Roche de Bouef Festival, Waterville, Ohio
This past October, a friend and I ventured to the nearby village of Waterville, Ohio, to attend what she described as “a weird festival in a town like Stars Hollow.” As a lifelong Gilmore Girls fan (let’s all pretend that A Year in the Life never existed, shall we?), I was immediately intrigued.
Besides, I had nothing better to do.
Thus, it was off to Waterville we went.
We were going for something called the Roche de Bouef Festival. I had no idea what Roche de Bouef meant, or why they were celebrating it, but hey, festivals are usually fun.
Upon arriving in Waterville, we meandered through a very confusing and not very thematic festival through the small, cute town that did indeed resemble Stars Hollow. There were vendors and events, but nothing seemed to make sense.
What was this Roche de Bouef, anyway? And why were they celebrating it?
I also couldn’t help but notice that everyone was white. I did not see one person of color. And that there were a lot of Trump signs. A vendor was selling some anti-Hillary paraphernalia. Coming from my liberal little bubble in Toledo, this was a bit disconcerting.
We walked by this cute building called the Columbian House which I dutifully took a few photos of just so I could post them on Instagram and look cool.
Check one of ’em out in its filtered glory.
After having circled the festival, my friend and I decided to find out what this Roche de Bouef thing actually was. Maybe then, we’d be able to glean some insight into why they were having this nonsense festival for it. So we drove down towards the other thriving metropolis of Grand Rapids, following the muddy Maumee River, until we found signs on the side of the road indicating that the Roche de Bouef was in sight!
I learned that Roche de Bouef means “Rock of Beef” or “Buffalo Rock” – in French, I think. I’m not sure what sounds better, but let’s just stick with Buffalo Rock. We kept staring out into several lime outcroppings in the river, expecting something great and grand—
And learned that the Beef Rock—the one that the city of Waterville had their festival for each year, a “legendary sacred meeting site” for Native Americans, a pivotal point for the 1794 Battle of the Fallen Timbers—
The one we hiked a mile to see—
HAD BEEN BLOWN UP BY SOME WHITE CAPITALIST DUDES (a.k.a, Lima-Toledo Traction Company) IN 1907 TO BUILD A RAILROAD BRIDGE.
I have to admit, the bridge actually looked pretty cool—much cooler than the stupid Buffalo Rock, anyway—but I couldn’t help but wonder why this rock had been so special to be commemorated in a festival but not special enough to be saved from being blasted to smithereens to build some damn bridge?
Perhaps Waterville’s festival should probably be renamed as “1/3 of Buffalo Rock Festival” since that’s all that remains of this (shall I remind you?) SACRED MEETING SITE or the “Proof White Men Didn’t Give A F about Native Americans Festival.”
A little more catchy, don’t you think?