Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#23 Rhubarb Festival - Kankakee, IL - May 15, 2010

#23 - Rhubarb Festival, Kankakee, IL, May 15, 2010

This sad looking sign should have prepared me for the disappointment to come. As a veteran festival goer, I should have known not to arrive late. Alas, all of the rhubarb treats had been sold out for hours by the time I hungrily checked in. People regaled me about the rhubarb pies stacked one on top of each other on window sills as far as the eye can see. I could almost smell it. Even a city Alderman I met claimed to have not received a slice. Disappointing on a hungry stomach, and even more disappointing after driving almost 300 miles.

I mentioned I was hungry right? Sadly, there were only two vendor booths. One ice cream vendor (Of course no rhubarb flavored ones) and a regular 'ol Carnie style wagon. Seeing nothing original nor intriguing, I settled on this order of chili cheese fries. The chili had an inexplicable sweet taste and the cheese was inexplicably bland, but the fries were great. Yet, it was not what I came for.

Festival Trinket of the Week: I would not be denied in finding something rhubarb related. Little did I know that I would actually leave with an actual rhubarb plant. Obviously I wasn't going to get something ready to eat, so I'll plant this little guy, I've named Rusty, and make something myself in the next 3 months or so.

I was disappointed thus far in my trip, and I put out an open call to my friends in the Chicagoland Area to meet up. Luckily my friend Lisa answered that call and met me at the Golden Corral in Joliet, IL for this plate 'o food. In my defense I was really hungry as I hadn't eaten before the rhubarb debacle. Seen here are the following: cornbread stuffing, sauteed mushroom, broccoli with cheese, mashed potato, some type of steak, a half roast chicken, and a healthy salad. Please respect my buffet plate stacking skill. Needless to say plate one hit the spot.

I was able to catch up with Lisa after the meal, and being the green thumb she is, she suggested we split Rusty the Rhubarb in two. Now there are twins: one residing in Chicago and one in St. Louis. Now if only the citizens of each city would learn from this example when it comes to our sports teams. I have a strange feeling her rhubarb is going to get the better of this deal.

The website had also proudly announced a collection of original James Bond cars used in the films. Apparently there were only two. I was assured the collector had quite a collection in his warehouse, but couldn't transport them here (even a submarine from what I hear). This is a Jaguar used in the film Dr. No, notice the little missiles in the front grill and the mounted machine gun in back.

It could have been so different. I was originally scheduled to go to this Frog festival in Waynesville, MO. It is a festival created around this rock painted as a frog named, W.H. Croaker. This is festival pure gold. I mean they were even to have frog legs and all sorts of frog follies. I drove halfway there on Saturday, but turned around at Meramec Caverns when I saw this sad message on Waynesville's website, Due to high water in the City park, caused by the recent heavy rains, Frog Fest has been rescheduled to 9 October 2010. I shall not forget you in October my froggy friend, I shall not forget. "

Video of the Week: The trellis sure didn't help in exposing this band to the public. Here is the Heartland Bluegrass Band doing their own special rendition of one of my favorites, "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Visit Heartland's Facebook Page!

All told, I drove about 800 miles in search of these two festivals. The disappointment of the frog festival left such a bad taste in my mouth, that I researched all night for another festival on Sunday. I expanded my normal travel radius, and set sail for Kankakee. I knew the festival was from 10-4, and I didn't show up until 2:00. It's my fault really that I didn't get pie, but fault does not pie make. The elusive rhubarb has escaped me once again.

Having never used it before, I picked up some rhubarb 2 weeks ago but had no idea what to do with it. Which is why I was so set on this festival once I found it. Fear not, for this site called savour the rhubarb has plenty of great ideas to use the sour plant. But I still have to wait for Rusty to grow, and if you are interested in growing your own rhubarb then this site is a must read. As always if you want to know more about rhubarb than anyone ever should, then this is your site. To get the basics about the rhubarb plant then click here, apparently the leaves contain oxalic acid and are poisonous to eat. Maybe someone should have informed me earlier. If you are wondering what rhubarb, philosophy and John Cleese have in common, the answer is this song about a rhubarb tart. If that isn't enough, then heed Jack Nicholson as the Joker warning about people's rhubarb.

Rhubarb is just a funny word to say. Say it three times and see if you can say it without some sort of twang. Heck, Kankakee is no slouch either. Almost sounds like an exotic bird call. Apparently there are more rhubarb lovers than I imagined, and for you there is even a line of clothing with crafty rhubarb sayings. Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks rhubarb is a funny name, and I'll look forward to meeting Rhubarb the Reindeer if I ever make it to a Tacoma Rainiers AAA baseball game.

I essentially went 1/2 out of 2 festivals this week. That's ok, as festival season goes into full swing starting Memorial Day Weekend. Will Bret Michaels make it to Rib America in St. Louis over Memorial Day weekend? Stay tuned.


  1. Sorry to hear this festival was a bust by the time you made it there, but at least you got some rhubarb adventures out of it. And a plant. Thanks for making it into an entertaining read anyway.

    By the way, the video didn't work when I clicked on it. I want to hear their Ring of Fire!

  2. Funny blog man. Too bad you got a late start but at least you got a plant.


  3. Thanks Imron and Bucky for the positive comments. The plant is already looking like it may be in trouble. It may not be an indoor plant, and outside it will go. Thanks for the continued support!