Paul Schultheis, Suzannah Zody, Harry Bond at the Nashville Gazebo.
Downtown Saturday Night
by Barney Quick
In Brown County, community fun takes on some forms one might not find elsewhere. On Saturday nights throughout the warm-weather months of 2007, locals and visitors will gather in the heart of Nashville for such activities as a fried-biscuit throw, a rooster-crowing contest, a pet parade, and a tall-tales contest. Along with each of these events, as well as many others, there will be music every week, and classic cars. Downtown Saturday Night, as the series is called, is poised to take the magic of Brown County to a new level.
It began as an idea nurtured by Brown County Chamber of Commerce president Suzannah Zody. She felt that the time was right for all the various attractions available in Nashville to benefit from a unified theme.
While she was considering what might serve as an anchor for such a series of nights, Harry Bond of the Brown County Council suggested a weekly classic car rally. He’d observed that places such as Franklin, Indiana and Paducah, Kentucky had had great success with such rallies. Bond and Zody did some research and discovered that there are over three hundred classic car clubs in southern Indiana.
Downtown Saturday Night will alternate between the Village Green on Jefferson Street and Coachlight Square, with each location hosting it for about five weeks at a time. There will be activities, a Brown County musical act, and food, in addition to an array of impressively restored vintage vehicles.
Certain organizations are taking charge of themes for particular nights. April 28 and July 21 are Hamblen Fire Department Fire Safety Nights, during which the department will display its fire truck and hand out smoke detectors. July 14—the night of the Fried Biscuit Throw—is Brown County Community Foundation Night. The foundation will use the occasion to award its annual grants. Habitat for Humanity will host the event on June 2.
On nights during which Downtown Saturday Night emanates from Coachlight Square, wine tasting will be a prominent part of the proceedings, courtesy of the Chateau Thomas Winery’s Nashville Tasting Room.
June 23 is the date for the Fourth Annual Tall Tale Tell-off. This contest began as a means of ensuring the legacy of columnist Kin Hubbard’s character Abe Martin, who popularized the institution of the Liars Bench, a gathering spot for local observers of life’s eternal verities and spinners of lore from the creeks and hills of Brown County. The Liars Bench was enshrined by a photograph by Frank Hohenberger, who visually documented the area’s unique charm in the early twentieth century. Five selected entrants will compete for prizes.
Jane Smidebush is in charge of Chicken Night, which occurs June 30. Her eyes light up as she describes the events she’s planning, such as a rubber chicken throwing contest and the rooster crowing contest. “I can’t participate in the crowing contest,” she says, “because I was crowned champion at one on Mackinac Island a while back.” Smidebush notes that judges for this event will be dressed in chicken costumes.
Zody is gratified by the way the community, through various institutions, is getting involved in the project. “There’s been a tremendous outpouring of resources and ideas at our committee meetings,” she says. She says the Town of Nashville has donated $1000 for a public-address system. When she has gone to the town administrators, town design review committee, the County Council, and the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau, she has received “tremendous help with permits and putting our committee together with artists.” Presentations were made to the local merchants’ group, the school board, the Economic Development Commission, and the Rotary club. The resulting feedback and support has been “positive comments all around.”
There is still ample room for volunteers who can serve in a variety of capacities. Those interested in offering help, or wishing to get more information, can contact the Brown County Chamber of Commerce, 37 W. Main Street in Nashville, at (812) 988-6647 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.