Farmers Market growing success

Although rain has fallen the first four weeks of the Crawfordsville Farmers Market, the wet weather has not dampened the excitement surrounding this year’s season.

Market Manager Dale Hankins said the momentum and enthusiasm surrounding the market the past few years continues to grow. Organizers look forward to adding special events as well as new vendors.

“We have just over 40 vendors this year and that is an increase from last year,” Hankins said. “Not every vendor will be there every week, and some are just seasonal, but we have a consistent number of vendors so far this season.”

Hankins said fresh items at the market include spring vegetables. Lettuce, kale, onions, asparagus, radishes and greens are plentiful. Last week, local strawberries made their appearance and will be available the new few weeks.

Vendors are also selling meat, baked goods, jam and jelly each Saturday, while artisans exhibit their wares for sale.

Plans this year include special events such as Touch a Truck Day, Harvest Days and possibly a chili cook-off day in the fall. Different music groups will provide entertainment from time to time.

The city received a grant that will allow them to purchase large yard toys.

Hankins is looking for a volunteer to run corn hole tournaments inside the neighboring Pike Place.

For the first time, Athens Art Gallery has committed to being at the market. They plan to highlight a local artist each week. The artists will actually paint “plain aire beauties” for market-goers to enjoy.

This year local restaurants and food trucks will periodically provide food for market-goers.

Non-profit organizations also are invited to participate in the market. The market committee welcomes non-profits to set up information booths.

Hankins, who has been involved with the market for 16 years, said since it moved from the courthouse parking lot to Pike Street it is proving to be an asset to the community.

“Moving from the parking lot has given us more of a street festival feeling,” Hankins said. “It is good to see people walking around and just chatting and having a good time. We have found the market has become a good place to reconnect with people.”

The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday until it closes in late fall.

Crawfordsville Main Street is the city sponsor for the Downtown Farmers Market.

City enters into marketing agreement

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton is ready to step up efforts to attract new retail businesses to the city. 

At Wednesday’s Crawfordsville Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, he received approval to enter into an agreement with a seasoned national marketing firm, r360, from Alabama.

“This firm has had a lot of success in other cities our size and I think it is worth a try,” Barton said. “They will do more than just produce marketing materials. They will take the lead in several innovative marketing methods never tried here before.”

Barton said the company will provide customized marketing and consulting services. He said the company uses the most current information available in today’s marketing industry. For example, the company has access to cellphone location information. With the information, they 

can see what retail services local residents are visiting. 

The information, which does not include individual information such as names, allows r360 to market to retailers with data showing where residents shop or dine.

The company will actually communicate to potential retailers and investors in an effort to recruit them to increase city retail businesses.

“Analytics is the foundation of any retail recruitment strategy,” the company’s Facebook page states. “r360 has identified the most robust research, mapping and analysis tools currently available in the marketplace to understand your retail trade area and determine realistic targets for recruitment.”

The one-year contract calls for payment of $25,000. Barton expects the company to start work in June.

City Code Enforcement Officer Barry Lewis presented five properties for cleanup by city street department employees. Three of the properties include mowing and some also need the removal of trash and old furniture. The properties are 507 E. Jefferson St., owned by Jacob and Jennifer Roach; 1711 E. Main St., owned by Benjamin Chang; and 1100 W. Market St., owned by Mark Sipe. Three more properties will be mowed for the second time this season. They are 1100 W. Market St.; a lot in 200 block of South Boulevard; and 203 S. Water St.

City street department commissioner Scott Hesler reported the city’s yard waste plant has been busy since Friday storm. His department will continue to curbside pick-up of storm debris until June 12.

Sassy Princesses

INDIANAPOLIS — Emery Jane Allen and Regan Minnette are back in the land of ogres, donkeys and dragons, and they couldn’t be happier.

The Crawfordsville girls first performed together in Shrek, The Musical last summer at the Variety Theatre. Now they’ve reunited for a professional production of the show at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

Allen is once again recreating the role of young Fiona, who is sent to a tower — and guarded by a dragon — to await her rescue. The 9-year-old is excited to be in a production and a role she knows well.

“I had an opportunity to be in Shrek, The Musical at my local theatre and I thought it was a funny musical,” Allen said. “It has funny and sad scenes, and tells us not to judge people from the outside.”

The audience watches Fiona go from a young girl to an adolescent, played by Minnette, before becoming the adult princess (played by Emily Grace Tucker) who is ultimately rescued by Shrek.

Unlike her younger counterpart, Minnette is taking on a different role in this show, having played Donkey last summer.

“It’s one of my favorite musicals,” the Crawfordsville High School freshman said. She is the daughter of Kent and Erica Minnette.

While Allen is making her Beef & Boards debut, 14-year-old Reagan is no stranger to the dinner theatre’s stage, having performed in The Wizard of Oz there a few years ago. Her resume also includes productions of Legally Blonde, Into the Woods, The Addams Family and Bring It On. 

For her part,Allen has performed in Disney Spectacular, Those Were The Days: Sound of Music and Those Were the Days: Oliver!, as well as Dear Santa, the Musical.

“I love singing and dancing and being on stage,” the third-grader at New Market Elementary said. She is the daughter of Brandon and Stephanie Allen.

Both girls have dreams of taking their talents all the way to Broadway.

Shrek, The Musical brings all the characters from the film to the stage where the unlikely hero finds himself on a life-changing journey with a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Plus, as the 2017 Family Show, Shrek, The Musical features $10 family show discounts off tickets for kids ages 3-15. Shrek, The Musical is on stage through July 2. 

Tickets range from $42.50 to $67.50 ($10 discounts for ages 3-15), and include Chef Odell Ward’s family-friendly dinner buffet, fruit and salad bar, unlimited coffee, tea and lemonade. Ample free parking is also available. For reservations, call the box office at 317-872-9664. For complete show schedule, visit www.beefandboards.com.

Shrek, The Musical is sponsored in part by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.

Local Boy Scout to host blood drive on Friday

Beau Hutchison knew he wanted his Eagle Scout project to help people.

Hutchison will have a blood drive at 2 p.m. Friday at Milligan Park in honor of everyday unsung heroes. 

The Crawfordsville High School junior wants residents to donate blood for law enforcement, firefighters and other emergency personnel. He also wants people to give to show respect for veterans and those serving in the military.

“I wanted to honor those who play a vital part in helping our community stay safe and healthy,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison has relatives who served in the armed forces as far back as World War II and he wants to honor them as well. He plans to have information for attendees concerning public servants and military personnel who he considers as local heroes.

Hutchison is a member of Crawfordsville Boy Scout Troop #318. He got the idea of hosting a blood drive by looking at what other scouts across the country have done. He also wanted to do something that had not been done in the immediate area.

“I started looking at ideas for my Eagle Scout project and noticed only one guy in California had done a blood drive,” Hutchison said. “It seems like a good way to help a lot of people.”

The drive is being coordinated through the Indiana Blood Center. They will have the Bloodmobile located at the newly renovated Milligan Park Pavilion until 6 p.m.

Scouts from Troop #318 will assist during the event and will provide refreshments of baked goods, fruit, juice and water.

Hutchison hopes the community will support his effort by giving blood.

Nearly 400 acres of Parke County now protected

Having spent years purchasing property near Turkey Run State Park, local entrepreneur and nature lover Joe McCurdy has donated to the Central Indiana Land Trust a conservation easement on 394 acres that provide a home to rare and endangered flora and fauna.

The terms of the conservation easement allow the property to stay in private ownership but retain its current character, even if sold. The Land Trust will monitor the property to ensure that the terms of the agreement are honored.

Joe McCurdy has been purchasing property near Turkey Run State Park for years. The owner of the Turkey Run Canoe & Camping near Bloomingdale, McCurdy learned sound forestry practices through a six-week woodland owner class offered by Purdue University and additional educational field days. The training he received covers practices such as proper tree planting, invasive control, timber stand improvement and sustainable harvesting.

“I developed an interest in forestry while helping on a Christmas Tree Farm, and later fell in love with the forests of Parke County,” McCurdy said. “I wanted to be sure my property always stay intact and isn’t divided, so I donated the easement to CILTI, and they’ll ensure that my family and future generations can enjoy it.”

The property is less than a half mile from Turkey Run State Park, and its western boundary is adjoined on three sides by state property managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Green Creek flows through the property.

It’s filled with wildflowers such as fire pink, shooting star and large-flowered trilliums, a rare plant in Central Indiana and one of the state’s most attractive species. The woods are loaded with neo-tropical migrant birds, including some rare species like the endangered cerulean warbler and rare worm-eating warbler and a population of Eastern box turtles.

“This is the largest property CILTI has ever protected, and a textbook example of what CILTI is all about,” said Cliff Chapman, CILTI executive director. “Although we focus on science-based conservation and an appreciation of plants, animals and ecosystem function, conservation is about people. The way to protect our most precious natural resources is through relationships and working with landowners who want to be good stewards of important sites.”

Because the property will remain in private ownership, it will not be open to the public. However, the public still benefits, Chapman notes, because protecting the habitats of rare and endangered species means they are more likely to be seen in public places as well.

Conservation easements are legal agreements between landowners and land trusts that place specific land-use restrictions on a property according to the landowner’s desires. Those restrictions are attached to the title of the property, so they remain in place even if the property is sold to new owners. This means landowners can derive financial benefits from the property enjoying it themselves, continuing to use it as a working property or even selling it so long as they use the property in ways consistent with the conditions of the conservation easement. Conservation easements also deliver certain tax benefits to landowners.