In 2012, NABC was delighted to work with the Lanesville Jaycees to put Tafel on tap at Lanesville Heritage Weekend: Happiness is NABC Tafel Bier at the 37th Annual Lanesville Heritage Weekend.
In 2013, the 38th Lanesville Heritage Weekend runs from September 13 – 15, and once again the Jaycees will be pouring draft Tafel. In fact, last year worked so well that the club had doubled their order.
You may be asking, “What is Heritage Weekend, and where is Lanesville?” Following is a column written by Roger last year, which explains in part. Don’t forget that The Fall Flea takes place a short distance from the fest grounds on Saturday and Sunday.
ON THE AVENUES: Pangs of Heritage Weekend (10/04/12).
A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.
On the main highway through Lanesville, there stands a sturdy red barn with nicely restored Mail Pouch Tobacco advertisements on its sides. Just down a gentle slope from the barn and across the shallow creek is the property where Lanesville Heritage Weekend takes place each September.
This year I drove out on the fest’s opening Friday to observe the Jaycees beer garden, where one of our beers would be on tap for the first time ever. It was a warm and sunny day, presaging what would become the best attended Heritage Weekend in history.
I was strolling through the grounds and saw the Mail Pouch barn, perfectly framed by old trees and vintage farm equipment, the former slightly rustling, the latter purring, grinding and whirring as their operators explained to inquiring passers-by how the machines originally had been used.
The sight inspired a photo, but more importantly, it conjured a brief but powerful reverie. Although I hadn’t been to Heritage Weekend for years, and neither grew up in Lanesville nor attended school there, you might say I was a semi-residential alien during my early twenties – never quite qualifying for a formal passport, and yet making regular trips from Georgetown across the ridge to the next watershed situated south.
Lost in thought, I was startled back to the present by a shadow materializing to my left. It was an acquaintance from this previous transient life of mine, a Lanesville native and former star athlete perhaps six years my junior. Hoisted on his shoulder was a tow-headed, blond-haired little boy, his bright, youthful eyes locked on the nearby steam engines.
“I needed to bring him down here so he’d know what a tractor is,” he said.
We chatted for a bit, and they moved on to grab a bite. It was early yet, but my reconnoitering work was finished. Veering toward Heritage Weekend’s vast parking acreage to reclaim my car, I cursed under my breath as I walked, because now I’d have to lie. Those puffy red eyes? Just allergies.
You know how it is out in the country.
My first grade year was the final hurrah for Georgetown High School, which lost grades 7-12 to consolidation at Floyd Central. FCHS was seven miles away from my house, but it was only three miles to Lanesville, across the county line from Floyd into Harrison, a place marked by the end of pavement and beginning of gravel. The distance was so short that the winos around the corner were able to walk to Lanesville for booze when their car wasn’t running.
My father explained it to me: Lanesville was populated by Catholic folks of German ancestry, and if they weren’t Catholic, they were most likely Lutheran, which meant almost the same thing when it came to drinking. Conversely, Georgetown had Baptists and Methodists, some of whom were teetotalers, and for the ones who were not, they could be spotted discretely tippling in places like Lanesville.
Summers were for riding bikes and playing baseball, and we often played games at Lanesville High School’s ball field. On a couple of occasions, I rode my bike to the ballgame. The fact that Lanesville even had a school was testament to stubbornness, pride and grit. Famously, the town had resisted the push to consolidate, and its school remained a community focal point. Back then I never thought about it much, and yet the older I got, the more Georgetown seemed to fade from view, while Lanesville remained interesting.
I made friends in Lanesville, dated there, and learned there was a Lanesville tavern willing to serve me long before I was 21 years of age. There also came a dawning realization that Lanesville’s attraction to me was at least in part because the town seemed to stand for something, and the town stood for something because it retained a sense of place – and Lanesville retained a sense of place in large measure because it still had its school, as well as an annual festival called Heritage Weekend.
From inception, Lanesville Heritage Weekend struck me as fundamentally different from New Albany’s older and larger Harvest Homecoming.
To begin with, the very concept of “harvest” bears somewhat less meaning when tied to an urban area dotted with supermarkets and plagued by mall envy, as opposed to corn fields with cattle grazing nearby.
Furthermore, New Albany’s “special” fest time always was referred to as a “homecoming,” explicitly acknowledging the reality that many of the city’s sons and daughters had been compelled to move elsewhere to live and work. Consequently, if only for one weekend a year, it was as though New Albany sought to entice them back home to spend a few dollars, drink a few beers, and far too often remember why they left in the first place, while trying not to think too much about how impotent we were (and remain) as a city to change this paradigm of flight.
Lanesville’s annual fete not only chose “heritage” as a tag line, but actually meant it. Heritage Weekend began as a one-off U.S. Bicentennial event that morphed into a legitimate trend, genuinely reflecting the town’s heritage by using the past as an educational springboard to the present, and perhaps even the future. It reminds me of the triennial hop festival in Poperinge, Belgium, where almost every townsperson is involved with the pageantry.
As in Poperinge, the message is inescapable: Lanesville may be small, but its denominator is high. No, it isn’t where I want to live. New Albany’s where I’d rather stay, and finish what we’ve started here. But my respect for Lanesville is genuine, and abiding. Rock on … and I’ll try not to be such a stranger.