Archive | May, 2011

The Best of Danville’s Lawn Chair Film Festival

27 May

Forget the maps and the snack foods, the itineraries and the Twitter updates. The most important thing you need to know about taking a road trip, is that it is supposed to be FUN.

On Friday, Cameron was in the middle of moving apartments and I’d been on the road with my (real) job for a couple of days. We were tired, we were stressed out.

That is, until we arrived at Danville’s Lawn Chair Film Festival.

It started out like this:

Hilarious right? We thought so too. And things really only got better from there. Popcorn in hand, the lawn chair audience was treated to the top 17 films – some were funny, some were confusing, some were scary, some had a real message to them. All of them were great. But of course, it was a film festival, not a “all-these-film-are-great-celebration,” so there had to be winners. Here they are:

The Golden Lawn Chair Award:
“Mr. Duffy Finds a Friend” – Christian Loftus and Brenna Howard won the grand prize of the evening, materialized in an actual golden lawn chair, for their short and truly innovated stop motion animated piece utilizing cardboard cutouts.
Best Drama:
“Fair Trade” – Elisa Plattilero and Molly Hoy won for their 8-minute drama shot entirely in Danville’s own The Hub Coffee Shoppe and Café.
Best Comedy:
“Le Salle de Juex” – Tim Miller’s spoof of French cinema had the audiences howling and took home the award for best comedy.
Hometown Pride:
“The Flyers” – 9-year-old filmmaker and Danville resident Charlie Hall won this award, which celebrates local film talent, for his tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film, “The Birds.”
Lawn Chair Challenge:
“Steven’s Script” – In a special new category, filmmakers were asked to create a film specifically for the festival using several random elements: A quote from an Eminem song, a football as a prop, a shot of a spinning fan, a character being referred to as “Captain”, and the quote “I don’t dance unless I hear music.” Director Jim Stout won for his hilarious entry.
Audience Award:
“Bizarnival” –At the end of the night, the audience was asked vote for their favorite film through paper ballots or text message votes. Scott Stafford and Walking Softly Film’s “Bizarnival” won by a landslide.

Sponsored by the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Heart of Danville Main Street Program, the Lawn Chair Film Festival kicks off the Lawn Chair Summer Theater schedule which is available here. Popular movies are shown on a large outdoor screen in Constitution Square all summer.

If you want to keep up with the film festival over the summer, “Like” their Facebook page. And make plans to attend next year. If nothing else, the entertaining MC introducing each film will make it worth your trip. (And if you guys know the film makers of “On a Boat” offer to loan them yours … apparently, they don’t have one.) At the end of the day, it was a great road trip … because we  had FUN.

So until next year, here is OUR favorite film festival entry. Tim Miller’s “Le Salle de Juex” Enjoy!

la Salle de Jeux from OfficeRocker Productions on Vimeo.

OH! And if you want a cool tshirt with the film festival’s awesome logo and you live in the Danville area, tshirts are available at Grayson’s Tavern for $10.

Destination Danville: Swirl, Sip, & Shop

26 May

If you’ve been following the blog, you already know we were really excited to go check out Danville’s Lawn Chair Film Festival this past weekend (more on that later). We were pleasantly surprised (and excited) however, to receive an invitation to The Heart of Danville Swirl, Sip, & Shop that took place throughout downtown right before the film festival.

Now that Boyle County is no longer a dry county, the door was open for a really great benefit event featuring the shops and business in downtown Danville. With wines selected by V The Market (a GREAT shop by the way), downtown businesses such as The Purple Pearl, The Community Arts Center, Carol’s Bridal Shop, Buttonheads, and Myrtle’s Market (among MANY others) kept their doors open late for guests to come sample one specially selected red wine, and one specially selected white while browsing around the shop and running into and meeting all sorts of wonderful people.

Now, not to sound like a couple of lush’s, but this event was definitely up our alley. We discovered some great new, reasonably priced wines (and went home with a couple of bottles), and had a great evening walking around Danville, checking out the shops before the film fest. We have to admit, Danville may be the next, great Central KY shopping destination.

Not only was this a great way to explore a beautiful city, and sample wines to your heart’s content, but also a fantastic fundraiser for the Heart of Danville Main Street Program. The Heart of Danville is working to not only revitalize the city, but to preserve historic architecture and districts, support economic development, develop new streetscapes and solutions for pedestrians and parking.

If you missed the Swirl, Sip, & Shop AND the Lawn Chair Film Festival, don’t worry too much, check out additional photos from The Danville Advocate-Messenger  and  the plethora of fun events on the calendar coming up soon! Check out the full listing of wines and shops from the Swirl, Sip, & Shop after the jump! Continue reading

Pull Up a (Lawn) Chair: We’ll See You at Danville’s Lawn Chair Film Festival

17 May

Post by Blair: 

When I was a kid, my parents used to load my brother and I up in my dad’s pick up truck, toss a couple of lawn chairs and blankets in the back next to a cooler and bag of snacks, and we’d head to the drive-in. I remember a few of the movies we saw — Jurassic Park scared my mother to death. In fact, I remember quite clearly her terror when the skunk pranced by our truck in the middle of the movie, she claims she thought it was going to spray us … really, she thought it was a Velociraptor — but what I remember most about those trips was sitting in lawn chairs in the back of my dad’s truck, listening to the movie through those static-filled little metal speakers that hooked onto the side of your vehicle, and contently watching the films play out on the gigantic screen in front of me.

In my memory, those lawn chairs were better seats than any cushy movie recliners.

It could be my nostalgia over drive-in movies (or over lawn chairs) that inspired our next road trip … or it could be the awesome uniqueness of this annual event we found in Danville, Kentucky.

Either way, on May 20 our road trip will make a stop at Constitution Square for the Lawn Chair Film Festival.

The film festival accepts entries in several different categories from amateur film makers. This years categories include:
• Best Comedy Under 5 Minutes
• Best Comedy Over 5 Minutes
• Best Dramatic Piece Under 5 Minutes
• Best Dramatic Piece Over 5 Minutes
• The Out-of-the-Box Award
• Best Documentary
•  Best Animation
• Audience Award (determined by applause)
• The Lawn Chair Challenge
• Cell Phone Action
• Grand Lawn Chair Award for Best Film

The festival runs from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Danville’s Constitution Square. In the case of rain, check back and we’ll let you know the backup location.

This film festival kicks off the Lawn Chair Theater summer film series. To learn more about this event and more of what you can find in Danville, Kentucky, visit www.betterindanville.com.

For more information about the Lawn Chair Film Festival, check out its Facebook page.

Danville has a number of activities going on prior to the film festival. Swirl, Sip and Shop, sponsored by Heart of Danville, is a wine tasting and shopping event that will be held 5-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15; call (859) 236-1909 for more information.

What it’s going to cost you:

The film festival is FREE! If you’re interested in other Heart of Danville events, you can learn about pricing here.

Directions:

As always, if you’re sick of listening to your bossy GPS and Google Maps just doesn’t seem to make sense, feel free to email us at myoldkyroadtrip@gmail.com for directions! Hope to see you there!

Historic Kentucky: Floyd Collins Trapped in Mammoth Cave

13 May

While we’re planning our next trip and saving up gas money, here’s a Kentucky Story you may not have heard:

Floyd Collins: A Cautionary Tale about Cave Exploration

Sometimes known as “The Greatest Cave Explorer Ever Known,” Floyd Collins was a pioneer cave explorer and news sensation. The Collins family were owners of Crystal Cave- a lesser known, and more isolated section of the Mammoth Cave system. In a stroke of marketing genius, Floyd Collins decided he would begin searching for a new entrance which would tie Crystal Cave more closely to Mammoth Cave, thereby increasing tourists to the often ignored Crystal Cave. However, cave exploration in the early 1900s was not quite as safe or easy as it may seem today.

On January 30, 1925, Collins became trapped in a small passage on his way out of the cave, a mere 150 feet from the entrance. Friends found him the next day and worked quickly to bring hot food and light. He survived for over a week while efforts to rescue him were made. On February 17, rescuers found Floyd Collins dead from exposure and starvation. Deciding it was too dangerous to remove the body, they left it where it lay and hastily filled the shaft with debris. A doctor later estimated he had died three or four days previously, February 13, being the most likely.

A Publicity Frenzy

Newspaper reporter William Burke “Skeets” Miller from the Louisville Courier-Journal reported extensively on Floyd Collins’ attempted rescue and subsequent death, for which he received a Pulitzer Prize for Reporting in 1926. Skeets’ reports were published in newspapers and via telegraph across the United States, including coverage by the fairly new broadcast radio media. The publicity brought droves of tourists to Sand Cave (as it was called by the media), at one point numbering in the tens of thousands. Vendors set up to sell food and souvenirs, contributing to a circus-like atmosphere. The Sand Cave rescue quickly grew into one of the biggest media events of its time. Though Collins himself was unsuccessful in discovering a new entrance, his death achieved his goal of bringing tourism to the Crystal Cave system; the media attention helped fuel interest in the creation of Mammoth Cave National Park, of which Sand Cave became a part.

Read more about Floyd Collins:

CaveCity.com

Trapped! The Story of Floyd Collins

RoadsideAmerica.com

James M. Deem

Exploring Dinosaur World, and going back to a Land Before Time

9 May

OK, confession time: the only experience either of us had with Dinosaur World prior to this weekend’s trip was laughing at the giant T-Rex waving at us from the side of the highway. We’re sure you’ve seen him, and we’re also sure you’re probably no less guilty than we are of smirking at the bright orange, scaly, prehistoric monster beckoning at you along I-65. (By the way, if you look really closely as you’re driving past him-although not recommended if you’re the person behind the wheel- you can see the Wooly Mammoth Garden hanging out in the trees!)

However, it is also our confession that Dinosaur World is AWESOME, and totally worth taking Exit #53!

Childhood Memories

When Cameron was a kid, the only movie she ever cried during was The Land Before Time, and no, not the scene you’re thinking of when Littlefoot’s mom dies (although that’s pretty heart-wrenching too for a 4-year-old), but when they finally make it to the Great Valley and the music swells and all the dinosaurs co-exist happily with the waterfalls and the trees. Don’t make fun, we know you were affected as we were…But we kid you not, you CAN visit the Great Valley at Dinosaur World!

If you look closely, you can see the Triceratops, the T-Rex, and we think those might be Allosauruses.

Just a Walk in the Park

The day before we made it to Dinosaur World was cold, rainy, gray, and drippy- everything you’ve ever associated with a dismal day, though perfect for caving. The day we went to Dinosaur World: bright, sunny, warm, and cloudless, in short, a great day for a walk in the park! When you go to Dinosaur World, you’re provided with a map of the route around the park and identifiers for all the attractions. Much like a wonderful day at the zoo, the route takes you past the dinosaurs in their “habitats” with markers along the way giving you a bit of history and fact about each species. Raptors pop out at you from behind the bushes, the gentler-looking stegosaurus lounges next to a tree, and pterodactyls soar amongst the leaves. A quick detour takes you to the Mammoth Garden (Cameron’s favorite pre-historic critter) and a close-up bonding experience with your T-Rex friend who resides next to I-65 . Either before, or after your walk through the Jurassic period, you can dig up fossils in the sand, uncover a dinosaur skeleton in the boneyard, learn more in the museum, or hang out in the “Cave” Theater, not to mention there’s a supercool playground/jungle gym area- check out all the fun Blair had on the play sets in the slideshow below!

What it’s Going to Cost You:

Admission to Dinosaur World is:

  • $12.75 plus tax for adults
  • $9.75 plus tax for children ages 3 to 12
  • $10.75 plus tax for seniors over 60

They DO allow friendly pets on leashes and picnic lunches, and there’s a pretty great gift shop too with lots of cool dinosaur toys, models, games, and stuffed animals (among plenty of other fun things!) Parking is FREE, and they’re open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving. For more information on pricing or driving directions, visit their site here.

More Photos from our Visit:

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Stop and Meet Leroy at Cave City’s Olde Gener’l Store

2 May

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the best discoveries you will make on road trips are those you don’t plan for at all. It was under that truth, that we stumbled upon The Olde Gener’l Store in Cave City.

Let me backtrack a little. After finishing our awesome tour of Mammoth Cave, we headed to the Wigwam Village No. 2 to check in to our teepee suite. After getting settled there, we went back out on the town to see what Cave City had to offer. Here is where we encountered a problem: With the exception of a few restaurants, there’s not much open in Cave City past 7. At least not in what the locals told us was the “off season.”

In the summer months — most likely after Memorial Day and before Labor Day — Cave City is thriving with restaurants, novelty shops, miniature golf courses and alpine slides (yeah, that one confused us, too). Only the biggest attractions stay open year round. Now that’s not to say you can’t find ways to have fun.

Case in point: Our discovery of The Olde Gener’l Store.

Just look how beautiful it is. So stuffed full of treasures, they are overflowing onto the store’s wrap-around porch. We stopped at the Gener’l Store because … well … we just couldn’t NOT stop. Signs declare it “the most unusual store in the Cave Country.” We declared it the most wonderful.

We met Leroy, the owner, who told us the store had “antiques, collector items, gifts and crafts, and other old things and stuff.” It was a perfect description.

Leroy has been collecting the old things and stuff for more than 50 years. He declared himself one of the original American Pickers and had stories about finding old mirrors and bikes and wagon wheels tucked away in friends’ garages, or the time he bought 22,000 license plates from the Kentucky State Penitentiary in 1976 right before the prisoners stopped making them by hand.

This Elvis bust? He spotted that an estate auction, “on down the road” years ago.

So armed with our over-enthusiasm for Leroy’s hidden treasures, we started making our way around the store. We swooned over old mirrors and paintings, vintage trunks and furniture, chandeliers, old bottles, wooden crates and a fully-functional slot machine.

Two hours and a combined $100 later, we were begrudgingly stowing away our new treasures — some moccasins and a set of cast iron jail keys among them — in the trunk of the car and saying goodbye to our hero Leroy.

Sure, we were impressed by our new purchases. Yes, we could have spent another several hundred dollars if we had it. But mostly, we were just awed by a man’s collection and all of the years he spent — the adventures he had — finding this … stuff.

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The Old Gener’l Store is located at 802 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, Ky. (Take Exit 53 from Interstate-65). It’s open every day 10 a.m. til close … Which means whenever the shop is empty and Leroy feels like going home. The store is closed on Sundays. For more information, give them a call at (270) 733-3300.

What it’s going to cost you:

Not a dime just to walk around and have a look. But we dare you to leave there without finding something you just have to have. Prices vary and they’re fair — Leroy’s an honest businessman.

Whether you want to just look around or if you’re looking to buy, if you’re going to be in Cave City, The Olde Gener’l Store should have a secure spot on your itinerary. We promise you’ll enjoy it. Tell Leroy, we say “hi!”

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