DISPATCH FROM THE NEPTUNE FESTIVAL

It's a good place to watch people, I'll say that. If you're not a fan of gaily painted pelican sculptures or middle-aged white bands playing "I Will Survive" or revolutionary foot-massaging insoles or deep-fried chocolate-covered turkey legs, then you'll have to settle for people-watching. Unless you make it all the way up to the Belvedere Coffee Shop, where you can bask in some Beach authenticity.

Don't let the Duck People scare you (although I'm told they're anarchists). Most visitors did not have mayhem in mind. They were content to enjoy the sunshine and converse amiably in a soothing surf-like babble, punctuated frequently by women yelling at their Biblically-named sons not to get too far ahead. In the midst of this sea of humanity by the sea, I ran into Dr. Research and Artmark and Harry Moore, which is kind of remarkable, like finding an Indian-head nickel on the beach.