The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 24, 2013

Downtown event shows growth

Barbecue, music on schedule

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — More food and arts and craft vendors and barbecue tasting opportunities await attendees at the second annual Taste of Downtown Danville starting Friday.

Local barbecue teams also are excited about showing off their skills against other teams across the state and from other areas again at the Kansas City Barbeque Society–Sanctioned BBQ competition, according to organizers.

The number of teams is approaching 20, with the cap set at 30. With 25 teams, the competition is then a qualifier event for other competitions. There were 17 teams last year.

“We’ve got several returning teams and a few new ones,” said Jasen Adam with the local team, 82’s BBQ.

Teams are coming from the Chicago area, Cissna Park, Peoria and other areas.

Adam, who suggested the barbecue competition as a tourism event to bring people downtown, said he remembers telling Dana Schaumburg, Downtown Danville Inc. executive director, to just watch the event grow after the first year.

Adam said he’s excited for the weekend. Some teams will start setting up downtown on Thursday night, with their smokers and other equipment.

The barbecue judging in the categories of brisket, chicken, pork and ribs will be Saturday afternoon. Cash prizes will be awarded ranging from $1,000 for the grand champion prize, $500 for the reserve grand champion prize and $100 each for side dish and people’s choice, among the other categories.

Adam said he hopes this year’s event is a success. He said no one should go away hungry.

Adam’s team placed in ribs last year.

“Everything else was not as we’d hoped ...,” he said. “We’ve changed up our recipe a little bit,” he added about this year’s strategy.

82’s BBQ has high hopes for brisket this year, Adam said.

On Friday, in addition to the barbecue competition set-up, there will be arts and craft vendors in Vendor Square next to the Fischer Theatre starting at 2 p.m., food vendors starting at 11 a.m., live music at 11:30 a.m., Peer Court-sponsored children’s activities at 5 p.m. and American Legion Riders’ Motorcycle Show at 6 p.m.

“We have a full slate of new food vendors,” Schaumburg said.

The Taste of Downtown Danville is about the area’s food, but also about getting a taste of the cultural aspects, arts, music and more from the downtown area and beyond.

The new Tasters’ Square area just east of Temple Plaza will be open from 4-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday of the event to get a taste of eight different wines, craft beers and local foods. Those entering the Tasters’ Square area can buy tickets for $1 each and turn them in inside the tent for a variety of tastes.

Another opportunity to taste during the event will be the return of People’s Choice Tasting starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 in the Tasters’ Square area. Teams enrolled in the People’s Choice Competition of the Kansas City BBQ Society-Sanctioned event will provide pork butt for judging by the public while supplies last. Visitors can buy a plate of samples from the participating teams and cast a vote for their favorite.

On Saturday, there will be the Downtown Danville Farmers’ Market at 7 a.m., 5K run/walk at 9 a.m., the BBQ competition, arts and crafts vendors at 10 a.m., food sales, beer and wine tastings and bands performing live music. There also will be the Vermilion County Crimestoppers Car Show at 5 p.m., children’s activities starting at 3 p.m., BBQ competition awards ceremony and free family movie at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, there will be food and arts and crafts vendors and children’s activities in addition to a community church service at 11 a.m., gospel music at 11:30 a.m. and United Wrestling Coalition Show at 1 p.m.

For a complete updated schedule, see event information on Facebook.

The Fischer Theatre’s Arts and Entertainment Museum also will be celebrating the induction of its newest addition to the lineup of Danville entertainers, James Wainwright, during the weekend’s events.

Although his name might not be well known, his face will be recognized by many who watched TV westerns and other dramas, throughout the 60’s and 70’s. James Wainwright was born in Danville in 1937 and attended Danville High School.

Wainwright moved to Hollywood and made a career as a character actor appearing in Daniel Boone, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Hawaii 5-O, Dynasty, M.A.S.H. and many others.

A timeline of James Wainwright’s film career will be highlighted in the museum located in the theater’s lobby, along with a life-size, free-standing portrait which will join the existing likenesses of Danville celebrities Dick and Jerry Van Dyke, Gene Hackman, Donald O’Connor, Bobby Short and Helen Morgan.

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, will be on hand to officially proclaim Sept. 28, 2013 to be “James Wainwright Day.”

Also on Saturday, the Fischer Theatre will be hosting its largest retro soda tasting event to date. In honor of James Wainwright and his many portrayals in westerns, this soda tasting event will feature a western theme with many soda flavors associated with the “wild west.” Flavors such as sarsaparilla, birch beer, “hot” ginger ale, and prickly pear cactus will be offered to sample, as well as some new and exotic flavors. The soda tasting will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday outside and under the Fischer Theatre’s marquee on Vermilion Street.

New this year, will be an exclusive, commemorative Fischer Theatre shot glass keepsake which will only be offered in a special V.I.P. package which for $15 will enable the purchaser to use it for unlimited tastings to the dozens of flavors offered. In addition to the collectible shot glass, the V.I.P. package includes a cowboy hat, bandana, free bag of popcorn, and a chance to win a retro soda and candy gift basket.

Soda tasting participants will have the option of buying the shot glass V.I.P. package, or tickets that can be redeemed for any flavor the taster wishes to sample.

Tickets will be sold for $3 for six tastings or $6 for 12 tastings.

Sodas offered in the tasting will be available for sale in the café of the Fischer Theatre for $2 a bottle and can be paid for with cash.

Also, the rare, no longer produced original recipe of Dr. Pepper from Dublin, Texas, also will be available for sale for $4 a bottle. Some cardboard six-pack carriers with the Dublin Dr Pepper logo are still available for free with a purchase of six bottles.

Customized six packs of mixed varieties may be purchased in the café as well. Popcorn will be available for $1 a bag.

All proceeds from this event, including sales from the gift shop and café, as well as donations to the Arts and Entertainment Museum, benefit the Fischer Theatre.

In addition, Miss Illinois International 2013 Season Winesburg will attend the Taste of Downtown Danville with two personal appearances scheduled. Winesburg will be signing autographs at Vendor Square, located in Palace Park next to the Fischer, from 5-6 p.m. Saturday and from 1-2 p.m. Sunday. Having held numerous titles and awards within the International, Miss America, and Miss USA systems, Winesburg was crowned Miss Illinois International on March 3, in Gurnee.

After being crowned Miss Northern Illinois 2009, in the Miss America system, Winesburg took a year off work and school to travel the state volunteering full time; she traveled more than 30,000 miles making more than 200 appearances and raising $197,000-plus for various charities.