Friday, August 29, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 18

The State Fair Edition, continued
I attended ten of the twelve days of the Indiana State Fair. Days one-six were reviewed on the last issue.
Indiana State Fair - day seven
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And on the seventh day she rested...actually I worked too late to make it to the fairgrounds. Even with my rabid love the fair, I couldn't justify going at 9:30 p.m. I did do a drive by, just to make sure the Ferris Wheel was still turning with out my supervision

Indiana State Fair – day eight
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I had really been looking forward to this night at the fair. Garrison Keillor’s Rhubarb Tour was in town and I’d invited my friend, Kipp to go with me.
Kipp and I took a lap around the fairgrounds. Believe it or not, but there was a building I had not been in yet. The Farm Bureau Building housed a giant diorama of farm scene.
We had a grand time looking at tractors, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and corn on the cob and pointing out our favorite things about the fair.

I always enjoy the Rhubarb Tour variety show. This year’s version featured the very talented singer Suzy Bogguss.

The real highlight of the evening for me was how wonderful the weather was. I was really enjoying hearing the sounds of the fair layered with the music from the show. The sunset was amazing and there was a nice breeze wafting through the grandstand. It was defiantly one of those close to God moments for me—the overwhelming feeling that washes over me occasionally, realizing how amazing this world and my life is.

We were pretty far from the stage. I realize how spoiled I am about being able to see bands up close. Not because I always have great seats, but because I’m usually only a handful of people in the audience. The pedal steel player, Joe Savage was excellent. I was happy to see such a big crowd – and I challenge them to go see live music in the next month.

I’ve never had a funnel cake and we searched the Midway for a stand. The one we found had a funky smell surrounding it. I can justify the smell of poo near the swine barn, but not on the midway.

I've had my photograph taken in the bee ride at the fair before, but I've never been happy with them. I always feel too self-conscious on a kiddle ride in broad daylight. I know they guy running the ride thought we were a little nuts. Kipp did a great job of snapping a ton of photographs.

We wound up with an elephant ear, instead of a funnel cake, which was just fine by me. Fried pillowy doughy goodness. Slathered with butter and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. And when I say dusted I don’t mean a delicate dusting, I mean laying it on thick dusting. And it was delicious.
I suggested that we get an extra elephant ear to take to Lana at the Red Key.
Once there, I suggested a post-fair drink. I was telling a story, ironically about talking with my hands and someone who openly mocks me for that. As I was making the point that I don’t really talk with my hands I knocked my drink – with a sweeping hand motion, into Kipp’s lap. It was a perfect shot. 
Kipp was charming and didn't make a big deal about it. I've been practicing sitting on my hands and talking. It’s not going very well.

Indiana State Fair – day nine
Thursday, August 14, 2008

I took Thursday off to go to the fair with best-friend-since-we-were-six-years -old, Ann Herr Mitchell. We walked down the trail catching up on life. We had pretty much solved the world’s problems by the time we got to the fairgrounds.
We walked around; stopping at the Ball State Ag/Hort building to look at patio stone, checked out the cheese sculpture in the Pioneer Hi-Bred Our Land Pavilion, looked at the paintings in the Home and Family Arts building and the new bridge.
Annie and I caught the lumberjack show. It was great. I’m sure our good time had to do with the sunshine and goofy jokes. The physique of the lumberjacks had absolutely nothing to do with it. Swear. After all, the theme of the fair was “Year of the Trees.” We were just being patriotic.
We had one goal for the day: to ride an elephant. I’ll admit to snubbing of the circus area earlier in the fair. I’m a purist. What does the circus have to do with Indiana? As it turns out --a lot. The International Circus Hall of Fame is located in Peru (pronounced PEA-roo) Indiana. The elephant ride was a blast. I got the better end of the deal – Ann sat on the bony end of the elephant. How cool is that? Ann Herr and I rode an elephant. Of all of the adventures our little Nancy Drew hearts dreamed of, riding an elephant was not even on our radar. The most exotic we ever got was reading Nancy Drew's The Mystery of the Ivory Charm.

After the ride, the sky started looking ominous. Ann and I grabbed a snow cone and walked down the trail to my house. We made it to my backyard before the rain started. It’s a good thing we didn’t get to wet, ‘cause we’re both liable to melt.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I took a break from the state fair, for a good cause. Sausagefest is a fundraiser for Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. And I must say it is the most fun that I've had on a parochial school playground since, well, ever. I was not good at recess or kickball or any of that kid stuff. I was too busy wiping my nose on my sleeve and trying to be invisible when I was young.

As it turns out, everything is more fun with Guinness and sausage! And consuming it on the playground feels twice as naughty.

I really had a great time. I ran in to folks that I have not seen since the CATH coffeehouse closed four years ago. I got to catch up with old customers and their kids.

The music was terrific. I finally had a chance to hear Bill Rumley. He plays acoustic guitar and sings. He is great and I’m sorry that it took me seven years to catch up with his music. Tim Brickley and Scott Sanders were joined by Sausagefest music coordinator, Kevin Strunk for part of their set. Tim is a great singer and songwriter and it was a treat to see him in that setting. Tim owns Hit City Recording Studio, where I used to have my coffeehouse office. It is strange to go from seeing someone almost every day for seven years to just a couple of times a year. I need to catch up with Tim at D’Vine Wine Bar soon.

Gary Wasson and Cara Jean Wahlers sounded amazing, their harmonies are fabulous. Cara is always a treat to hear, and I swear she just keeps getting better and better. They played as the sun was setting. Gary and Cara play the perfect twilight music, just beautiful.

The duo Buckdancer’s Choice - Kevin Strunk and Dave Duvall are always great. Mandolin, guitar and great songs are always a hit. Guitar player and singer Mark Proctor closed the evening. Mark is playing the Broad Ripple Farmers Market in October but it was the first time I’d heard him. Great big voice – very fun set.

Indiana State Fair – day eleven
Saturday, August 16, 2008

I was on a mission with this trip to the fair. I was there for the express purpose of getting dinner for my Red Key pals.

This has become an annual tradition and I have it down to a science. I hopped on my bike at 4:10 and was walking in to the fair at 4:25 with cash, a cloth bag and a plan.

First stop: The Pork Tent for two pork chop sandwiches. Next stop: The Beef Tent for two rib eye sandwiches. I usually have little side cups with lids, but my supply (leftover from the coffeehouse four years ago) is gone, so I had to take Dixie cups for the condiments. Next stop: The Red Barn Elephant Ear stand for two Elephant Ears.

I was back on my bike at 4:35 and pedaling back down the trail. Home and on my way to work at the Red Key by 5:00

Another successful visit to the fair.

Indiana State Fair – day twelve
Sunday, August 17, 2008

I rode my bike to the [sniff] last day of the fair to meet Tammy, Cara and Holly. I got there just as Cara and Holly finished getting Henna tattoos.
We walked around the whole fair, stopping at Pioneer Village. We walked through the as old log cabin in the building.

I'd written about Dick Reel and his great bench in the last edition of the Gazette. I stopped by to say goodbye and see if he'd read the piece and find out how his bench went at the auction. The bench did really well - $1200! His buddies were teasing him about that and the article, calling him the saint of Pioneer Village. 

The true patron saint of (Purdue Ag Alumni) Pioneer Village is Maurice Williamson. I'm not sure how long he has managed the Village. I do know that it has grown tremendously under his guidance. In 1961 the Pioneer Farm and Home Show Exhibit started at the fair. It was housed in the balcony of the grandstand. It quickly grew out of the space. In 1966 it was moved to the Purdue Building, in 1967 to the Horticulture Building and in 1968 a new building constructed.

We checked out more animals. I thought I'd spare you all another photograph of the World's Largest Boar. These horses are much prettier and smell a little better also.

It was fun looking at all of the goodies for sale along the main drag. Lots of giggles, no purchases. We did succumb to the call of the potato-y goodness of King Taters. We were walking with our piping hot plate of chips when I heard my name called from the tractor tram.
My cousin Leo, his wife Luci from Logansport and their daughter Nina were on the tram. I jumped on with them to visit as we rode to their exit. In my excitement, I took the plate of potato chips with me, much to the disappointment of Tammy and Cara. In a true testament to my willpower, I got off the tram with most of the potatoes still on the plate.

I rendezvoused with the girls at the Lumberjack competition. It was standing room only. The bleachers were full of women. In case you were wondering why women were so attracted to the manly sport of lumberjack contests I'll let the photographs do the talking.

The weather was amazing and the real star of the fair this year. The temperatures were moderate; hardly any humidity and only one short rain the whole 12 days.

The theme of the 2008 Indiana State Fair: The Year of Indiana Trees. They did a great job of showcasing Indiana trees, forests and the lumber industry. I learned a ton of stuff.
-Indiana grows 40% more wood than we use.
-The forest product industry is the fourth largest manufacturing industry in the state.
-Indiana has 4.6 million acres of forests.
-Most common woods: Oak, Hickory, Ash, Maple, Poplar, Maple, Walnut and Cherry.
-I'll be paying attention to the Lumberjack World Competition next year. Go Derek and Bobby!
I was feeling a little sad on the way home. The state fair always marks the end of summer.
I’m not quite sure how I will handle next year’s expanded seventeen-day fair. I’d better start training now.

Monday, September 1, 2008
Corner of 54th Street and College Avenue
noon-6:00 pm, free, all ages

This will be the 11th annual Labor Day Street Fair – I can’t believe it! It feels like it was just yesterday that I was selling root beer and had a duck pond game for kids in the CATH parking lot for this event. The fair has come a long way – sponsors and everything: The Jazz Kitchen, Yats, Be, Northside News, WICR 88.7 fm and

This has turned in to one of the best events of the year, helping close out the end of the summer. From 12:30-2pm will be The Steve Allee Trio with Kenny Phelps and Frank Smith. They'll be playing some of Steve's great compositions from his latest CD "Dragonfly," as well as other favorites. From 2:30-4pm will be The Bill Lancton Coalition, throwing a bit of funky, jazz guitar and horns into the mix, and rounding out the day from 4:30-6pm will be the Dixon / Rhyne Project, featuring saxophonist Rob Dixon and B3 legend Melvin Rhyne playing some selections off of their current CD, "Reinvention."

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from The Jazz Kitchen and Yats. And, new to the corner party this year - and open during the fair - will be the wonderful boutique, Be. I popped in there for the first time recently. Great stuff! In fact I’m propped up on my new pillow and drinking out of a new glass from there as I type. I’m sure you’ll see me out and about sporting my new purse.
I’ll see you there!

Out and About
In the next issue I’ll review all of the music that I heard in the last month. I was on a real roll of seeing metal bands. I’d almost forgotten what a “flying V” guitar looked like

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