#34 Decatur Celebration - Decatur, IL - August 8, 2010
Meat on a stick is always good, but hard to determine exactly what it is. You are actually looking at alligator on a stick. And yes, it tasted like....well, alligator. It had a chickeny taste, but had a sweet fresh water aftertaste. It was actually pretty good, and to be honest, anything with a deep fired batter is better.
The next stop was this tasty treat. Deep Fried Brownies. I'm not sure what the actual batter consisted of, but it was a type of chocolate batter. The concept was ingenious but was not very impressive at first. The crispy exteriors of the batter made an excellent contrast in texture, and really grew on me. After eating half of the brownie, I was in desperate search of a tall glass of ice cold milk. It was actually very good.
Yet, my sweet tooth was not fully indulged. I came across this strawberry crepe, which looked too good to pass up. The looks did not deceive. There was a light crepe wrapped around a vanilla custard all topped with whipped cream and super sweet strawberries. There really isn't a way to make that taste bad. Pure simple genius, and proof that classics are classics for a reason.
I was aimlessly wandering the festival when I came across this oddity. Meet Scott Wade and his dirty car art. It was actually very impressive. This is a car that is coated with dirt, and the artist removes strips of dirt by brush to create these beautiful images. Not the best long-term artwork, but something that is easy to appreciate.
Festive Trinket of the Week: I have already installed this trinket into its permanent place. Obviously this is a Pee-Wee Herman light switch cover that really scares me to turn that switch off for some reason. Luckily, that switch controls most of my electrical items, and should never be turned off. Regardless, it makes me laugh every single time I have looked at it. Solid Gold. Ok if you insist, here is some classic Tequila Pee Wee, or his show's theme song, or even one of the most memorable magic words you ever did here. Side note, did you know Cowboy Curtis from the show was played by Laurence Fushburne? Everyone has to start somewhere.
Video of the Week: This was truly the highlight of this festival. Although the festival brought in many local and national acts, two artists caught my eye enough to change schedule and attend this past Sunday. Ton Loc and Young MC graced the stage this fateful day. You may know Tone Loc for his hits such as Wild Thing or Funky Cold Medina, but Young MC really entertained me with this classic song, "Bust a Move". Sorry for the poor audio quality as my phone is apparently not the solution to a lost camera.
Decatur, Illinois was an interesting city but not nearly as interesting as its
namesake. Take a moment to read the inscription on this tomb, and it seems as though it was written yesterday. Stephen Decatur was a hero in the War of 1812 and the Barbary Wars. He fought valiantly, and was the youngest officer to achieve the rank of Captain. His story comes to an end over and old school duel (At 8 paces though due to his opponent's poor vision). Although Decatur was an expert marksman, he did not attempt a kill shot (aiming instead to incapacitate his foe, one James Barron). Ultimately, Mr. Barron took the shot in the hip but was able to fire off a critical shot to Decatur's abdomen. Stephen Decatur died that day, but his legacy lives on.To learn more about Mr. Decatur than any non-history buff should know just click here.
Thank you to the two ladies I met at the Walleye Festival who originally advised me to go this festival. It didn't have a food theme, but boasted 62 different food vendors of varying interest. Thank you also to Kim who accompanied me to this festival, and made it that much more fun.
Although the food vendors provided a plethora of options, Tone Loc and Young MC were definitely the highlights. If you are not able to recite every word of "Bust A Move" you either didn't grow up in my generation, or were just not very cool at the time. I know my video audio quality is terrible, so I'll include Young MC's hits here as well. Hits such as, "Bust A Move", "Principal's Office", or "Fastest Rhyme". (If you want another retrospective on the 80's here he is on the Arsenio Hall show).The man has still got it, as he even performed the latter for his encore (yes an encore at the Decatur Celebration). The man has still got it, and may have been even better than I remember. Tone Loc was the actual headliner (at 5 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon at the Decatur Celebration) but was a little disappointing. He came off pretty self-important and brought along some fake reggae hype man named Poopadon (best I could make out). He did play his hits, but it wasn't as fun as Young. Here is Tone's hit, "Wild Thing".
Without fear for my waistline nor artery health, I have officially been on a deep fried food item kick. Yet, sadly I have only scratched the surface. Here are 25 great ideas to try at home, of which I have only tried 7. I need to stop slacking. If that didn't satisfy your inner-glutton, then visit the Chip Shop on your next visit to NYC and bring in whatever you want them to fry or submit an idea online.
This festival is a great example of one man's idea gone wild. Originally one man's vision to promote the city and boost morale, has spawned a festival covering 20 city blocks with 11 entertainment stages 25 years later. This festival was a last minute addition at the expense of Odessa, MO's Puddle Jumper Days. I took a risk on a larger festival based on a recommendation of a person I met over a fish sandwich,and it really paid off. We should all take a lesson from Stephen Decatur's life and death. Always go for all the money, and never take anything for granted.