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Food Fests

Area festivals get specific with their culinary celebrations

RODNEY WILSON | CIN WEEKLY CONTRIBUTOR

Fall is an ideal time of year for a festival. The chill in the air lends the dunking booth a special edge of possible hypothermia, and anyone unfortunate enough to attempt a hayride in shorts and a T-shirt will tell you that a layer of protective denim makes for a better experience.

Beyond the scores of area fall fests lies a subculture of events that don't commemorate the crop season or the cycle of nature. Instead, these festivals celebrate foods of a strange variety, foods that we commonly encounter processed, canned and stocked on a grocer's shelf. Here's a quick guide to a handful of this weekend's unique food festivals.

NAVY BEAN FESTIVAL
Rising Sun's Navy Bean Festival is a celebration that gives center stage to what is proudly referred to as "Famous Navy Bean Soup," prepared by Larry Bovard, along with plenty of home-baked cornbread, provided by the Ohio County Homemakers.

Other tasty treats will also be offered, including hot dogs, metts, cheddar metts, brats, polish sausage, Italian sausage and the always-delectable hot cobbler.

Entertainment includes music and dancers, including the bluegrass sounds of Rural Route 2 and dance contests hosted by a live DJ. Arts and crafts demonstrations will be set up throughout the festival, and there will be a silent auction for a number of goods. Horse-lovers will enjoy the horse parade and pony rides.

WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9
WHERE: 120 N. Walnut St., Rising Sun, Ind.
PRICE: Free
CONTACT: (812) 438-2750 or www.risingsun-in.org
DIRECTIONS: Take I-75 south to I-275 west. Take the U.S. 50 west exit (exit 16) and turn left onto U.S. 50. Turn left onto Ind. 56 north. Turn left onto Main Street and left onto Walnut Street.

OHIO SAUERKRAUT FESTIVAL
Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been rendered into small pieces, then salted and fermented in its own juice (or "brine"). The end product has a distinctive odor, one that translates well to the taste of the dish.

It's safe to say that the traditional German dish has a certain emotional resonance with Ohioans. This reason is strong enough to overpower the repulsive nature of sauerkraut and convince the people of Waynesville to throw an annual Sauerkraut Festival, now in its 34th year.

The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival is good fun, even for those with a (well-justified) aversion to the odoriferous offering. Local non-profit organizations will sell food from about 30 booths, offering everything from cheesecake on a stick to gourmet pretzels and even sauerkraut pizza.

For entertainment, the festival has everything from rock to rocking chairs. More than 450 artisans will display their unique arts and crafts. Live entertainment ranges from local bands to dance teams, and you can bet there will be at least one polka group dishing out the oom-pahs.

And, for the love of all that's good in this world, please don't forget to bring your homegrown cabbage for the Cabbage Growing Contest.

WHEN:
9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10
WHERE: Main Street, downtown Waynesville
PRICE: Free
CONTACT: (513) 897-8855 or www.sauerkrautfestival.com
DIRECTIONS: Take I-71 north to Ohio 48/Lebanon exit. Bear right and take Ohio 48 to right on Ohio 42. Waynesville is 7 miles ahead.

GARLIC FESTIVAL
The Garlic Festival is the new kid on the block, debuting Oct. 9 at Dayton's Cox Arboretum and Gardens MetroPark. The city of Dayton couldn't have picked a better bulb to honor, as garlic has much more than culinary value, including medicinal uses and vampire-deterring qualities.

The festival food will, no doubt, be infused with a healthy dose of garlic, so sensitive attendees may wish to pack clothespins for their noses. In addition to the traditional festival entertainment (music, arts and crafts), the Garlic Festival features a number of seminars, covering topics such as medicinal uses of garlic and how to grow and harvest garlic.

There will also be cooking demonstrations, garlic tastings and something called "garlic braiding." Also on tap for the weekend are hayrides, pumpkin carvings and the much-anticipated crowning of the King and Queen of Garlic.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9
WHERE: Cox Arboretum and Gardens MetroPark, 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton
PRICE: Free
CONTACT: (937) 434-9005 or www.coxarboretum.org
DIRECTIONS: Take I-75 north to exit 44, Ohio 725. Turn right on Miamisburg-Centerville Road. Turn left on Springboro Pike. The park is 1 mile ahead.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004 | CiN Weekly
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