May 28, 2011

Springfield Old Capitol Art where??

Last Saturday (May 21) I accompanied my favorite Gypsy downtown for what was supposed to be an afternoon enjoying and celebrating the 50th Annual Springfield Old Capital Art Fair.  Well, as fate would have it (and this happens a lot with me), one distraction led to another and … well, let’s just say we didn’t see a lot of art.

The art fair happened to coincide with a number of other downtown events, including the opening Saturday of the Farmer’s Market (got there too late for that) and the Art of Illinois Wine Festival.  But the thing that first distracted us was J.P. Kelly’s a downtown Irish-themed bar on Adams and 3rd, right in the heart of the Farmer’s Market, known as much for their Bloody Marys on Saturday mornings as for their never-ending supply of Jameson.  What makes the Bloody Marys great is the list of ingredients and garnishes you can select to truly make it your own.  They’re really the equivalent of a salad bar on top of a glass.  I really wish they’d add spicy pickled green beans to the menu, though. 
Bloody Marys on standby
Jameson, anyone??

Well, after a couple of expertly made Bloody Marys, we decided to make a pit stop at the Blue Door, where they’re proudly displaying and selling Gypsy’s SueWoo Jewels.  I highly recommend the jewelry for their design and excellent craftwork.  But you could say I’m a little biased.  Actually, Ms. Woo wanted to add a few items to the display.  We figured the shop would be busy during the art fair, and by the business we saw when we arrived, we were right. 

OK, with that mission accomplished, you’d think we would have found plenty of time to browse through all of the artists’ booths on display around the Old Capitol complex. 
Old State Capitol surrounded by artists' booths

Well, you’d be wrong.  Before we knew it, we were following some friends past the food vendors and live music to the wine festival.  I blogged earlier about how I think Illinois wines are perfectly acceptable drinking, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many wineries represented.  In fact, I had never heard of many of them, particularly those from eastern and northern Illinois.  My major gripe, though, was the $10 per person admission fee.  Sure, you got 5 “samples” but a one-ounce pour per ticket isn’t enough to make a good decision on whether you like a wine or not, let alone begin to quench a thirst.  And isn’t the point to get you to buy wine from the vendors while you’re there?   This Commoner is on a limited budget, and that budget took a major hit at the gate.  On the plus side, Roberts Seafood was serving up free samples of a steamed mussel dish that was quite tasty, which helped take the sting off the admission price.  Nonetheless, Gypsy and I enjoyed a bottle of Traminette from Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford, Ill.  By the way, did you know the Traminette hybrid of grape was created at the University of Illinois in 1865 (again, if it’s on Wikipedia, it must be true … as far as we know). 
Many choices at the Art of Illinois Wine Festival
We sought relief from the sun under the tent at the wine festival. 

Between the influence of the wine and the Bloody Marys, we thought it would be a great idea to catch some of the music on the Sixth Street stage on the way back to the art fair.  And when that was over, we decided why not prepare for the upcoming Rapture with one last drink at the Brewhaus??  Where else would you expect to find me if I suddenly had only an hour before Judgment Day? 
Sooner or later, it all comes back to the Brewhaus, even for the Rapture.

The Red Bull must have been for Plan B in case the Rapture didn't happen.

Well, as it turns out, the prediction of Armageddon was wrong, and so was our thinking that we’d have plenty of time to see the rest of the art fair on Sunday.  Sleeping in and afternoon rain washed away those plans.  Lessons learned.  Next year, I’ve promised my misadventures will not distract, and it WILL be all about the art.

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