Tell City's festival stage is set

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By Vince Luecke

Tell City's sesquicentennial is nearly upon us and the eight-day celebration of the city's founding, I'm sure, will be a grand success.

As I pen this Friday morning, signs with historical photos of city landmarks are being placed across the downtown in preparation for historical society walking tours, grass along Main Street sidewalks is being mowed and the new banners of William Tell are glistening wet after a brief shower. Things are truly taking shape.

If you haven't finalized your sesquicentennial plans, here are a few suggestions.

Don't miss the musical 1776. The curtain on this year's Schweizer Fest musical rises Thursday. I had the fun opportunity last week to attend a dress rehearsal and can attest to the cast's hard work over the past months.

The musical is heartwarming, funny and a bit educational for those of us who could use a refresher course on the deeds of our founding fathers, who risked everything by signing the Declaration of Independence. It's certainly no dull history lesson.

Shows are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with a matinee Sunday afternoon. To purchase tickets, call 547-7563 or 547-6156.

Sesquicentennial Parade: The Aug. 2 parade is sure to be remembered for decades, not just for the number of entries, but for the unique floats I hear are being worked on. The staff here at The News, led by Kathy Vaught, has been working on our float for several weeks. It will turn heads.

The parade begins at 2:30 p.m. with a formal opening ceremony at 6 p.m. A Duke Boys performance will follow that evening. Also Saturday are a community picnic in the park at noon and a barbecue cook-off.

Kids' Day Sunday will offer attractions and events in City Hall Park and along Seventh Street. That evening, tethered hot-air-balloon rides will be offered along Seventh Street and local musician Tammy Cassidy will perform.

Come Monday, don't miss comedian Carl Hurley at Tell City High School. The Kentucky comic dubbed "America's Funniest Professor" will take the auditorum's stage at 7 p.m. Musician Cheri Taylor will perform approximately half an hour before Hurley. Tickets for the show are $10 each and can be purchased by calling the Perry County Chamber of Commerce at 547-2385. Good seats are still available, so reserve yours today.

River Cruises and Train Excursions: Hoosier Southern Railroad and First State Bank are sponsoring round-trip train rides Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 7-9. Three trips aboard the Tell City Sesquicentennial Express are offered Thursday and Friday at 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m. Six excursions are planned for Aug. 9 at 9 and 10:30 a.m., noon and 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m.

Priced at $10 each, tickets are first-come, first served and are available at First State Bank's headquarters on Main Street.

As of Friday, tickets for the 6 p.m. excursions Thursday and Friday were sold out but seats were still available for the other trips. Get yours as soon as possible.

The Spirit of Jefferson, a passenger riverboat, will visit the city Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8-9. I recommend Friday's happy-hour cruise from 2 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 each and include live music, snacks and on-board giveaways.

Saturday's getaways include two family cruises, from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tickets for those excursions are only $10 each and that's quite a bargain.

The final cruise of the celebration will be a two-hour excursion from 8 to 10 p.m. Aug. 9 that will include close-up views of the fireworks show over the river near Sunset Park. Fireworks-cruise tickets cost $30 each.

Tickets are available through Taylor Tours at its office, located at 645 Main St., on the second floor of First State Bank. Office hours are weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets can also be purchased by calling Taylor Tours at 547-2923 or (800) 258-9070.

Programs listing all of the sesquicentennial events were inserted into Thursday's editions. Copies are available at The News, banks and other businesses and in the special-sections area at The News' Web site.

Small-Town Stores

The Derby General Store was hopping the evening of July 5, the night of the fireworks show over the Ohio River. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the store just a couple of weeks earlier to recognize the transfer of ownership to Gary and Gale Griepenstroh.

The Spencer County couple recognized the need for a local store in the area and with work, their venture should be a success. With high gas prices making optional trips to town more expensive, small stores in Derby, Leopold, Troy and elsewhere are taking on a role they had for many years, a local source of necessities close to home.

That's especially important in Derby, which draws many weekend guests and is half an hour from Tell City.

The Griepenstrohs sell food, snacks, gasoline and nightcrawlers and other bait. As of fireworks night, the store was planning to add pizza and the couple may eventually begin delivering pizzas to boaters who dock at the edge of town.

It's good to see small businesses like theirs remain open.

Farmers Markets

With gardens beginning to turn out tomatoes, potatoes and sweet corn, local farmers markets are must-visits. Tell City's farmers market is open Saturday mornings at 7 and Wednesday afternoons at 2.

Leopold's new farmer market is held from 9 to 11 a.m. each Saturday.