This week and next
First of all, it’s September. Hooray! or Hurrah! — depending on your
point of view.
Next it’s the first Saturday of September. So . . . .
St. Marys, Indiana, near the middle of the Whitewater Valley, has a little
tavern not surprisingly called St. Mary’s Tavern and they have live
entertainment on the first Saturday of every month.
went there a few months ago, heard The Beatniks and had a ball. This Saturday
we understand it’s ‘just kinda the house band’ playing. In the past this has
included at least one player from the Lemon Pipers who had the dual million
selling ‘Green Tambourine’ in 1967. The Lemon Pipers were an Oxford
rock/blues/folk band, which was turned into a bubble gum group by record producers
and thereby dissolved into rock history or oblivion whichever lasts longer.
understand, at least two of the Lemon Pipers were from Franklin County where we
believe rare sightings of the elusive bird are still reported, especially
around Pipe Creek and, as we said, St. Marys.
With that as prelude, let us be the first to hip you to the eighth
annual ‘Customer Appreciation Day/Barn Dance at St. Mary’s Tavern, next
Saturday, September 12th.
Dave Smith of the Tavern tells us, “We are excited to have our friends
from down south flying in once again to set the tone with some good old
Southern-style rock and roll. In addition, what I believe to be one of the best
bands around ‘Automation’ is joining the venue this year.
The catering is by Mike Moeller and Chris Stange, and, “We welcome Tom
Ertel and the Ertel Winery back to share their great product.”
truth he adds, “More Vignoles for me!”
Learn music for free
The Metamora Music Festival, always on the Labor Day weekend but never on
Monday, is more than musical performances. It’s also workshops and hands-on
Saturday morning at 11 o’clock, for instance, Dean Phelps will be teaching
otherwise naked thumb pickers about thumbpick guitar. Festival originator Jim
Wendel is teaching harmonica at 11 am. At the same time Holly Garrett is
teaching fiddle (no need to byo fiddle) and someone else beginning dulcimer
What else might you learn? Since the next slurry of workshops are at
one, how about where the best place to eat in Metamora is. For ice cream it’s
Grannies on the corner of the canal and Columbia Street, for candy it’s Mr.
Fudge’s Confectionery on the other side of the canal near the little stable for
For sandwiches it’s Smelly Gourmet hands down. It’s on the south side of
the canal in the Banes House. For barbecue ribs Scooties is the spot. It’s next
to Mr. Fudge. For something new, try The Farmhouse where the old Thorpe House
was on Clayborn Street.
After lunch, the instrumentally challenged have many options to rectify
this dire and crippling malaise, including at 1 pm on the dot, Jason Fickel
teaching blues bottleneck slide guitar. At two you can transition to banjo
taught by John Bultman, or mandolin by John Bowyer or, our favorite, bones by
Slipping into the world of Esoteria, not that bones aren’t esoteric, we
have Ruth Slates teaching bowed psaltery at 3 pm. We understand a little bowed
psaltery is just the remedy for mid-life crisis. When taken with Celtic
mandolin and hammered dulcimer you have what can only be called a miracle cure.
Rick Garret teaches the dulcimer and David Bagdade the Celtic mandolin, all at
check out the two-day schedule, click here.
French-Swiss immersion weekend
Last year we alerted you to the Rural Heritage Tour which re-visits
early life, music and trades of the French-Swiss settlers in the south facing
hillside communities just north of the Ohio near Vevay.
believe south facing hills were important because these settlers knew how to
grow grapes. We believe grapes were important because they yield wine. We
believe wine is important because it yields truth and spreads love ever so
was only last weekend you had the opportunity to turn you feet purple by
joining the stomp at the Swiss Wine Festival. Not this weekend, but next
weekend we are invited to immerse our whole selves into the culture of the
people for whom the Wine Fest is named.
There are three stops on the tour, le Musee de Venoge, the Thiebaud
Farmstead, and Stonehouse Creations. Musee de Venoge at 165 SR 129 is one of the few remaining examples
of French colonial architecture once common in Switzerland County in the early
The Thiebaud Farmstead at
5147 East SR 56 is an 1850’s Greek Revival home and will be the center of
family activities this weekend. Stonehouse Creations is located at 1134 East
State Road 56, east of Lamb. Besides a tour of their garden, mums and other
fall décor will be available for purchase.
Period music at the Musee will be provided by Sara & Maynard Johnson
and Michael Thompson. At the Thiebaud Farmstead, the group West of Dublin will
be performing. ‘Forget-me-not’
Cottage Dancers will be visiting both sites on Saturday, providing appropriate
dance for the two time periods. Visitor participation is welcome.
At le Musee,a French-Swiss
weaver will be demonstrating the complete linen making process from flax to
cloth. Learn about early 19th century lighting methods. Culinary
treats include cider making, hearthside cheese making, and food preparation in
an outdoor bake oven.
At the Thiebaud Farmstead
they’ll be busy with daily tasks and enjoyments, including hearth cooking,
quilting, spinning, sewing and laundry.
Admission is free,
donations appreciated. You may start the tour on Saturday or Sunday, September
12 or 13, at any of the locations. A map will then be provided to guide you to
the other sites. For further information visit www.switzcomuseums.org or www.venoge.org or call
812-427-3560 or 812-593-5726.
This awakening us to the richness of this local historical culture is a
slow evolving process. We only hope it results in a greater understanding of
the importance of grapes to our regional French-Swiss heritage, and better
still the slow filling of our south facing hillsides with grape vines who live
into the next century when their harvesters will call us history and reenact us
in costume probably by doing Le Twist.
We learn odd things by
buying tomatoes. We who live in the basin of the Whitewater River couldn’t get
our tomatoes to grow because of the heavy rains. But now we hear from two
different hilltop garden growers that they have a bumper crop this year. Must
be the drainage. Hillsides run off, basins collect.
So basin people in need of
produce need to get to their nearest farmers market.
There will be baskets of tomatoes, bushels of peaches,
forests of broccoli and an overflowing cornucopia of delights at Oxford Farmers
Market this Saturday.
I hear you say, ‘But I’ve got a hankering for goat cheese.’ To which I reply, I
know where to find it. At the ArtistryFarm booth. Pick up some of Debra’s real
thing home made artisan bread, too. A loaf of her focaccia in the middle of the
table and anything you surround it with becomes gourmet, well, almost.
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St. Mary’s Tavern
St. Marys, In