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Old-fashioned celebration

Many family activities planned
for annual ‘Brownsboro Day’

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BROWNSBORO, Ky. (August 2006) – Everyone knows George Parrish by the company he keeps. He can usually be found behind Hank and Frank, his two Belgium mules, giving tours of Brownsboro.

Lloyd Fisher

Photo provided

Lloyd Fisher of
Clarksville, Ind., will
perform at the 35th
annual Brownsboro Day.

Parrish was raised in the tiny town of Brownsboro, and he has “deep roots there,” he said. He has many fond memories of participating in the local 4-H club when he was a boy, and he grew up with a strong sense of community pride, he said.
Parrish is the main force behind the Brownsboro Day festival, overseeing a variety of activities and booking entertainment year after year. It is important to him to keep Brownsboro’s history alive and to focus on the future, but not forget the past.
The 35th annual Brownsboro Day will be held from 2 p.m. until midnight on Aug. 5-6 at the Brownsboro Community Center, located just off Hwy. 329 a few miles north of I-71 in Oldham County. Admission is free and visitors are invited to bring their lawn chairs and spend the day.
The center is a non-profit organization formed in 1971 as a civic league, which operates exclusively for community benefit. There are approximately 80 families that make up the center membership, governed by eight board members and four trustees. Parrish is a charter member of the center.
A circa-1868 building sits on the center property, which can be rented for wedding receptions, company picnics or family reunions. The building has seen many historic moments, including one during World War II when the American Red Cross furnished sewing machines and sewing was done there for American troops.
The building is also a great spot to cool off in if the weather is hot. Saturday’s and Sunday’s Brownsboro Day lineup features Lloyd Fisher on accordion from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 4 to 5 p.m.; Square Dance demonstrations by Expressions by “B” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and Interstate Bluegrass Band and Crystal Sound Entertainment from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Food will be catered both days by Country Collectibles BBQ in nearby Sligo, Ky.

George Parrish

George
Parrish

There will be arts and crafts for sale, a free bicycle drawing for children 12 and under, a homemade quilt drawing, angus beef on the hoof giveaway, an antique tractor display, KYANA Antique Auto Club of America display, hourly door prizes, children’s games, cake walks, plant walks and hay rides through Brownsboro Caverns.
This will be the first time Fisher performs at Brownsboro Day. Having worked with Parrish in the past, he was familiar with him but not the festival.
Fisher began playing the accordion in 1948 and has kept up with it since then. His grandmother was proficient on the piano, he said, and he took lessons from her when he was 8 years old, gradually working into the accordion.
“I had an older cousin who had a honer accordion that he gave me,” said Fisher. Along with it came a sack of harmonicas. When he played this accordion, Fisher thought it was “the greatest thing I’d ever heard.”
While all of his buddies were playing guitars, Fisher stuck it out on the accordion and took lessons. He put the accordion away while his children were growing up, and played backup for bands with the harmonica for 15 years. He then decided it was time to take out his accordion, dust it off and re-take lessons. He’s been playing steadily for the last 20 years.
Fisher loves playing his accordion because “it is so versatile now.” He owns an electronic accordion and refers to himself as “a one-man band with no drums.” He can play basses and chords similar to a guitar on what was once commonly referred to as a “squeezebox.”
There was a widespread emergence of the electric accordion in the 1970s in America. Fisher’s electric accordion can sound like a saxophone, bagpipes or banjoes, all at the touch of a button. He performs a variety of music including German, country, bluegrass, big band, gospel and popular tunes from the 1950s and 1960s. Fisher and his wife will have a gospel CD for sale on Brownsboro Day.
Cyrill Demian first patented the accordion in Vienna 1829. The instrument was first made popular in the United States by Count Guido Deiro, the first piano accordionist to perform in Vaudeville.
Even though it is an instrument that has been around for a long time, Fisher labeled himself “a dying breed. It was really popular when I was growing up.”
Fisher has performed on riverboats, such as the Spirit of Jefferson and the Belle of Louisville, at numerous festivals, such as Louisville’s annual Strassenfest, and at the Schnitzel Barn restaurant in Vine Grove, Ky., for the last 71/2 years. Nancy Potter frequently accompanies Fisher on keyboards, although she will not be with him on Brownsboro Day.
Fisher said his accordion is custom-made by Jay Fox, whom he calls “a top-notch accordion player.” The Jay Fox Band Company is located in Fort Wayne, Ind., and specializes in accordions and related accessories.
Fisher knew Fox was the ideal person to craft an accordion for him because Fox has more than 41 years experience and a solid classical accordionist background. Fox was also the AAA National Accordion Champion in his age group for four consecutive years.
Parrish knew the Brownsboro Day crowd would like Fisher’s music because it is a mixture of different sounds. Fisher said he likes to play a venue “where people can dance to the music.”

• For more information, contact George Parrish at (502) 241-6451. To rent booth space contact Barbara Parrish at (502) 241-6451.

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