Monthly Archives: September 2014

Melodic medley

Courtesy of Times Mail

MITCHELL — One of the best parts of the Persimmon Festival, when it rolls into Mitchell each September, is the load of free musical entertainment on tap throughout the week.

This year’s musical lineup will feature gospel, modern gospel, oldies, rock, country and country rock. What you hear depends on what night you go.

The headliner for the week will be the Wednesday night performance by Jake Dodds & Stagecoach Revolver. The Wray Brothers will follow Building Nations on Thursday, and the crowd-pleasing sounds from Endless Summer will rock Friday night’s crowd. Rusty Bladen will close out the festival on Saturday night.

Jake Dodds

jake dodds

Jake Dodds & Stagecoach Revolver is one of the fastest-growing country acts in the Midwest. The band, which has played at some of the hottest venues in the rust belt, will take the stage at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The group features Jake Dodds on lead vocals, Jeff Schwegman, guitar and vocals, Tyler Roberts on bass, Tim Roberts on steel guitar and Jeff Hockett on the banjo. The group has been a headline act at The Bluebird in Bloomington, 8 Seconds Saloon in Indianapolis and Bub City in Chicago.

The guys are the reigning Hank FM Indianapolis Battle of the Bands champions and opened for several national acts, including Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Dustin Lynch, Chris Cagle, Chase Rice, Josh Thompson and Luke Bryan.

Gospel sounds

building nations

The Thursday night of the festival is always dubbed gospel night and features those groups that worship the Lord through music.

Building Nations, a popular local rock worship band, will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25.

The band’s goal is to “build up nations for God’s glory.” Building Nations consists of David and Randy VanLandingham on vocals, Karen VanLandingham on bass, Keeran Jones on drums and Isaac Hawkins and Dave Higgins on guitar.

Building Nations will be followed by the Wray Brothers, a southern gospel band, which takes the stage at 8 p.m. Sept. 25.

The Wray Brothers feature the voice and instrumental talents of Delbert Wray and Joe Wray, who are Mitchell natives, as well as Dave Hatfield, Steve Paugh, Randy Beck and D.J. Hatfield. They’ve performed for more than 45 years and have been featured at the festival for many years.

‘Endless’ fun

The featured entertainment for Sept. 26 is the festival favorite, Endless Summer, which will take the stage at 7 p.m.

Providing a high-energy show, the group provides a musical variety. The band, based in Indianapolis, features Faith Marie, Brian Marshall Goodwin, Nick Lemmo, Bryan England, David Clawson and Rick Long.

The band has performed at the Persimmon Festival for more than a decade and performs hits from the past and present, including tunes from the Beach Boys, Righteous Brothers, Frankie Valli, Dixie Chicks, Bon Jovi, Elvis Presley, Joan Jett, Lady Gaga, Journey, Big & Rich, Adele, the Black Eyed Peas and Roy Orbison.

Madison hit

rusty bladen

Rusty Bladen will perform his high-energy, free-wheeling act of original music, songs from the radio and hippie country rock tunes at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 as the closing act for the Persimmon Festival.

Born and raised in Madison, his music reflects the importance of family values, good times and small town influences. “Ride That River,” the title track to his most recent CD, is featured in the MGM motion picture, “Madison,” and was recorded with John Mellencamp’s band members. It’s also now the official theme song of the annual Madison Regatta unlimited hydroplane race.

Contact Times-Mail Staff Writer Krystal Shetler at 277-7264 or by email at

Enter festival photo contest on Sunday

Courtesy of Times-Mail

MITCHELL — The Persimmon Festival photo contest registration will take place on Sunday, from 2-4 p.m., at the First Baptist Church Christian Life Center, which is on Frank Street between Seventh and Eighth streets.

Contest chairwoman Deb Cory welcomes all amateur photographers in Lawrence and surrounding counties to enter.

Entrants can enter one photo in each of the following categories: Festival theme (Shop Local … Buy Mitchell), People, Black and White, Animals, Scenic/Landscape, Flowers, Holiday and Misc.

The results of the popular vote contest are announced and awarded on Sept. 27. There will be three winners in each category with a Judge’s Choice Award and Best in Show ribbon given as well.

The smallest photo allowed is 8-inch by 10-inches and the largest is 11-inches by 14-inches (without mats). Photos must have a surrounding mat that will protect the photo in its display. Foam display boards are used, so no frames can be included with the photographs.

When registering, entrants must make sure pertinent information, including their name, phone number and email, be included on the back of each photo. Entrants will be assigned a number that the public will use to vote for each photo. Entrants also will fill out a registration form to accompany their photos.

Photos will be displayed at the FBC Christian Life Center throughout the week. The public is encouraged to view the photos and vote for a favorite.

For questions or more information, contact Deb Cory, 849-9701 or

Candlelight tour popular event

Courtesy of Times-Mail Candlelight tour popular event

Times-Mail file photo / PETE SCHREINERMITCHELL — Annette Taylor, Brynna Nicol, Mia Nicol and Heather Couch work on a weaving project during one of the recent Tri Kappa Candlelight Tours at Spring Mill State Park. Each September, the tour kicks off the start of the Persimmon Festival by bringing the Pioneer Village to life.


MITCHELL — The Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park will come alive during Saturday’s Tri Kappa Candlelight Tour, which serves to annually kick off Mitchell’s Persimmon Festival.

From 4-9 p.m., members of the Mitchell Tri Kappa sorority, a range of other volunteers and the staff of Spring Mill will bring the village to life for the 48th annual tour.

The first candlelight tour was held in October 1967. J. Robert Ritchie, who was park superintendent at the time, came up with the idea to hold the tour, and did all the work of obtaining permission from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks, to allow the tours to be held.

Ritchie’s wife, Paula, was in Tri Kappa, and she suggested the sorority handle the annual tour. She and her husband hoped it would bring the Pioneer Village to life for visitors each year. The dream came true, and Tri Kappa has continued the tour since that time.

In 1970, the tour became part of the Persimmon Festival. For the past several years, Coletta Prewitt, Spring Mill’s volunteer coordinator, has provided assistance to Tri Kappa members for this event.

The tour is free of charge, however, the gate fee to enter the park is $5 per in-state licensed vehicles and $7 per out-of-state licensed vehicles. The Indiana State Park annual pass will be accepted.

The only income received by Tri Kappa will be the monies raised at the concession stand and boutique in the Carriage House, and the beans and cornbread sold near the Summer Kitchen.

Parking does become a problem as thousands flock to the park for this popular event. Park staff will be on-hand to direct traffic, and visitors are asked to comply with their directions.

Annual novelty, pudding contest Sept. 27

Courtesy of Times-Mail

MITCHELL — The Persimmon Pudding and Novelty Dessert Contest, slated for Sept. 27, will take place at the Mitchell First Church of God’s Fellowship Hall, 405 12th St.

Registration is free and takes place from 8-11 a.m. No entries will be accepted after 11 a.m.

Entries for the pudding contest must be a 4-inch by 4-inch piece and must be placed on an 8- or 9-inch white paper plate, covered with wax paper or plastic wrap. No topping of any kind is allowed, and no recipe is needed at the time of judging.

Novelty dessert entries must be a nice-sized portion placed in a disposable container with a lid or some other kind of covering. Persimmon pulp must be the largest, or one of the largest, ingredients in the concoction. Novelty dessert entries can include anything, except cookies. The recipe for the novelty desserts must be submitted during registration and must include the name of the dessert and the name of the person entering the dessert on the right-hand corner of the back side of the recipe card. Recipes written on sheets of paper will not be accepted.

If rules are not followed, entries will be disqualified before judging as the rules are strictly enforced.

The winner of the pudding contest receives $200. The novelty contest winner receives $100. Awards and cash prizes are given for first-, second-, third- and fourth-place and six honorable mentions in both contests.

Names of the winners will be posted on the window of Holmes Hardware in downtown Mitchell about 1 p.m. Sept. 27, just before the start of the parade.

Winners will be announced on the Main Street stage, after the parade at 4:15 p.m. At that time, the winning pudding recipe will be needed so it should be brought to the Main Street stage with contestants.

For more information on the contest, call Alverta Hart at 849-3441.

The pudding contest originated with the first Persimmon Festival and has continued every year since 1947. It has been a staple part of the festival, honoring the cooks who take the top prize.