Jun 18, 2012

Irish Days in Farmersville, Ill. (or one more reason to drink)

I’ll chalk this blog entry up to another in the category of “What I did this weekend.”  I’ve long heard my mysterious and exotic Gypsy talk about what a great time it is at Irish Days in Farmersville, a small farming community (go figure) about 30 minutes south of Springfield, Ill., just off Interstate 55.  So, we made plans to meet friends who are from there and check it out.

I have to be honest … I’m not sure what makes Farmersville’s Irish Days Irish.  Perhaps the town was settled by a lot of people of Irish descent.  We do know several Murphys from the area.  But if you’re looking for Celtic music, highland games, Guinness beer and corned beef and cabbage, you’re probably going to be disappointed. 

What Irish Days does appear to be is your standard small town homecoming festival/picnic, and like most of those are, it was very entertaining for what it was.  As you’d expect, the festival was held in the center of town, on the square.  When we arrived, we grabbed a quick bite to eat from the food vendors set up in the park – a pork chop sandwich for me and a cheeseburger for Gypsy.  I added a slice (actually more like a rectangle) of pizza from the Boy Scouts – always nice to support a local cause. 

With a food base to go on, it took us no time to find the beer tent, where we met our friends (yes, the Murphys were among them). 

I found it!!

Gypsy and Michelle -- a Brown, not a Murphy

They used the standard ticket system, and at $2.50 a beer, the price of drinking was very reasonable for the evening.  They also had a good variety of the old standbys – Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Stag, Natural Light and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  You can argue whether some of these are worth $2.50, but really, doesn’t an event like this call for a nice, cold Stag?  And who can argue with the vendor’s system of having a different freezer dedicated to each product?

Miller Lite, anyone?

As an added bonus, the beer tent was within walking distance of a couple of fun bars.  The first one we ambled over to was Caddyshack Sports Bar & Grill.  Guess what the theme was?

It was a friendly hangout, with a pretty lengthy bar area inside and a handful of tables that the employees were moving to make room for the band later.  I asked about the “rum jack” drinks on special for $3, and the nice, friendly female bartender recommended I try the whipped cream variety with root beer.  She was spot on … tasted just like a root beer float.  It could have been very dangerous if we stayed too long. 

The wall décor, as I alluded to, had several posters paying tribute to the movie “Caddyshack,” including this one I had not seen anywhere else before …

Well, all great things must end eventually, or at least temporarily, so we headed back to the beer tent to hear the band 808.  Personally, I’m not a fan.  It's just one Commoner's opinion, though.  The best thing I can say is they’re a cover band of current pop stuff with some 90s and 80s hits thrown in, and the ladies seem to like them.  They also consistently draw a decent crowd in the area. 

Gypsies love to dance.
808 is back there somewhere ...

Needless to say, I wasn’t too disappointed when a deluge of rain came over the festival and knocked out the band’s power for about 20 minutes.  To their credit, they got up and running again quickly and didn’t miss a beat in finishing their show.  Maybe I was just getting crabby due to the number of runs I had to make in the rain to the ticket booth to get more beer tickets. 

After the festival closed up for the night, we walked across the street to McGuire’s, which I blogged about previously as part of the bus trip to Fast Eddie’s Bon Air in Alton, Ill.  It was there that Gypsy finally had her first and only Irish drink of the night, a Jameson and water.  Our friends Michelle and Rick ordered a pizza, and the bartender led us to what was left of the chili that had won the Irish Days cook-off (second year in a row, he boasted).  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of McGuire’s, although if you’ve seen the photos from the bus trip, you get the idea.  I tend to forget my blogger’s duties the longer the night goes on.

We closed the night with a return trip to Caddyshack to hear the band Tommy, Chaka and Friends, or something like that.  It was quickly apparent the Chaka in the band was not Chaka Khan.  But their cover of Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel" got everyone moving and singing along.

Who's Tommy and who's Chaka?

Rick and Michelle graciously invited us to spend the night at the farm a few miles outside of town.  It’s a pretty cool place, actually, and probably worthy of a future blog in its own right.  Plus, they are the only people I know who have a pet dingo.  His name, appropriately, is Dingo.  In the morning, we had a feast of biscuits and gravy and met their pet calf, Baby.  Baby is a big baby that was apparently abandoned by her mother, so they are caring for it and feeding it from the largest baby bottle I’ve ever seen.  Gypsy and I wondered if one day we’d hear that a Baby ate their Dingo.

They also donated a rump roast from one of their cows they recently had butchered, which I can’t wait to prepare.  Nothing beats farm fresh food.  

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