• John McDaniel, Midway Correspondent

Midway News - Personals and Comments

As predicted, Midway’s Derby weekend was pretty active. Actually it wasn’t just over the weekend that downtown Midway was filled with people checking out the shops and filling up the restaurants. The activity began on Wednesday and carried through the weekend. My friend Michael Crisp has a book out called “The Kentucky Bucket List.” One item in the book, number 46, is “spot a celebrity, almost anywhere but preferably in Midway, Kentucky.” This weekend had three celebrities whom I spotted in town. One was Mark Sanchez, a pro football player who now plays for the Denver Broncos. The second was Patti Smith, Patricia Lee “Patti” Smith (born Dec. 30, 1946), an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual artist who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album “Horses.” She has sung with Blue Oster Cult and Bob Dylan, just to name two of the many noted performers that she has shared the stage with. The third sighting that I had was Sam Shepard, American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director, whose body of work spans over half a century. He is the author of 44 plays as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 for his play “Buried Child.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in “The Right Stuff” (1983). Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York described him as “the greatest American playwright of his generation.” There is no doubt that Derby week stirs up a lot of activity in Midway. ••• While I am on the subject of activities around Midway, it looks like Midsummer Nights in Midway will have the town stirred up a bit this summer. I just came back from a planning meeting and it’s looking pretty good. It looks like many of the downtown stores are planning to stay open on the Midsummer Nights in Midway events along with extra vendors and a surprise guest that is a favorite at the Midway Fall Festival. So mark your calendars for June 24, July 22, and Aug. 19. FYI, there is going to be a special Midsummer Nights in Midway t-shirt that will be unveiled very soon. It is the best Midway t-shirt ever! ••• Two events that always brought several extra people to Midway and also entertained many of the townspeople were the May Day festivities and the Night of Lights. Both events took place at Midway Junior College and High School and Midway Junior College, now Midway University. Both events were curated by the college’s athletic coach, Margaret Ware Parrish. The May Day production would usually have a play with people and a live horse thrown in for special effects. After the festivities students from the school would wrap the May Pole. I never did figure out how 15 to 20 students could each take a giant ribbon hanging from the pole and weave in and out and around each other without getting all tangled up. The other event that townspeople seemed to like was the college’s Night of Lights. Each of the students would gather at the bridge on Stephens Street and take a candle on a small float and set it afloat on Lee’s Branch. I think the kids around town enjoyed this event as much as the adults watching the candles float down the creek. I am sure there were several bets on the side as to which candle would float the furthest and stay lit the longest.

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