Guest writer – Jason Hathaway:
Photo cred – Jason Hathaway:
Last week, Irvingtonians were treated to seven days of quality, family-friendly folk music entertainment by the second annual Irvington Folk Festival. Sponsored by the Historic Irvington Community Council (HICC), the festival showcased a fine variety of local acoustic folk music talent during the week through a series of intimate concerts at Irvington venues, a songwriter’s contest, a screening of 1967 folk music documentary Festival!, and a panel discussion about the meaning of folk music. This all led up to the main event Saturday at Ellenberger Park—a concert featuring nine acts, preceded by a showcase of local artwork and a children’s concert.
The weeknight events were well attended and drew ample applause, smiles, laughter and compliments from audience members. Attendance at the Saturday concert was slightly down from last year’s inaugural main event, which was a celebration of folk music legend Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday.
“Last year we kind of rode on the coattails of Woody Guthrie, and a lot of the attendance we received was the result of the national attention that was paid to Woody’s Centennial,” said Stan Denski, festival director and HICC board member. “This year, we hoped for about two to three times the number of people in the park last year and got slightly less than that. But, everyone who came had a wonderful day full of great music and perfect weather so we consider the event an unqualified success. All of the festival’s events were well enough attended to make them worthwhile.”
This year’s festival did, however, get the attention of Mayor Greg Ballard’s office. At the festival’s opening concert at Bona Thompson Center, Denski and his team were presented a proclamation from the Mayor’s office stating that June 2-8, 2013 was “Irvington Folk Festival Week in Indianapolis.” And, the Mayor himself dropped by Ellenberger Park for a visit during Saturday’s concert.
The HICC is excited about the future of the Irvington Folk Festival and looks forward to the possibility of new additions to the programming, such as music workshops, house concerts and the involvement of more Irvington venues. It will likely take some time to achieve the vision, but the Irvington Folk Festival Board of Directors is committed to this goal.
“We all believed going into this that it takes four to five years to create an event that people look forward to and plan ahead to attend,” Denski said. “We are in this for the long haul, and in the next few years we hope to establish another Irvington tradition. This October will be the 67th Halloween Festival and they are still a challenge to put on, so the effort is ongoing. We are committed to creating an event that puts the neighborhood in the best possible light for people across the city and the state.”
The Irvington Folk Festival Board isn’t wasting any time—planning for next year’s festival begins in July. All those interested in helping with the event should contact Stan Denski at email@example.com. For updates on the festival throughout the year, go to https://www.facebook.com/IrvingtonFolk. read more
- Old National Road with view of Trolley rails. Photo cred: Paul Diebold
- New National Road Interpretive Panel. Photo cred: Nancy Larner Ruschman
Guest writer – Margaret Lawrence Banning:
What we know as Washington Street in Indianapolis is a part of the first interstate highway, originally commissioned by Congress in 1806 to open up the West to the young country. At that time, “the West” meant Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia). It came to Indiana in 1827 and was later extended to Illinois.
This was the road that brought pioneers to Indiana and beyond on Conestoga wagons and on horseback when Indiana was just barely a state. Today’s transportation engineers have exact requirements for surface grade, drainage, signage and striping. In those days, one engineering standard was that the tree stumps could not be taller than 18” to allow for the clear passage of the wagons’ axles.
The Road came through here even before Irvington was founded, but was a large part of the reason the founders located the town here. There was a travelers’ inn at the southeast corner of Emerson and Washington St. in 1830 to accommodate the pioneers going all the way on to Indianapolis and westward who had to stop for the night.
The Road declined as a major thoroughfare when the railroads became the most efficient means of transportation. Once cars were invented, the Road rose to prominence again and US 40 roughly followed the route of the Road and then on to San Francisco in the 1920s. I-70 also shadows the route for part of its alignment across the country. In addition, the Road segment in Indianapolis was the location of trolley cars serving the city, and you can still see the rails when potholes open up the pavement.
In modern-day Irvington, you can see the rails and a part of the brick surface used in the early 20th century in front of Ossip Optometry. As a part of the streetscape project, we’ve installed an interpretive panel there, along with some of the bricks and rails from the street, that tells the story of the National Road in Indiana and in Irvington. The Irvington Historical Society, the Indiana National Road Association (INRA), and the Indiana Historical Society provided the text and images on the panel. There are another 15 panels that tell other components of the Road’s story from Richmond to Terre Haute that INRA installed.
Go check it out and learn about this unique ribbon of history – there’s almost 200 years of history right under our feet. And the next time you’re sitting in The Legend or Roll With It Bakery and gazing out the window, imagine the oxen pulling the wagons or the clang of the streetcars that passed this way in times past.
Guest writer: Nancy Larner Ruschman:
Photo cred: Lesle Lane (c) Studio 13, 317.923.1122:
If you live in Irvington and have any kind of thirst for beer, then you’ve heard of Black Acre Brewing Co. Black Acre’s beer tanks have been flowing for just over a year in their completely reworked mid-block shop along Washington Street. Now most independent businesses are civic minded and want to support their community (wait: how did we get from drinking beer to being civic minded?) but that feat typically takes time to pull off after the biz gets firmly established. Not so with Black Acre. From the very start these young entrepreneurs (some of whom were on their way to be lawyers) have given back to the Irvington and east side community in ways large and small from the very git-go.
An “Outpouring” for IRV’s Street Lamps
When the owners of Black Acre heard about Irvington Development Organization’s need to raise money for the historic-style lamps being posted along the newly built Irvington Streetscape, they came up with the idea to brew a new beer, Street Lamp Blonde, in honor of the lamps and dedicate $1 of every sale over the summer months to help cover the maintenance and electricity costs. To date, the Blonde has come through with nearly $2000 toward our lovely lights.
To Irvington…and Beyond
In addition, Black Acre has donated its thirst-quenching froth to IDO’s recent Historic Irvington Post Office fundraiser and has supported other Irvington events like the Historic Irvington Community Council’s annual Halloween Festival and the newly minted Irvington Folk Festival. Beyond all this, having our very own nano-brewery in the heart of IRV has bolstered this area as one cool neighborhood, enticing people from downtown, Fountain Square and Broad Ripple to our village like never before. In fact, Black Acre was just named winner of The Indy-A List Microbrew Madness!
Supporting Local Artisans
Black Acre serves up some pretty exquisite food from its tiny kitchen, including brunch every Sunday. There was a nice article written on the not-so-typical bar food served up at Black Acre in the IndyStar a few months ago. One of the owners, Justin Miller, says, “There are so many great artisan producers in the Indianapolis area that we try to use them whenever possible.” Most of their bread is purchased from Roll With It Bakery in Irvington, meats come from Smoking Goose Meatery in Cottage Homes, greens from Eden Farms in Lebanon IN, Bjava provides the fresh roasted coffee blends that are used in the coffee beers, sauerkraut and kefir water are brought in from Fermenti Artisan and to top everything off: ice cream from Traders Point Creamery. The kitchen is closed on Mondays but Black Acre still has you covered – you can always find one of Indy’s delish food trucks conveniently parked in front of the brewery on Monday evenings.
So, I haven’t talked at all about the beer at Black Acre. That was intentional. All I can say is, it is absolutely tasty – but you’ll have to come to IRV to see for yourself.
Oh, and for a random special treat, click “I am under 21” on the Black Acre website. Cheers!
Black Acre Brewing Co.
5632 E Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46219
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