Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Big Four Bridge and Jug Band Festival (Free!)

But First, a Stop at the Outlook Mall in Simpsonville 

With three days off, we were able to squeeze in some errands and some more free stuff. The Biker needed new shoes for work, so on Friday, we zipped up to the Outlook Mall in Simpsonville.  We love outlet malls and this place didn't disappoint; it had plenty of name-brand stores and we found a good deal on much-needed work shoes. 

Important Note: We didn't eat at the food court, but we did check it out, and were surprised at the lack of options. We'd recommend planning to eat elsewhere, unless you have a sudden craving for typical fast food fare.
The Mall also currently has 5 painted horses on display. celebrating Kentuky. There seemed to be a running theme of painting horses on these horses (yes, pun totally intended)
On Saturday, we drove to downtown Jeffersonville, and parked at the free public parking at Chestnut and Market.
Then we walked over to Big Four Burgers, where The Biker ordered the Four Burger, and I ordered a club wrap.
The burger was good, perfectly cooked, and the aged cheese was a nice touch. The wrap was enormous, with carved turkey, and thick slices of aged cheese. The wrap was very tasty, but I did substitute the garlic aoli for the mayo. We were not impressed with their fries, which needed a bit more seasoning.

Well fed, we headed to the Big Four Bridge to walk to Louisville. The bridge was completed in 1895 for a cost of $3.5 million. You can see photos of the first bridge and the construction here.  Thirty-seven workers died in three separate accidents during the building of the bridge. In 1928, a bigger bridge was built on the original bridge's foundation. It was decommissioned in the 60s, then re-opened in 2014. 
The ramp on each side is a quarter of mile. We got lucky and ended up following a group of skateboarders and inline skaters up the ramp. They were clearly having a great time, and looking forward to a race to the bottom on the other side!
The bridge itself is one mile long, so the entire round trip is two miles.
The walk provides a great view of the Ohio River and Louisville,
including steam boats
and barges!
The ramps on both sides of the river swoop down into parks. On the Louisville side, you can also rent bicycles and pedal-powered carts  - if you have the stamina to peddle up the ramp!
The Louisville Waterfront Park includes several terraces to sit and watch the river, as well as playgrounds, swings, and splash pads. 
This Saturday, there was an added treat - the Jug Band Jubilee! Louisville considers itself to be the birthplace of jug band music. Louisville hosts the jubilee in mid-September. It's free and runs from noon to 11pm.
Which brings us to a small quibble we had with one of the bands, the Cincinatti Dancing PigsThere's a common misconception that a jug band is just a musical group that plays country or old-timey sort of music using novelty instruments, such as washboards and jugs. This band obviously took that route, and while their music was fun and very entertaining, it didn't really sound like jug band music.
So, what's the difference? A better description of a jug band would be a group playing contemporary music, but on handmade and American folk instruments. (and nope, we're not even going to touch what is now a century-old debate of whether a jug band has to actually have a jug!)

Jug band music really came into it's own at the turn of the century, when African-American musicians began mixing blues, jass (early jazz), and ragtime. Jug bands continued to evolve, generally playing a fusion of jazz, and rhythm and blues, well into the 60s. In fact, a great deal of 60's rock was influenced directly or indirectly by jug bands.

If you are interested in hearing the difference, here are three youtube videos, comparing the Dancing Pigs to two of the most well-known jug bands; the Dixieland Jug Blowers (which played in the Louisville style) and the Memphis Jug Band (which played in the Memphis/New Orleans style).

 And yes, we have now completely digressed from travel blog to random music genre history. To make it up to y'all, here - have a dog playing in a splash pad! 


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