8–16-08 Lin­coln Park, Lau­rel­ton, PA poster by Chris Shaw

8/16/08 Moonalice poster by Chris ShawAugust 16, 2008 Lin­coln Park, Lau­rel­ton, Pennsylvania
Moon­al­ice poster by Chris Shaw

Wikipedia has no entry for Lau­rel­ton, PA. We find this dis­ap­point­ing, as Lau­rel­ton clearly deserves an entry. The place has a smoky Moon­al­ice charm. For­tu­nately, the Moon­al­ice leg­end can tell us what we need to know about Laurelton.

Accord­ing to Moon­al­ice leg­end, the Juras­sic period saw some unusual dinosaurs around Lau­rel­ton. Our favorite was the Brown Nose, Blue Haired Cross-Eyed Pota­pus. This giant her­bi­vore was an eat­ing machine, but its diet con­sisted entirely of hemp. It spent its day in the hemp fields, chew­ing intently. When it was full, the Pota­pus would pause for a few min­utes, which led to seri­ous munchies, after which the Pota­pus would go back to lunch. Every morn­ing, the Pota­pus would poop out masses of hard black crys­tals to clear the decks for another day of eat­ing. Unfor­tu­nately, hemp is a sea­sonal crop in cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia, which caused the Brown Nose, Blue Haired Cross-Eyed Pota­pus to die off every win­ter. The Pota­pus didn’t last in Penn­syl­va­nia, but the car­casses decayed over the mil­len­nia, leav­ing behind huge pools of light sweet crude. Pota­pus poop, of course, turned into anthracite coal.

Accord­ing to Moon­al­ice leg­end, the tribe’s neme­sis is a creepy fig­ure called Red Barns. Red was the old­est of three Barns broth­ers, and by far most vio­lent. Brother Whitey was pretty ran­dom — some­times good, some­times not — but the third brother, Smokey Barns, was a good soul. All three are immor­tal. Whitey and Smokey have tried for cen­turies to pro­tect the Moon­al­ice tribe from the evil brother, Red. The bat­tle rages on in rural areas across the coun­try. Each side col­ors its bat­tle­ments dis­tinc­tively. The ones at Bear’s Pic­nic are smoky yel­low, a clear sign that this fes­ti­val is under the pro­tec­tion of Smoky Barns. But don’t get over­con­fi­dent. Avoid Red Barns. You’ll find no empa­thy there.

Did you know that August 16 is Xico­latada? We thought not. It’s a tra­di­tional fes­ti­val cel­e­brated only in a vil­lage in Cat­alo­nia. It has been a rite of sum­mer for over 300 years.

Accord­ing to Wikipedia, August 15 — it seems like only yes­ter­day — was once a fes­ti­val day in Cat­alo­nia, and the locals in the vil­lage were known to drink quite a bit, to the point that many still felt ill the fol­low­ing morn­ing. Wikipedia goes on to say that the vil­lage choco­latier would offer the peo­ple a hot choco­late to ease the pain, as he claimed cocoa was an excel­lent rem­edy. Over the years, this act of char­ity grew into a cus­tom, and even­tu­ally a munic­i­pal asso­ci­a­tion was formed to remem­ber the tra­di­tion and to orga­nize the dis­tri­b­u­tion of hot choco­late every year on August 16, at pre­cisely 11 in the morn­ing. It sounds real enough, but that can’t be the whole story. What hap­pened to the party on the 15th? We need to con­sult the Moon­al­ice leg­end. The hot choco­late was not a headache rem­edy. It was a cure for the munchies. The Cat­alo­nia tribe treated hang­over the way they treated every­thing else: with heavy smok­ing of local hemp products.

Xico­latada appe­qrs to have a dis­cor­dian ele­ment. While the date is always the same, the orga­niz­ers mess with the cal­en­dar some­how so that no one knows in advance when choco­late day is com­ing. Quite log­i­cally, the local Moon­al­ice tribe smokes con­tin­u­ously, because they never want to be caught unprepared.




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