I was talking with a Townie at the grocery store this week and he asked me if this was Lifest Week in Oshkosh. I told him that Lifest did start on Thursday, and he said "I guess that means we have to avoid Jackson Street then and the Pick n Save on the northside." And that sparked a conversation about how most cities have a certain part of town you try to avoid--but here in Oshkosh, that area moves around--depending on what event is going on in Event City.
For instance, the first week of January you want to avoid the YMCAs in town because they are being overrun with the "new members" who are finally going to work out and lose weight this year. (Fortunately, that lasts only about ten days--and then you can easily find a machine or space on the track to get in a run.)
Then in mid-February, you have to stay away from the lakeside bars--unless you enjoy seeing big, ugly dead sturgeon hanging up all over the place--and you want to hear endless versions of how "I had just turned away from looking in the hole to get another shot and then there he was!!"
In mid-April you want to avoid Main Street because this might be the year that Spring Pub Crawl turns into a riot--complete with tear gas, fire bombs and armored personnel carriers rolling through the streets.
Around Mothers' Day, you want to stay at least a mile away from the lake--unless you enjoy getting lake flies in your eyes, and in your nose, and in your ears, and in your mouth, and down the front of your shirt.
At the end of May, you have graduation at UWO--so you have to stay away from the campus area.
In mid-June, you avoid Highway 41 south of the causeway and Highway 44 and Highway 26--along with the frontage roads and outlet mall and any store that carries beer, boots and booze because of Country USA--unless you like following jacked up pickup trucks spraying mud all over the place.
Then 4th of July week, you stay away from Menominee Park because of Sawdust Days--except for the night of the fireworks.
As I mentioned before, in mid-July you avoid the northside of town because of Lifest.
Then a week after that, Rock USA rolls in--and you avoid the far southside of town again.
At the end of July and early August, everybody just gets out of town to avoid EAA.
Then at the end of August, the college kids come back--so you have to avoid the campus area again.
And in October, there's another Pub Crawl--so you have to avoid the area around Main Street again in case of looting and mayhem.
That's a pretty impressive list of things to avoid in Oshkosh every year. It's a wonder we can keep it all straight.