes the King's Castle, and in the three-story atrium a dais is erected with two thrones (one for King Boreas and one for the Queen of the Snows). The Grande Day and Torchlight parades are the most popular Winter Carnival events in those years when an ice palace is not constructed. These parades are filled with floats carrying not just the Royal Family, but also members of the different fraternal orders. Most St. Paulites know that the members of the uniformed groups are wealthy, and they see that almost all the players are male and all are white. Here is an elite with very clear criteria for membership. Their festival performance suggests that they deserve this position, and they are not shy about advertising and celebrating the rightness of their dominion.

The Royal Family, in particular, has appropriated the right to speak for St. Paul. In speech after speech, King Boreas talks about the pleasure and honor of representing Winter Carnival and the city of St. Paul. In the promotional material, too, the same conflation is made. When the Royal Family travels to Winnipeg, Manitoba; Austin, Texas; Bradenton, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; or to small towns around the state, its members see themselves, and are referred to by their hosts, as representing not just the St. Paul Winter Carnival but St. Paul. This, in the context of present-day St. Paul, is problematic. The community ethos of St. Paul is one of pluralism, or at least involves an ideology of multiple communities and distinct neighborhoods. The celebration of domination and the claim of representativeness are contradicted by both the official ideology of the city and the everyday experience of its citizens. There are people who are aware of this contradiction; many of them belong to groups that do not see themselves in Winter Carnival. They, and others, reject or ignore details of Winter Carnival that are most important to the insiders. For example, the attendance by the general public at the coronation has been declining over the last few years. In 1990 there were fewer people in the free-admission balcony seats than there were on the main floor tables, which cost fifty dollars per person. Instead, the general public concentrated on those events that were urban entertainments--the snow-sculpture and ice-carving contests, the firebird and Russian Orthodox chapel created by the visiting Soviet ice carvers, and the parades.

But much less resentment was expressed to us by excluded citizens in St. Paul than we encountered in Hutchinson. In part, I believe, this is because the Vulcans represent an ironic counter to the Royal Family. The ordinary people of St. Paul can support the Vulcans, cheering them on as they poke fun at the Royal Family and sow a little disorder. It does not seem to matter that the Vulcans hardly differ from the Royal Family in background: white, male, wealthy, and on the way up (perhaps the sole difference is that the only Jews in Winter Carnival have been Vulcans). For the moment, the Vulcans represent the counterforce to the overly orderly world of King Boreas. 16 The resentment that people might feel toward the festival's organizers is deflected, although not erased, by the Vulcans. It is also true that the show that is put on in St. Paul is better than the show put on in Hutchinson, and for obvious reasons. The entire budget for the Hutchinson Water Carnival is the budget for one Winter Carnival parade in St. Paul. The scale of the organizations is hardly comparable; for example, the organizers of the St. Paul Winter Carnival arranged to bring in ice carvers from the Soviet Union in 1990 and from China in 1989. The St. Paul Winter Carnival also offers a wider range of events for different constituencies: from ski and snowshoe races and hockey tournaments to concerts, parades, dances, children's events, senior citizens' events, and a fun fair with midway, music, craft sales, concessions, displays, and more.

Nevertheless, as in Hutchinson and the small towns, the organizers of Winter Carnival do not speak with one voice. The executive director, a remarkable man named Bob Carter, as centrally located in Winter Carnival as it is possible to be, is keenly aware of many of the contradictions within Winter Carnival, and is working on strategies to do something about them without alienating the core of Winter Carnival people who have devoted an enormous amount of time and money to the festival and who have built their social lives around it. For example, following the 1990 coronation, he decided that the next year the princesses would no longer kneel in front of their princes to receive their crowns. He is also working to change the image of the Queen of the Snows from that of a virginal daughter of the community to that of a prominent St. Paul businesswoman, the female equivalent of King Boreas. Carter is aware that some people believe that Winter Carnival is just a fraternity party for rich white businessmen, and he is hoping to change that image by decentralizing the carnival: moving events into St. Paul's neighborhoods and inviting representatives of ethnic and racial groups to develop their own events under the carnival rubric. He is not alone in his assessment of Winter Carnival, but he does not represent the only voice within the carnival. There are many who like Winter Carnival just as it is, and some would quit if the festival changed much at all. Carter himself recognizes the multiple interpretations of Winter Carnival. He pointed out, in regard to his proposal to make the Queen of the Snows a prominent businesswoman, that for every woman who felt it was about time to make this change, there was at least one who swore that if it happened, she would never support Winter Carnival again.

The future of Winter Carnival is not, of course, something that the organizers alone will decide. It will also be shaped by the wider economic, political, and cultural changes that are going on in the community, and by the contested interpretations of these changes.

For example, changes in the economic base of St. Paul brought about by corporate restructuring and consolidation are affecting Winter Carnival. In contradistinction to both the small-town festivals and the Hutchinson Water Carnival, many, perhaps most, of the people who organize and perform in Winter Carnival are St. Paul natives. Growing up in the tradition, sometimes with fathers or grandfathers who had been part of Winter Carnival, many St. Paulites have come to see Winter Carnival as an important resource for their own social and business activities. But the changes in the economic structure of St. Paul have had an effect on Winter Carnival. Many formerly independent businesses have become part of larger corporations, and some of the larger corporations have moved their headquarters to Minneapolis, or have moved large segments of their workforces out of state. Of the three great St. Paul breweries that had been of signal importance to the festival over the years, Hamm's is gone, and both the Stroh's and Schmidt breweries have been taken over by larger beer conglomerates. In fact, during Winter Carnival this year, the city of St. Paul had to begin seriously to consider ways of keeping the Stroh's and Schmidt breweries from closing. The other side of the economic transformation is the development of "corporate suburbs," make up in large measure of people who have been transferred into the St. Paul area. While these people are expected to become involved civically, such localized civic activities as Winter Carnival may not be as attractive as national activities such as the United Way, the American Heart Association, and so on, membership in which is portable. Here is another challenge that Winter Carnival must face, and the strategies put in place now for attracting volunteers will shape the future of the festival.

The attempt to bring other groups and neighborhoods into the carnival itself is interpretable in several ways. On the one hand, it can be seen as a long-overdue recognition that Winter Carnival must, work actively to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, and that its claim to represent all of St. Paul rings hollow without the participation of other constituencies. But it can also be seen as conveying a kind of second-class citizenship on people who cannot afford to become part of the core of Winter Carnival people. It highlights the difficulty that Winter Carnival is having in finding people who can be seen as representative of these multiply-voiced communities in St. Paul. It can also be interpreted as an attempt to extend middle-class control outward into ethnic and working-class communities, 17 incorporating groups that already have their own festivals. But in diversifying the makeup of Winter Carnival, more volunteers are made available, and Winter Carnival must also respond to the changes in the corporate volunteer pool.

The growing litigiousness of American society has caused the Winter Carnival organizers to cancel, rethink, or replace several traditional, classic participatory Winter Carnival events, ranging from the ice palace (insurance companies would not write liability insurance except at an almost impossibly high cost; engineers and architects refused to "inspect" the construction, although they would "observe" it) and toboggan runs to ice slides for children. The effect of the loss or scaling-back of these events is felt in the declining public participation in Winter Carnival, which has been replaced with increased spectatorship.

There have also been attempts since the late 1970s to control carnivalesque disorder by limiting what the Vulcans can do. There is a clear ambiguity in the figure of the Vulcan, who represents freedom and challenges the domination of the "rulers" by attacking women. The simultaneous impact of the women's movement and the rise of litigiousness have led the Vulcans to feel beleaguered, and have forced them to "clean up their act." They have modified many of their traditional practices: for example, they no longer kiss and smudge all women they see; many of their traditional pranks that used to be directed toward the Royal Family are now directed from the outgoing to the incoming Krewe; and they are trying to shift public attention to their civic activities. But the public still expects the Vulcans to be as the public remembers them. Winter Carnival is sedimented in people's memories and in the history of St. Paul; the weight of that performance tradition also serves to control the performers. People would be disappointed if the Vulcans became too tame, however politically correct or legally prudent that might be. At the same time many members of Fire and Brimstone oppose the women's movement, decry the litigiousness of modern American society, and resent the changes that have been implemented or suggested. Some Vulcans on the street push at the edges of the changes, for example smearing women even if they protest.

The women's movement has also had an effect on the coronation ritual of the Royal Family. Formerly, the wives of the Princes of the Winds and Boreas were never even mentioned, let alone introduced during this ceremony. Today, members of the uniformed groups in Winter Carnival now formally recognize the contributions of wives to their husbands' role activities. In 1990, the wives of both the outgoing and incoming princes and kings even appeared on stage with their husbands. Let me take a moment to describe these scenes. Each outgoing fortyish prince and his twenty-two- or twenty-three-year-old princess came forward from the royal grouping at the back of the stage to receive recognition from the crowd. The prince's wife was then introduced and came onstage, joining her husband and his princess. She received a bouquet of roses from her husband, kissed him, and then leaned across him to embrace the princess. Together, all three, husband in the middle, acknowledged the cheers of the crowd. The incoming prince was then introduced and, with his wife, climbed the steps to the end of the runway, some twenty feet or more from the front of the stage. Husband and wife walked together about a third of the way to the stage, where they stopped and kissed. She returned to the steps and disappeared into the darkness. Her husband, the prince, continued forward to the stage, where a line of twenty young women, the contestants in the Queen of the Snows competition, waited. Moments later, he received his princess, who knelt before him to receive her crown from his hands.

To an anthropological observer, this ceremony looked like either a ritual of acceptance by a first wife of her husband's new wife in a polygynous society or, alternatively, the public bestowal of a subservient second (or "trophy") wife with at least the tacit approval of the senior wife. I do not want to suggest that the organizers wished to achieve this problematic, tension-producing, awkward outcome; far from it. I do wish to point out, however, in traditional anthropological, terms, how their good-faith attempts at change can produce unexpected results, and how the serious pursuit of change in women's roles is bound to affect the structure of Winter Carnival at levels the organizers; might not have anticipated. The modified coronation ceremony was, after all, designed to reflect positively the contemporary, egalitarian model of husband-wife relations, and to recognize explicitly the wife's contribution. Yet it had quite the opposite effect, throwing into sharp relief the conflicts, especially in the marriages of successful men, between their duty to their wives and their attraction to an image of themselves as having earned the right to appear in public with beautiful young women on their arms. The conflict was certainly present in the performance, and was obvious to more observers than just the anthropologist.

In conclusion, the public culture created by community festivals is a contested and contestable culture, a field of both political and cultural forces, constituted by events satisfying different tastes and subject to the play of varying interests. But festivals as public events par excellence are accented by the communities in which they are found. The social ties in Minnesota communities are fragile and contingent. In small towns, these ties must be nurtured and protected, for divisiveness is a danger to the community's survival as a more or less coherent entity. The people who remain earnestly support the communitarian ideology, avoiding the corrosive irony of carnival. 18 This ideology is plausible and necessary because the town is small. A midsized town such as Hutchinson is sufficiently diverse and divided that the communitarian ideology is both implausible and less vital for the life of the city. But this leads to a split in the city that the festival makes plain. In a large city such as St. Paul, a monolithic communitarian ethos is both implausible and unachievable, and the festival's potential for making visible and "thinkable" the sharp divisions within the city is shaped and colored by the presence of the Vulcans. The Vulcans do not deny the divisions, they incarnate them. But the dialogue is formalized in play--there are antagonisms, but nobody gets hurt. Beyond that, Boreas and the Vulcans appear to form a necessary combination. Neither makes sense without the other, and the outcome of their struggle creates the image of a playing field that is truly level. After all, even though the Vulcans triumph at the end of Winter Carnival, by the next January Boreas is back on his throne and the Vulcans must break out once again. Abner Cohen points out that "carnivals are irreducible cultural forms, but, like all other cultural forms, are seldom free of political significance. They range in their political functions from the maintenance of the established order, serving as 'rituals of rebellion', to the articulation of protest, resistance and violence against that order. The same carnival may vary in its politics over time." 19 I wish to suggest that they may speak with and to more than one voice at the same time and that, indeed, this loophole is the dialogic potential at the heart of public culture.


This paper is based on research that I began in the summer of 1981, when I began directing the St. Cloud State University field school in cultural anthropology. Field schools in the summers of 1983, 1985, and 1987 provided much additional data, as did the winter 1990 field school at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Intensive research at seven festivals during the summer of 1984 was made possible by an NEH summer stipend. My thanks go to the many students who have worked with me on these field schools. Great thanks are also particularly due to the organizers of and participants in the eighteen festivals I have studied. We have valued their generous hospitality and openness. In the past, community members who have read my work on their festivals have told me that it seemed right to them. In this essay, my voice joins, but sometimes contends with, theirs. In various stages of this research, I have been much influenced by discussions with Don Handelman and James Fernandez. The present essay has benefited much from discussions I have had with Richard Flores and Jack Kugelmass. Ivan Karp has been of signal importance to the development of this work, both generally and specifically. My greatest intellectual debt is, as always, to Emily Schultz, whose incisiveness and insight strengthened both fieldwork and writing.

1. My claims here are limited solely to the eighteen Minnesota festivals about which I have direct knowledge. Nevertheless, it is clear from the literature that this assertion is true for many other festivals in the United States. See especially Frederick Errington, "Reflexivity Deflected: The Festival of Nations as an American Cultural Performance " American Ethnologist 14, no. 4 (1987), 654-67; Beverly Stoeltje, "Cultural Queens: Modernization and Representation" (paper presented at the 1987 annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Play, Montreal); Richard M. Swiderski, Voices: An Anthropologist's Dialogue with an Italian-American Festival (London, Ontario: Centre for Social and Humanistic Studies, University of Western Ontario, 1986); and W. Lloyd Warner, The Living and the Dead: A Study of the Symbolic Life of Americans (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959).

2. In their 1966 study of Benson, Minnesota, a county seat of some 4,000 people, Martindale and Hanson list the following self-reported occupational categories: farmer, 5; laborer, 9; white-collar worker, 5; professional, 25; businessman, 18; other, 15; total, 77. Even if the "other" category is not included in the middle class, nearly two-thirds of the sample is still in the same basic social category. Benson's own planning report from 1961 categorizes sixty percent of all male employees as proprietors, officials, managers, foremen, and craftsmen (Don Martindale and R. Galen Hanson, Small Town and the Nation: The Conflict of Local and Translocal Forces [Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1969], 70,94-95).

3. Lynn Brink, course essay for Honors 310 Folklore, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn., 1988. Back

4. Robert H. Lavenda, "Family and Corporation: Two Styles of Celebration in Central Minnesota" in Frank E. Manning, ea., The Celebration of Society: Perspectives on Contemporary Cultural Performance (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1983), and "Community Festivals, Paradox, and the Manipulation of Uncertainty" Play and Culture 4, no. 2 (1991),153-68; Robert H. Lavenda et al., "Festivals and the Organization of Meaning: An Introduction to Community Festivals in Minnesota" in Brian Sutton-Smith and Diana Kelly-Byrne, eds., The Masks of Play (West Point, N.Y.: Leisure Press, 1984).

5. The county fairs are the alternative festival for farmers, who are sometimes quite explicit on this point.

6. In my experience, festivals with ethnic names in Minnesota are no different from festivals with product names, or geographic-feature names. Kolacky Days is not much different from Turkey Days, and both are quite similar to Waterama.

7. Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action, and Interpretation, ed. and trans. John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1981).

8. There are many other towns in which the Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, or similar service club organizes the festival. My observation is that the people in these organizations who run festivals are much more interested in them than are the Hutchinson Jaycees, who seem to put on the Water Carnival because they are supposed to. These organizations are not age grades, and members who enjoy putting on festivals can continue to work in the organization for many years.

9. This is not to suggest that bankers in small towns do not deny loans or foreclose on farm mortgages. They do. But on the one hand, they are much closer to many of their clients, and frequently have multiplex social connections to them. On the other hand, small-town bankers do make loans to people to whom bankers less enmeshed in a community would deny loans. Small-town banks sometimes get into financial trouble because their loan of officers find it very difficult to say no or to foreclose.

10. This count is accurate for the crowd at the moment the first units passed each block. Two students counted the entire parade route, staying even with the flags. The remaining eight students each took a detailed demographic count on half of the blocks along the parade route. Their totals are very close to half the total of the first, general count.

11. Winter Carnival is of officially twelve days long, beginning on a Wednesday, but the new Royal Family is inaugurated two days later, on Friday night. The new Vulcan Krewe "comes out" early the following Saturday morning.

12. For Boreas and Vulcanus Rex, the major expenses tend to be formal dinners for their supporters, which they underwrite. There are also the expenses associated with travel. Boreas is expected to pay for some of the expenses of his court, especially the Queen of the Snows, when they are on the road. He also invests in commemorative medals, coins, certificates, three uniforms, and so on.

13. A student in the field school remarked to me that, earlier in the project, after having read Turner, Manning, and others on the concepts of liminal and liminoid, she hadn't believed that either really existed in contemporary urban society. Then she spent a night with the queen's chaperone in the St. Paul Hotel and the next day with the Royal Family. "Now I know it exists," she told me.

14. Abner Cohen, "Drama and Politics in the Development of a London Carnival" Man 15, no. 1 (1980),66.

15. Even anthropologists, who become Royal Researchers.

16. This same irony is found in the Marx Brothers' masterwork, Duck Soup. If we accept as convincing Ivan Karp's argument about the film ("Good Marx for the Anthropologist: Structure and Anti-structure in Duck Soup, " in W. Arens and Susan Montague, eds., The American Dimension [Sherman Oaks, Calif.: Alfred,1981]), viewers identify with the Marx Brothers in their assault on the etiquette of public occasions and hierarchy, and as a result, the viewers' own private and inchoate experience of those structures is given form, legitimated, and transformed. At the time the film was made, in 1933, the Marx Brothers were immensely wealthy and famous, living in Hollywood, and a long way from the characters they played on screen.

17. John Fiske, Understanding Popular Culture (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 70-81.

18. Robert H. Lavenda, "Not Carnival But Fellowship: Communitas and Community in Minnesota Festivals," paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C., 1988.

19. Cohen, "Drama and Politics," 83.