Festival week in Oxford
Wednesday, April 22nd is officially Earth Day, but don’t tell
the town of Oxford that. Oxford is off and running early with what we at the
Whitewater Valley Guide are calling Festival Week in Oxford.
The wildest, craziest and possibly most fun is the annual Oxford
Kinetics Festival, but this week the Miami University college town is also
hosting EarthFest-Oxford’s Community Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, the
Geocaching Tournament on Friday, the Oxford Writing Festival also on Friday,
the Asian Culture Festival yet again on Friday, the Creativity Fair on
Wednesday, and the Teacher Job Fair 2015 on Thursday.
Some of these like last one mentioned are a little too specific to reach
the Guide’s calendar, but they certainly can be counted in the festival total.
The Kinetics Festival happens from noon to 5 pm this Sunday. This year’s
theme is ‘Flight of the Flyer’ and, we are told, “It’s going to be awesome!”
Awesome is a word that is usually misused as a font for our exuberance about
anything from clean socks to a burger order, but in this case it’s spot on.
Judging by the number of things to do and how they are done, Kinetics Festival
New this year is The Dog’s Breakfast, an alley cat-style race for adults
from Oxford Community Arts Center to the grounds of Millett Hall, dba festival
you need an incentive to spend the Saturday night in Oxford, we recommend the
Next Kinetic Picture Show. It features live music by Chris Dance and the Holy
Echo playing in the pavilion in the Uptown Park. In addition, you are
encouraged to stroll High Street and watch a variety of films about the kinetic
art process projected in storefront windows up and down the red brick way.
events planners in the Valley, especially those Main Street types who are
desperately trying to figure out ways to get people to come downtown, we
suggest you try some variation of this formula. You already know about music as
a draw, but you might not have thought about locally made films being shown at
random (or otherwise) in storefront windows. It takes window browsing to a new
level, calls upon the creativity of the art community and can tell your town’s
story and/or history.
A new vocal resource
When I think of Voice of America, I think of the Cold War, and if you’re
like me you might want to rearrange that fossilized befuddlement by scheduling
a trip Saturday morning to that hot bed of international affairs, Okeana, Ohio.
the Morgan Township admin building on Chapel Road, Jack Dominic, executive
director of the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting, will be
giving a PowerPoint presentation
to the Morgan Township Historical Society on “the significance of what happened
to the Voice of America, the world’s most powerful radio transmission facility,
and what it will become as an educational resource for the region and the
Obviously that last bit takes this presentation from the hinterlands of
history to the uncharted fantasyland of tomorrow. How will Voice of America
become “an educational resource for the region” and how can I/we tap into that
Guests are welcome and we are told, after the meeting, the 1858 Morgan
Township Museum, 6464 Okeana Drewersburg Road will be open for tours until 2
The Pit Not and other business
Brookville is going to have a new outdoor event venue just off Main
Street in the near future. Right now if you walk past the Turning Point Fitness
Center at 734 Main you’ll see orange construction barrels and fencing keeping
the public on Main from falling into a 20 foot pit which looks like the former
basement of some long-gone building.
Look again and you’ll see new concrete poured on the sidewalk, a red
metal stairway and down below, the well-finished floor of the former basement.
That’s the new outdoor event space and, according to owner Mick Wilz, everyone
calls it ‘The Pit,’ a name he wants to somehow overcome because of its obvious
negative connotations, unless, of course, he were opening a barbeque place then
it would be fine, we suppose.
The floor is gravel rolled over so many times it is almost like terrazzo
but without the binder. Mick is in the process of installing a fine,
grape-arbor themed high wrought iron screen up on the Main Street side,
something he picked up in Chicago.
Off the alley at the level of the performer formerly known as The Pit,
he said there would be another fence which will allow for security and
controlling the passage of people who come to any particular event.
is hoping to bring in live, high-quality entertainment three or four times a
year and having live local music events at other times. It is also available
for renting and as he pointed out, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the entire
thing can be moved up to the Harmony Crown Room which is on the top floor above
the fitness center which is on the second floor above Keys To The Past Antiques
which is on the ground floor. For those slow on the mathematical uptake, that
would make it a three-story building.
From the basement floor of the former Pit, this makes for a very
interesting high wall of well-used brick which itself could be a major
attraction creatively lit somewhere near or just after sunset, when the patrons
themselves might be equally so, creatively lit that is.
Mick and his wife Jenny, who, Facebook tells us, recently twisted her
ankle and won’t be Zumba-ing in the near future, have also purchased the
building next door to the place we are not to call The Pit. It is fashioned for
business, small business, to be exact. It has two rows of office cubicles, each
available for $150 per month. This price includes all utilities and high-speed
cable. It is also in the construction phase and when finished will include a conference
room on the second floor and a small printing company in the back.
We, being creative types who can never mind our own business, have come
up with a suggestion for the re-naming of the former basement. The short name
is Sub Mission. The long name is The Pit Not—Sub Mission. If it takes, we are
hoping some day to sample there a fine house wine called The Pit Not Pinot
Noir, and remarking intelligently on its poetic symmetry.
you want to get an early bird look at all this wonderment, we suggest you turn
up (turned out, of course) Saturday evening around seven for ‘A Wine and Cheese
Tasting Event,’ sponsored by Main Street Brookville. The wines are from Ertel
Cellars Winery, Holtkamp Winery, and J&J Winery. (I just noticed. ‘Winery’
is not one of those words you want to say too many times in a row. It sounds
too much like you’re whining.)
The cheese is from Jacobs & Brichford Farmstead Cheese. In addition,
there will be fresh baked pies auctioned off by Brookville’s favorite caller, Dave
Bask in the bisque
goings on in Eaton are again of the Preble County Art Association variety. Last
week we reported on the financial success of PCAA’s inaugeral ‘Bad Art, Good
Folk’ competition. Well, they are also opening a café sans café. Instead of
coffee, they will be serving pottery. The Clay Café is a new paint-your-own
pottery studio located in the new Visual Art Center.
This seems like another brilliant idea. Not everyone can shape a pot
properly, be that pot a cup, a bowl or a plate. But anyone - a much larger
number than ‘not everyone’- can paint a pot, be it a cup, etc.
The Clay Cafe will allow customers to choose bisqueware (unglazed
pottery) and apply glazes to decorate the piece as they like. Once completed
the studio fires the pottery in a kiln, resulting in the glassy look of ceramic
“Many people enjoy making art and being creative but a class is not
always accessible due to timing” says Executive Director Vicky Fanberg. “Having
the Clay Cafe will allow our guests to be creative and artistic when they want
to and be able to spend what they want.”
The Clay Cafe can accommodate people of all ages and skill levels.
Prices range from $2- $30 for bisqueware items. Studio fee, or sitting
fee, is free to members of the Preble County Art Association, memberships start
at $25 for an individual. Non-member studio fee is $8 for an adult and $5
for a child.
The Clay Cafe 601 Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, Ohio is open
Tuesdays-Wednesdays 1-5 pm, Thursday-Friday 1-8 pm and Saturdays 1-4 pm.