Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew

Madison Chamber’s fall event a tasty adventure for patrons

Aufderbeck sisters to make first appearance in Madison

Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew
11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8
Madison’s Main Street
Information: (812) 265-3135

Entertainment Schedule
Main Stage
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Leah Pruett
1-2 p.m.: Two buck Chucks
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Rusty Bladen
4-5 p.m.: Mickey Clark

Red Bicycle Hall Stage
11 a.m. – noon: Jordan Smith
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Jimmy Davis
2-3 p.m.: Two Thirds
3:30-4:30 p.m.: Marty & Vicki

Madison Community Players Stage
Noon – 1 p.m.: The Chestnuts
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Danny Anderson
3-4 p.m.: Kriss & Greg Ziesemer
4:30-5 p.m.: Brook & Steve

(October 2016) – An expanded footprint at the Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew Festival last year allowed for significant growth of the event. Madison Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Bloos says she is counting on that growth to continue at the 14th annual event, planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, on Madison’s Main Street.
The chamber sponsors the popular fall event as a fundraiser for area nonprofit groups and as a way to generate business for local merchants. It features food, children’s activities, live music and beer and wine gardens. Local nonprofit groups compete for trophies in various food categories. The primary sponsor of the event is Brookstone Financial.
“In 2005, we collected just under $9,000 in tickets,” said Bloos. “In 2014, we collected $32,000, and then the expanded footprint resulted in an additional $7,000 growth last year to give us $39,000 in 2015.”
Bloos said she sees several reasons for the growth of the festival. The footprint expanded from Jefferson Street to Broadway from the previously smaller footprint from Jefferson to Mulberry streets. But other factors were also in play.
“We increased the music to three stages and moved to more acoustic music,” she said. “Before, if there was a big band on the city stage with lots of percussion and high amplification, it was too loud. At booths close to the stage it was difficult to hear people talk. We now have a more intimate setting where people can relax and enjoy their food, family and conversation.”

Photo by Don Ward

From left, sisters Jade and Grace Aufderbeck are pictured and will perform Saturday, Oct. 8, at Madison Chamber’s Soup, Stew & Brew festival on Madison’s Main Street.

One of the musical groups performing at the Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew this year is Grace and Jade Aufderbeck, who are sisters, two of a set of triplets. They are a country band duo called Two Thirds and list home as Cincinnati and Nashville, Tenn. Grace was on “American Idol” two years ago.
“Music has been a passion to me every since I was a little kid,” said Grace Aufderbeck. “I grew up listening to country music. My parents would listen to it all the time – in the car rides and even at home. I would sing every word to the songs. Music has been my best friend even before I could talk.”
The favorite part of music for the sisters is performing.
“I love performing because it makes others happy. Watching the audience feel the emotion I do on stage makes me the happiest I ever will be,” Grace said, “especially along with my sister, Jade. Without growing up with my sisters, I would never be the person I am today.
That’s how I know all I want to do is sing and perform for the rest of my life.” 
The sisters say they are excited about their first performance at Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew.
“We are very excited to perform at the Madison gig,” she said. “I’ve never performed around this town before, and I am so excited and thrilled to show the people at the event what my sister and I can do. We love being with each other and doing what we love. What is special about our music is that it really connects with all kinds of audiences.”
In addition to the expanded footprint and musical performances, there was also an increase in children’s and adult activities.
“There were inflatables and face painting so children had a lot more to do,” said Bloos. “We will add an additional face painter to keep up with the demand this year. That is included in the Kid Zone wristband price. They can play all day.”
Kids have unlimited play all day at the Grote Kids’ Zone areas with a $10 wristband. There are community art projects, and any organization not serving food will offer games. There is also a Cornhole Tournament starting at noon. Alcohol was added to Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew in 2013.
“It was called Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew, so people were always asking, ‘Where is the brew?’ ” Bloos said, laughing. “We added North Vernon Beverage for beer, and they are now a big sponsor. There is also wine from our local wineries.”
“I see Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew continuing to grow,” said Bloos. “We just have to decide the pattern by looking at the year-to-year comparison for steady growth. I see us needing additional space but do not see us growing into more of Main Street.”
There is a plan in the works for the city to take over Main Street from the Indiana Department of Transportation. 
“We may need to adapt when that happens,” she added. “One thing really good about Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew is that the event has a really good track record adapting to rapid changes.”
Through all the changes, there is one constant.

“The festival was started by (the late) former chamber Executive Director Jeff Garrett, who had a desire to bring people to the downtown shopping district,” said Bloos. “That is at the heart of what we try to do. We work with Main Street businesses to make sure the festival fits their needs and promote them throughout the event.”

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