Ethnic Expo Trip Journal
Oct. 12/13, 2007
by David "Sumoflam" Kravetz
October 13, 2007: This weekend Julianne and I took a short trip up to Indiana to take in an Antsy McClain show in Bloomington, IN and then to visit the Ethnic Expo in Columbus, IN, among other things. It was a beautiful couple of days and we had a great time.
Julianne and I really enjoy the diversity of the world and its varied cultures, so the Columbus Ethnic Expo was a perfect festival for us to attend. I would have never known about it had the Trailer Park Troubadours not been booked to perform there on the evening of the 13th. I would be handling the merchandise sales for that evening.
We left Lexington just after work on Friday, the 12th, and headed straight towards Indiana, through Louisville.
Stuck in Louisville traffic at rush hour, we had a nice view of the skyline. As we approached Columbus, IN, we caught a nice sunset.
We got to Louisville on the back end of rush hour and we got stuck in the transition from I-64 W to I-65 N. Finally, once we crossed over the JFK Bridge over the Ohio River into Indiana things went smoothly again. We were trying to get to Bloomington, IN by 8:00 PM for the show. We got to Columbus, IN around 8 and then heading towards Bloomington on US 46 we were stuck behind slow traffic. That coupled with my getting lost in Bloomington made us 45 minutes late. Fortunately, the show had begun late so we hadn't missed too much.
It so happened that Antsy McClain would be doing an acoustic show with Singer/Songwriter, Actor and Hay Farmer Tim Grimm. Tim and Antsy had performed together in the past and this particular show was a very intimate acoustic performance held at the Monroe County Historical Society Museum. They have a small room with a stage in their old building and there were maybe 30 people in attendance at this show. Tim is well known for his stories which are set to music, and most especially for his way of presenting history through music. Antsy sang some new material and had a new slide show. It was a nice evening.
After the show, Julianne and I returned to Columbus, had a meal at Denny's and then went to bed at about 1 AM.
On Saturday we were up at 9:30 AM and went to Wal Mart for some chairs and some fruit and stuff to munch on. We then headed north on I-65 to the next exit, which put us on US 31 N. Our destination was the small town of Amity, just south of Franklin, IN, as I had hoped to see the largest rocking chair in the world, which is located at Long's Furniture. As always, I check roadsideamerica.com wherever I go just in case there is something interesting nearby. I recommend this site to all who plan on visiting the broad expanse of the United States!!
The rocking chair was a REAL TREAT for me...I'm not sure about Julianne though!!
You can get an idea of the size of this chair by taking a look at me on the left
Another view of the rocking chair and the front of Long's...a large dresser. Oh the fun!!
After the visit to Long's, we returned south on US-31 and made a stop at the Edinburgh Premium Outlets shopping center in Edinburgh, IN. The weather was to turn cooler this evening and Julianne didn't have a coat or a sweater. So we stopped and got her both at the Liz Claiborne shop and I also picked up a new shirt at the Big Dog shop. It was fun shopping!!
With new clothes in tow and hunger pangs pulling at us, we headed back to Columbus for the Ethnic Expo. We were excited to see the various delectable delights that would be available at the booths and also to listen to some of the various performing groups. When we arrived, we found the performer parking behind City Hall and then headed to the front to listen to the Southern Indiana Pipes and Drums Corps. We were impressed that they had a young boy playing drums in the band. While there we also ran into Antsy McClain and Troubs' Manager Brian Gavron, who had arrived early and were watching as well. Antsy is a big fan of the bagpipe.
Antsy McClain enjoys the bagpipes
Members of the Southern Indiana Pipes and Drums perform on the City Hall Stage in Columbus, IN
When the performance ended, Julianne and I made our way down the path to all the booths, which had different countries represented. There was all kinds of food for us to choose from...and we did!!
Crowds of people wend their way along the rows of food booths
There were crowds throughout the entire day
Chinese and Vietnamese booths were among the many there
A Chinese girl serves some food. Japanese guys grill yakisoba while a Japanese girl takes the food orders
There were also booths from Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Korea, the Philippines, Mexico and some African countries.
Ultimately, Julianne and I visited the Japanese booth, where she got some teriyaki chicken and I got some yakisoba. We also both enjoyed some inari sushi. A little later on we also indulged in a Greek gyro....yummiferous!!
We watched more entertainment throughout the afternoon.
We enjoyed the Japanese dancers.
There were other interesting characters to be seen at the Expo throughout the day
My camera was running out of battery power, and we also wanted to take a walk through Columbus, which is a delightful town and is well known for its numerous architectural sites, gardens and art. So, we walked about the town and saw some of the "Seven Wonders of Columbus". There are 19 miles of "People Trails" that circumnavigate the city. These would be fun to do on another trip.
The Bartholomew County Court House is a unique structure built in 1874.
And its always nice to have something (or somebody) beautiful nearby.....
The East Fork or Second Street Bridge is also the only quadripod bridge design in North America
The cable-stay bridge shown above was built in May 1999 and is 465 feet long with a span of 232 feet. It is called a quadripod because the main tower of the bridge is composed of four 114 foot tall steel tubes that meet at the top. This is a one of a kind design in North America.
On the way back from the walk downtown, we went through the nearly vacant Commons Mall (nothing there but a small Sears store) and into the large commons area that contained some unusual limestone pillars. This is the Bartholomew County Veteran's Memorial, which was designed by Maryann Thompson Architects. It consists of 25 limestone pillars, each feet tall. The names of of the 156 veterans from the county that lost their lives are engraved in the stones.
The Bartholomew County Veteran's Memorial
There are also many unique sculptures and pieces of artwork in and around the town. We only saw a couple of them.
L - Chaos I by Jean Tinguely, inside the Commons Mall R - Summer Storm by Mike Helbing, a Vietnam Vet
After the walk, Julianne took a brief nap in the car. I went over and visited with Antsy, as well as Troub guitarist Bobby Cochran and drummer Chris "Spoonz" Long.
L - Bobby Cochran R - Chris "Spoonz" Long
Before long, it was time for Antsy and the Troubs to perform. They were to be the last performing group of the two day Expo. They put on a great show....
Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours at Columbus City Hall
L-R: Brian Gavron, mandolin; Bobby Cochran, lead guitar; Antsy McClain; Spoonz, drums;
Dave Pomeroy, Bass; Pauly Zarb, keyboards and congas
Antsy and the band perform to a delighted crowd
Fans enjoy the Troubs. The guy on the right came all the way from Wisconsin for the show.
Julianne, Polly (Antsy's wife) and a friend also enjoyed the show
Throughout the show, I videotaped, took photos and tried mightily to find out what the score to the University of Kentucky vs. LSU football game score was. On this date, LSU was #1 in the country and highly favored to beat the Wildcats. I finally got hold of my friend Aaron Boone, who happened to be at the University of Utah game in Salt Lake, and he was able to score updates to my phone. As the Troubs show was winding down, I got a score from Aaron...LSU 27, UK 21. No quarter was there, so I thought the game was over. So, as I was dealing with the long line of fans who came down to buy CDs after the show, my cell phone buzzed once again..."UK wins in 3 OT". I yelped with joy...what a win for the Wildcats!!! Many of the Indiana Hoosier fans also seemed delighted.
Finally, to end it all was a spectacular fireworks display. The fireworks were shot off from the top of the City Hall Building, so we were literally directly underneath. It was fantastic. And the finale was both awesome and shocking....three giant synchronized white explosions that were both seen and felt. Everyone around almost seemed shocked by the intensity. Indeed, awesome cannot explain the intensity.
After the fireworks and loading up all the merch into Brian Gavron's car, Julianne and I headed back to Lexington. We got home at about 1 AM and can now look back on a wonderfully enjoyable weekend in Indiana.
Roadside guidance provided by......
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