Tripping About The Country-
Observations from the Road and Home.
Monday, September 6, 2010
LITTLE ITALY FESTIVAL DAY 2
I had to go back to the festival just to try more of the food. People turned out in numbers to watch or participate in the grape stomp. The barrels were mobbed with camera wielding watchers.
Once you get out of the juicy, sticky stuff, a barrel of plain water allows you to rinse your feet.
A Japanese tourist got enticed to participate by one of the dancers. The M.C. continually announces to the crowd and has fun with the participants.
Three inch thick barbequed pork chops caused me to drool a bit. The shish-ke-bob, bag tacos, corn dogs and brats, all delicious carnival fare I've tasted before. I was looking for the unusual and I found it. Deep fried desserts.
Two stands sold deep fried Twinkies and Oreos. This one went the whole gambit with MilkyWays and Snickers, too. I hung around the stand for awhile waiting for someone to order one so I could see what it looks like and get an opinion of what it tastes like. The customers ordered everything else but the deep fried desserts, so I chickened out and passed on by. I'm not a sweets lover by nature, but now that morning is here, I'm regretting it. I will ever be curious.
Kettlecorn is sweet and not to my taste but I enjoyed watching this guy make huge vats of the stuff. Eventually, I settled on an Italian sausage covered with onions and green peppers. Should have been good but the Midwest doesn't spice things up and it was mild and just okay. Then I asked the locals what is the best stuff at the festival. I heard from two different people that the Italian Wedding Cake is a must. And, from a specific stand at that. The cakes sell for $30, but this stand sold by the slice or cupcake. Cake is something I usually pass, but I took the cupcake. It's more like a pound cake, richer, heavier in texture, with nuts and flavorings that made it quite different. If you love cake, you would probably love the Italian Wedding Cake.
The Coal Town and Rail Road Museum were open during the festival and we visited these two small museums housed in the old Railroad Depot. We viewed a film down inside a coal mine with mules and workers showing how it was done. Gritty, hard work for the young. Two men, in this film, loaded 45 tons of coal in one day by hand with a shovel. The old song, 16 Tons came to mind, the amount expected of one man per shift.
The rail half of the museum had a video showing of personal interviews with former rail workers. The times were filled with difficult physical work. We complain about our wheeled suitcases, hustling them through check-in at the airport. I'd hate to have to tote the trunks above or the old heavy leather suitcases.
On the south side of town, the Italian Wine Garden is the focal point of the festival. Under a huge canopy of grape vine covered garden, neighbor meets neighbor in a homecoming; returning to Clinton to once again get together with friends and neighbors and family. People socialize over wine and beer and enjoy the music and revelry at the wine garden. After 6:00, no children are allowed and a small cover charge helps pay for the bands. This band from Ohio was just setting up and played nostalgic oldies, Dino, Sinatra, Mario Lanza and some great Italian music.
An old Italian store and small wine museum are in front of the garden with great old wine presses and musical instruments.
There is no longer a winery in Clinton, but traditionally, Italians make their own wine for home use. During the festival, participants can learn how to make wine.
I wanted to buy something just to see the clerk operate this old cash register. Jim spent most of the day hanging out at the VFW and Eagles Club, socializing with fraternal buddies.