This is a heads-up on a fun Lao cultural festival hald outside Warrenton in Catlett, VA on July 4, 5, and 6. We braved the blazing sun last year and had a ball. The purpose of the celebration is, I believe, the dedication of a new Buddha statue which gets put onto a pickup decked out like a homecoming float and is paraded around the grounds. Lots of beautiful traditional clothes and Lao folks from as far away as NC.
The Chowhound purpose of the festival lies in the field behind the Wat--a huge ring of vendors selling all kinds of grilled meats, sticky rice, papaya salad--not a lot of vegetarian options but a blast for us asbestos-mouthed carnivores. Also SE Asian produce and unusual culinary herb plants for sale. I bought lime leaves for the freezer last year which I am STILL using. Everything very cheap, but cash only. One caveat: the owner of our local Thai restaurant goes every year but says refrigeration isn't always great--go early in the festival, if possible. She got a tummy bug last year.
I'll be wearing my Chowhound shirt this year and hope to see some others there! (Bring water and something to sit on and grab a spot in the shade where the sensible Lao sit.)
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