Prepper Fest 2014Posted: March 23, 2014
Yesterday Bill and I went to Prepperfest. No, not pepper fest, PREPPER FEST. You know, where all the folks who believe the end of civilization is looming on the horizon congregate to see the latest in survival gear. I don’t know why we went. Curiosity? Boredom? So I’d have something new to blog about? Regardless of the reason, it was quite an interesting experience.
As we entered the fairgrounds expo building we were faced with row after row of tables, booths and kiosks. The variety of survival gear was truly amazing. First aid supplies went all the way from a box of Band-Aids and a bottle of iodine to full-blown triage kits, complete with stretchers and gurneys. Water storage came as small as individual 8 ounce plastic pouches and graduated to include 5 gallon bladders, 50 gallon drums and, ultimately, to a 100 gallon fiberglass tank that connected directly to the water line hook-up to your washer or hot water heater. Bug Out bags came in compact fanny-pack sizes, rugged medium to large backpacks (one designed specifically for women), and culminated in escape trailers that were equipped with stoves, solar panels, tents, medical kits and more. There were collapsible bikes with companion fold up carts and cabooses, and electric bikes that were powered by peddling or through solar charging stations.
The thing that interested us the most though was the wide variety of survival food. Our fascination may, however, have been driven by hunger because we’re dieting and all we think about is eating. We went from vendor to vendor, sampling home canned pickles, sauerkraut, and zucchini, dried strawberries, grapes and pineapple, canned turkey, beef and pork, dehydrated shepherd’s pie, mac and cheese, and Crème Brule. Most of the stuff seemed to taste pretty good. Or else we were hungrier that we thought (note the diet reference above).
We made a stop a one enthusiastic vendor that corralled us into listening to his exuberant spiel on the advantages of purchasing his meal packs. His name was Mike and he was an ex-marine, about 6’3” with muscles everywhere, even, I’m sure, in place I could only imagine. So rudely ignoring him and walking away didn’t seem like a wise idea.
He proceeded to tout the benefits of his product over the competition. We listened politely, mostly out of fear, but also because he kept tempting us with food samples. He almost had us hooked into buying a $350 plastic tub that contained a couple of months’ worth of meals until he started elaborating on the details of the drawing they were having at the end of the show.
“….and for every $50 you spend you get a ticket into our raffle. The first prize is a month’s worth of food!!” Mike exclaimed.
OK, that sounds pretty good, I thought. Our $350 bucket of meals is 7 entries.
“…and there are two second prizes. A week of survival training!!!” he proclaimed proudly. “And not in a classroom. Out in the woods in the mountains north of here.”
“Oh? A weekend of survival training?” Bill said, trying to sound interested instead of terrified. “In the woods?”
“No, not a weekend. I said a WEEK,” Mike continued, nodding enthusiastically. “We leave Monday morning and get back Friday night. And take two days of food and water to get us started.”
“What do you do for food the other three days?” Bill asked meekly, a deep look of concern crossing face.
“There’s nothing to worry about, you’d be with professionals. We’re all ex-marines and Navy SEALS,” he said, trying to sound reassuring. “As a matter of fact,” he continued, “one of the guys in the group has done three tours in Afghanistan, and another guy, an ex-SEAL, was responsible for upgrading the BUD/S training manual to reflect new survival techniques.”
“Oh wow, that sounds awesome” Bill squeaked out, throwing me a sideways help-me-get-out-of-this look.
I grabbed Bill’s arm and began to pull him away from Mike’s large booth. “Well, we just got here so we’re going to look around some more before we decide, “I inserted. “Besides, we don’t want to have to carry buckets of food around the exposition.”
“Not a problem. Didn’t I tell ya?” he yelled as we walked rapidly down the aisle. He grabbed a bucket in each hand and began performing arm curls. “We’ll carry it out to the car for you.”
We dodged around a solar oven display and hung a left by the Taser, Tear Gas and Self Protection exhibit before Bill stopped and turned to me. “Well, he had a sale until he started talking about the second prize. If I put my short, fat, 65 year old body out in the woods for a week with ex-marines and ex-SEALS, I know I wouldn’t be coming back.”
“Ha! I wouldn’t last the first day, much less a week,” I laughed. “You’d have to stay alive just to carry my cold lifeless body out of the woods.”
By the time we left, we’d settle for a tin of dried yogurt bites, a package of buffalo jerky, and a jar of homemade dill pickles. We figured if we needed more than that to survive, life probably wouldn’t be worth living.