In his home city of Vladivostok, festivals marked the progression of the year. There was an entire cycle dedicated to seafood, ranked in order of when the fishing ships returned to harbour: scallops in July, king crabs in October, cod in November, smelt fish in January, mussels in May, and so many more. This was the first year that Dmitry would be missing out on most of those events, and it was a small thing but also very disappointing to him. He always liked getting to finish his lessons early and wander around the markets, sneaking samples fresh off the massive street fryers, bits of shell crunching underfoot. He had tried requesting a crab dinner in the Rocky Mountain dining-hall one day, and it tasted good enough, but it wasn’t the same as the feasts prepared by the kitchen staff at home.
...Also he had kept noticing stares from some of the other students sitting nearby, which made it hard to enjoy his dinner. It was like they had never cracked open a crab claw before! Weird.
There were some other events at home that were more religion-motivated, and as a result automatically less interesting to him, but they still had some fun elements. Right before Lent there was Maslenitsa, a huge gathering in the city centre with bonfires and blini and contests that anyone could join. Once, his uncle Kašpar won the ice-pole-climbing-contest; he was very strong so that was not surprising, but he hadn’t known that the traditional prize was a live rooster, and Dmitry had just about fallen over laughing at the look on his uncle’s face when he was handed the squawking bird. Or on Orthodox New Year, everyone took mass and then went for prayers on the waterfront before someone smashed a hole in the ice and they all jumped in, sometimes fully clothed. Well, everyone except for Dmitry’s family, and most of the other Purebloods, and okay it was really mostly a Muggle thing. It was still fun to watch, though. One day he wanted to try it for himself, just to see what all the excitement was about. The water couldn’t be that cold if Muggles could do it without any heating charms, right?
Anyways, all of that was to say that Dmitry had been to a lot of festivals. But he had never been to something like this. When he’d asked his roommate Nathan what a carnival was, the other boy had given a vague answer about rides and games and food. The closest thing Dmitry could imagine was kind of a combination of fish markets and the Chinese New Year parade, so he dressed with that in mind - long woolen shirt with decorative embroidery on the wrists and hem, with a red scarf pulled snug around his neck that matched his favourite red pants, and of course plenty of coins in his pocket and a good pair of gloves.
When he arrived on Pearl Street, the first thing he noticed was that no one else was dressed like he was, although they were all dressed differently from each other too so he didn’t feel like he was standing out. The next thing he noticed was the gaudy coloured attractions, the strong smell of greasy food, and a wooden roller coaster (a concept he was familiar with, but had never seen in person) looming overhead at the end of the street. All that the boy could do was gape for a long moment before a grin spread across his face.
Obviously, he had to do the roller coaster first. (He wanted to stop at every one of the food stalls he passed, too, but if eating before swimming was a bad idea, he figured eating before roller coaster-ing had to be a worse idea.) As he approached Dmitry felt a little intimidated - it was even taller close-up, and making some very suspicious noises as the cars clattered along, and had a loop where it looked like the cars could fall right off and smash into the ground, and also everyone was screaming - but at the same time it wasn’t any more intimidating than playing Quidditch for the first time, probably. Joining the line, hazel eyes staring wide up at the creaky wooden beams, Dmitry startled when someone spoke from behind him. “Oh, da!” he agreed immediately as he turned around and saw it was one of the older boys from his classes. There were two of them who looked the same and were both called Jay, which made it easy to remember. “I ‘ave never done a roller coaster before. Do people always scream so much?”