This is an exciting week in Morgantown, in which every single local politician who repeatedly loses their mind about student (mis)behavior suddenly encourages the very same anti-social behavior from adults. Yep: it’s time for MountainFest!
A now annual event in and around Morgantown, MountainFest is what happens when adults have mid-life crises and decide that everybody around them ought to pay for it, whether it’s aurally when idiots rev their engines for the millionth time or practically when we’re forced to sit through seemingly endless parades, MountainFest allows for a shocking display of hypocrisy on the behalf of every local politician who whines and complains about West Virginia University’s student body.
Remember the utter meltdown about WVU’s “Schmacked” video? Local politicians hemmed and hawed, worried about student behavior and swearing on a stack of bibles that those responsible would be punished, whatever the hell that meant. Then, three months later, when WVU’s students are gone, those same officials - the ones who turned red-in-the-face at the notion that students would cut loose on an unseasonably warm St. Patrick’s Day (a party any breathing human being could see coming from 14 miles away, unless that human being was in a position of power within Monongalia County) - celebrate the arrival of thousands of bikers whose respect for the city is functionally absent. And rather than bar the damn gates like any reasonable locality would, city officials will welcome these mid-life crises with open arms. Free parking? Absolutely. Revving engines for hours at a time in neighborhoods? No problem. Clogging city streets and creating massive traffic snarls? More please!
The festival’s organizers, of course, hold local officials by the throat on this issue, wondering what they’d do if this precious festival went elsewhere. Do those local officials really want to be responsible for all that lost income? Do those local officials really want to be responsible for all that lost opportunity? Do those local officials really want to stand in the way of 50-year-olds desperate to be 25-year-olds again?
And right on cue, local officials respond meekly, “No, of course not! Come to our town! Inconvenience our citizens! Ruin an entire weekend! Park for free while you’re doing it! We’ll make up all of the money that we’re going to have to plunge into policing this madness from those same citizens who we would never allow to do any of the same things, especially the students who live here for nine-months out of the year and who contribute far more to the local economy than these one-weekend-per-year-ers do!”
Needless to say, I’m not asking for anything unreasonable. I’m asking for local officials to recognize this horrid inconvenience to the rest of us, the ones who actually populate the city that these crises treat as their own little playground for 72 nauseating hours. Perhaps an personal apology from every local politician who enthusiastically welcomes these people, as well as a week of free downtown parking, and a list of home addresses where I can go at 3:00 in the morning to play music at the loudest volume that I’m capable of achieving (which will likely remain several decibels under what the bikers themselves manage).