Midway News - Personals and Comments
By John McDaniel Midway Correspondent Personals and Comments After reading last week's column about Midway in the 1888 Bluegrass Clipper, readers have asked me, "What in the world is a Hurdy Gurdy Man?" The easy answer is a man who plays the hurdy-gurdy, a stringed instrument that produces a sound by a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. He usually had a monkey as a companion trained to dance and hold out a cup so people could drop coins into it. I kind of picture him like an organ grinder (it looked like a large music box with a handle that he turned to create the music) whom I have actually seen a couple of times in my lifetime and, like the hurdy-gurdy man, he too had a monkey for an assistant. A song that was recorded in 1968 by Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan recorded a song called "Hurdy-Gurdy-Man." The song topped out number 5 on the US charts and went to number 2 in the UK. The second most asked question this week was, "What in the world is the 'Giant Pumpkin Project?'" Some of you may have seen the two straw bales at the end of Railroad Street between the two state highway signs on the north side of the street. There is also another sign that reads "Giant Pumpkin Project" right next to the bales of straw. This project, if successful, will allow Midway to be the home of the largest pumpkin in Woodford County or maybe the largest in the Bluegrass Region. The plants have been planted in the specially prepared straw bales and everyone who comes into town will be able to watch as the pumpkins continue to grow. The giant pumpkins are hybrids that are engineered to grow to over 1,000 pounds. This is the first year for this project and a lot is to be learned on this go-around. Realistically, if one of the pumpkins reaches 500 pounds, it should still attract downtown visitors and excite the children. To go along with the giant pumpkins, there should be two or three hundred pounders. There are also some other surprise pumpkins that may draw interest especially UK Wildcat fans and other members of the Big Blue Nation. There will be some blue pumpkins in the mix to add a little color to all that orange. Everyone is invited to come down town and watch the pumpkins grow and become part of the show that takes place in Midway on Halloween. ... Midway's first Midsummer Nights in Midway event of the year will take place on Friday, June 30. Midsummer Nights in Midway is a block party event that was started by the Midway Renaissance. The event was taken up again last year, a couple of years after the very successful Furlong Fridays event failed to receive any support from the Midway Merchants Association. The Furlong Fridays committee started the block party event several years ago. The committee chaired by former Mayor Tom Bozarth solicited private sponsors to finance the event. Last year the Midsummer Nights in Midway revived the once a month Friday night event made a few additions to make it more interesting. The great downtown restaurants will be featuring their specials for the evening, the downtown shops and street vendors will be extending their normal hours. Visitors will be able to check out the mini farmers' market and kids' activities will be featured and assisted by Midway's Locally Grown Youth organization. The children's special for the evening will be a visit by the "Tiny Tall Man," the 8-foot guy who is a crowd favorite at the Midway Fall Festival, the one who ties balloons into funny shapes and brings all the smiles to the kids' faces. The musical lineup for this year is: June 30m Twiggenburys; July 28, Larry Cory and the Passport Band; and Aug. 25, Stir Krazy. Of course, the shops and restaurants will be opening at their regular times Friday morning. The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. and the live music will start cranking at 7 and things will start winding down at 10. Remember to support the sponsors that make it possible for these Midway events to take place: the Grey Goose Restaurants and Graviss McDonald's Restaurants, Midway Shell and Midway BP, Midway University, Sturgill Turner, Amberway Equine & Sporthorse Properties, Mezzo Italian Cafe and Provisions, The Homeplace at Midway, Kennydid Gallery, Kentucky Honey Farms, Weisenberger Mils, May & Co., Southern Equine, and The City of Midway. Community Garden Update This week in the garden, the greens are still in vogue. Kale, collard, chard and mustard greens have been soaking up the rain and looking good. There is still some lettuce available. My favorite garden items, zucchini and yellow squash, have made their appearance and will be ready to grill, boil, or fry very soon. Did you know that the British refer to zucchini as marrow? The word "squash" comes from the Massachuset Indian word askutasquash, meaning "eaten raw or uncooked." If you have a few minutes, pull a few weeds so that the vegetables can thrive. Regular gardening work day is Saturday mornings at 10. The potatoes are not ready to be dug up yet so let's give them another week.