The Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
has a new name: VisitMadison.
The citys tourism board on Aug. 22 voted to adopt the name but retain
its original legal name. It will begin doing business as VisitMadison
right away, and it already uses the name for its website address: www.VisitMadison.org.
Meeting just two days after the largest ever crowd to attend its Madison
Ribberfest, the board heard reports from its three major festivals: Ohio
River Valley Folk Festival, Madison Ribberfest and Madison Chautauqua
Festival of Art.
Madison Chautauqua coordinator Georgie Kelly reported that a maximum 250
booths will be rented for the upcoming festival. The 41st annual festival
is scheduled for Sept. 24-25.
Madison artist Lou Knoble has been selected as this years poster
artist. He has also created the T-shirt design.
A pre-Chautauqua poster signing event is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 16, at the West Street Art Center, 301 West St. Price of
the posters is $45 each and there is a limited of only 200 posters printed.
Knoble was born in Buffalo, N.Y., where he attended high school and college.
He lived across the street from the Museum of Science, where he attended
classes after school from 8 to 18 years old. He served four years in the
U.S. Air Force during the Korean War era. He received his bachelors
and masters degrees from the New York State University at Buffalo
on the GI Bill. He taught at Starpoint Central in western New York for
seven years before coming to Madison, where he retired after 30 years.
While art has been the main focal point of his career, Knoble coached
track and cross country for more than 40 years. He worked part time at
Hanover College as an assistant coach, a communications assistant and
taught an occasional art class.
Knoble, along with Oscar B. Bear and Emmet Wood, downtown businessmen,
and several art teachers, such as Hal Davis and Gary Chapman, were instrumental
in organizing the art fair that became known as the Madison Chautauqua.
Kelly said plans are on schedule for this years show. But she said
the festival committee is working to better enforce its No Pets
policy at this years event. No pets are allowed into the show but
many people bring them in anyway. It is difficult for the all-volunteer
staff to enforce the rule, so the committee is considering hiring daytime
security this year. "People seem to respect a person in uniform.
It is expensive but that may be our only option, she said.
Meantime, Ohio River Valley Folk Festival chairman Greg Ziesemer appeared
before the tourism board with folk fest committee member Darrell Auxier
to request a vote of approval on newly drafted by-laws and articles of
incorporation to establish 501c-3 status for the Ohio River Valley Folk
Society Inc. The Folk Festival committee wants the non-profit status so
it can begin applying for grant money and seeking corporation donations
to help fund the event. They want to reach out farther than Madison for
corporate sponsorship because they say Madison area businesses are tapped
out having already been asked to support the other two festivals.
You can only go to the same well so many times, Auxier said.
Ziesemer said the organization also wants the status because of the educational
mission of the festival to promote river heritage and folk music. The
board voted unanimously to approve the Folk Festivals nonprofit
application, which must still be approved by state and federal agencies.
Despite the designation and the creation of a board for the society, the
Folk Festival will remain a CVB-owned event and the committee will still
report to the tourism board its activities.
Ziesemer said the committee also is pondering a name change for the festival
because too many people are not sure what folk music is. We would
like to find a name that is more succinct and better defines what we are
all about, he said.
Some people are turned off by the term folk festival
because it is too vague.
The two also reported that the committee is working hard to contract the
bands earlier for next years event since they can often get a lower
price. Five of the eventual eight bands already have verbally committed
for next years festival, scheduled for the third weekend of May
Finally, they reported that the Halfway to Folk Festival fundraising
event is scheduled for Nov. 12 at the Livery Stable in Madison. It has
been purposely scheduled on that date to commemorate festival founder
John Walburn, who died on that date last year. Admission to the event
has been increased from $5 to $10 this year. The committee is hoping to
schedule two bands for the occasion: Mickey Clark and the Blue Norther
band from Louisville, Ky., and the locally based Slick River Rockets.
Clarks band played at last Mays Folk Festival.
Madison Ribberfest coordinator Kathy Ayers reported the largest crowd
ever for the 10th annual blues event, held Aug. 19-20. Saturday nights
crowd was the largest ever the night Chicago legend Buddy
Guy performed. She estimated the crowd between 12,000 and 14,000
about 2,000 more than last year. She also reported that admission wristband
and food sales were up about 30 percent over last year.
The sale of admission wristbands Friday night at the gate was down about
5,000, but she said advance wristband sales may have accounted for that
because they were up over last year.
Most of the local people buy their wristbands in advance so they
can get the food coupons, she said.
The crowd was so large that beer tents ran of cups but not beer. We
finally told people that if they wanted beer, they had to bring their
own cups, said Dave Carlow, who worked one of the tents.
The team known as Buttrub.com from Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., won the Kansas
City Barbeque Society pro competitions Grand Champion trophy and
winners check for $2,500. The team is led by Byron Chism and beat
out 59 other pro teams. The Grand Champion team earns a trip to the KCBS
American Royal championship event, held in Kansas City. The team is also
entered into a drawing of eight other Indiana KCBS competition winners
to determine a berth in the Jack Daniels Barbeque Championship in Lynchburg,
Tenn., to compete and the Indiana champion.
Reserve Grand Champion at Ribberfest went to Steve Creechs ZZ-Que
of Columbus, Ind. His second-place team collected $1,500. The top 10 teams
in each cooking category also won cash prizes.
This years festival did not include hot air balloons for the first
time but added boat excursion rides and a 5K walk and run on Saturday
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email: Don@RoundAbout.bz.