Before the dad blogging commission makes me turn in my credentials for just being another smart ass blogger instead of a dad blogger, I guess I should devote a little space here to wax poetic about my baby girl, who isn’t quite a baby anymore. Did you know she recently hit double digits? Kind of crept up on me also. August 18th was the day, and an impromptu trip to her Kentucky hidey hole for some birthday dinner was in order to cement myself as the “cool” parent.
In case you forgot (and I don’t blame you), my little girl took up archery last year. In an attempt to make sure that I’m at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles watching her compete, I thought I better make sure she has her own bow and arrow. It was an instant success, secured my nomination for 2017 Dad of the Year, and as an added bonus I got to hang around and watch her practice. The fun and games didn’t stop there, I even got a first hand tour of her school locker.
Rumor has it her new nickname at school is Katniss Everdeen.
Back in my day, our lockers were filled with books. Big heavy boring books. It became a science to successfully pick the right book out and get your locker closed without jamming it. Apparently now lockers double as mini Studio 54’s! Enter Sloane the DJ! Her locker has a disco ball and since I didn’t see any sound equipment, I made a mental note for Christmas to go shopping at Bose so she can be the coolest kid between classes. Seriously, her locker is straight out of a 70s disco hall. The only thing missing is the Bee Gees greatest hits and some polyester suits.
Since I had to turn my “custodial” keys over for the weekend because the great state of Indiana said it wasn’t my weekend to parent, Miss Madison, the steps, and I had to wait a week for a birthday blowout for the ages! Friday night of the birthday celebration, it was off to Sloane’s favorite restaurant for all things Mexican. We eat at this place so much I know the chef’s personal journey from an underground bullfighting ring in Guadalajara to making my daughter’s day every time we eat there. Nobody whips up a side of taco meat like this guy! I might mention Sloane is a tad picky, either way it was a great start to a fabulous weekend!
Enter Saturday, it was time for me to teach Sloane how nasty fermented grapes taste. No, we weren’t eating bad produce; it was time for a fun day on the banks of the Ohio River for the annual Swiss Wine Festival! I had the pleasure of attending it last year, but this year was even better since the blonde bomber was along for the ride. Even better still, I called in my ginger light brigade from my home town to help celebrate the day!
Even the governor paid us a visit for the day.
Quick recap, the history of commercial wine producing started in Switzerland County, Indiana. Apparently a pack of Swiss immigrants were floating down the river in search of a new Zurich, when their boat encountered a mechanical problem. Since that part of the world resembles Zurich about as much as I am a woman, they thought “eh” if we are stuck here we might as well perfect wine to make this place more palatable. The rest is history, and the tradition of wine continues to this day with a three day festival. (Miss Madison here. This revisionist history the Skipah is promoting is just not accurate. The settlers of Switzerland County actually chose this beautiful spot of country specifically because it reminded them of the landscape of Switzerland and was an ideal climate for growing grapes.)
Our first stop of the day was taking a boat ride on the river. Not just any kind of boat ride, try riding on a vintage World War II “Duck” boat. We literally just drove into the river. The story behind this boat/truck was quite fascinating. When it was done hauling ammunition and wounded soldiers at Normandy, it was somehow acquired for a mere $100 in 1971 by the owner, a former veteran himself, at a bar. He didn’t elaborate on the story behind the purchase of such a treasure, but I’m guessing alcohol was involved…….a lot of it!
From there, the kids were ready to make their own wine for a change instead of watching people drinking it. Enter the Grape Stomping challenge. Miss Madison Jr. got to do it last year and this year it was a royal rumble between the boys and the girls for T-shirts. Names were called, pride was hurt, and I might have been booking bets with the patrons! At the end of the day all I can say is #girlsrule and #boysdrool! The girls stomped a good bottle of PInot compared to the three quarters of a bottle for the boys. I collected about 20 bucks off some sweet elderly couple and another $50 from a millennial, and we all went away happy! Calm down AARP mafioso, I love my elders! Plus they make the absolute best neighbors. If so much as a blade of grass is out of place they are calling the police for you when you are gone! The millennial whined that I owed him his money back plus interest. Damn kids!
There is even video!
For some reason, the festival loves to boast it is the fourth largest food festival in Indiana. I would probably develop a heart condition if I visit the top three. Fourth best is plenty good enough for me! Pretty sure I’m going to have to walk an extra mile or six to burn off all the calories I consumed, and that was only for lunch. This is food porn on steroids!
Unfortunately I was too busy feeding my face to get more images!
As with any festival, we couldn’t call it a day without letting the kids go in full carnie mode for an hour or twelve. I kind of lost count between holding drinks, purses, and cell phones while the kids were tempting fate on some of the finest engineering this side of China. Thankfully, all the rides stayed in good working condition and nobody went for an unexpected ride. After spending close to the GDP of Tuvalu (I hadn’t heard of it either, how many damn islands do the British still claim) we thought we should call it a night. Wished our ginger friends a safe ride home and it was off to shut-eye-ville for the kids so I could spend my ill gotten gains on the Mayweather-McGregor fight. Or I just watched it on Periscope app for free and used the money and donated it to Miss Madison’s current project. Details to come in the near future on this!
Yes I’m man enough to admit I carry a pineapple themed purse!
About it for now, like every time I have Sloane, the drive back was tough. She wants to stay here, has no choice in the matter, and right now I’m having to sit and wait. She’s at least super stoked for archery practice now, and no matter the situation I’m always planning a way to get her what she wants. She’s ten years old now, when she turns 12, things get real interesting!