July 12, 2008

Summer Fest Offers Fun on Main Street

By Rod Rowe, Goshen News, Ind.

Jul. 12--The Summer Fest 2008 weekend began Friday with Main Street blocked off for sidewalk sales, carnival rides and concerts.

The festival is a combination of sidewalk days, the Goshen Grill Out and the downtown car show held here mid-summer in recent years.

"There are a ton of people downtown," said Nick Kieffer, Goshen Chamber of Commerce staffer and committee member. "It is a fun community event with something for everyone."

He said the plan was to show off the downtown and beef up Friday events for sidewalk days.

"We blocked off Main Street starting at 1 p.m., but people still got downtown," Keiffer pointed out, looking over the crowd still on the street at 8 p.m.

There is food available on Washington Street and a beer garden at Bosco's Place.

New this year is a nationally-sanctioned grilling contest with professionals starting their fires Friday night and cooking meat overnight for Saturday afternoon judging. Fifteen pro teams from three states entered the Goshen event, now sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. The Kansas City organization will hold its national contest at Lynchburg, Tenn., in October. The top team in the Goshen event qualifies to attend the national event in the fall.

"This is the third one in Indiana sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society," explained Eldon Seidner, a Summer Fest committee member. Others are near Terre Haute and at Madison in August.

"I'm stepping up my sauce this year," said Jon Silveus, Granger, who was cooking pork shoulder, ribs and chicken with partner Larry Cole. The pair won a division at the American Countryside grill off last year and Silveus won a division at the 2007 4-H fair cookoff.

"We've done well in Goshen," said the hobby griller Silveus. They planned to put their pork shoulders on the grill about 11 p.m. Friday to finish by today's noon deadline.

Two other divisions in the grill out -- "backyard grillers" and firefighter teams -- may also enter today. The deadline for entry is 7 a.m.

"It is not like it used to be, but is better than last year," said Goshen hardware store owner John Hall. Last year's event was canceled.

Hall said he thinks the larger carnival rides draw people to the downtown event.

"I'm happy. It is a nice day. There is no reason it can't get bigger," Hall said.

Two bands performed Friday night and two more are set to take the stage tonight at Fifth and Washington streets. The bands Blues Inc. and Peach Tree Otis are set to play from 6 to 10 p.m.

The colorful car show returns to Main Street today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., along with strolling entertainment by clowns and members of the 4-H Llama and Dog clubs.

There will be a watermelon eating contest and an ice cream social at Downtown @8:08. Carnival rides for children are operating on Washington Street.

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