Hard to go home empty-handed

Street Fair returns to Yellow Springs

By Justin Kreitzer

Photo: New Richmond Alpaca will return for Yellow Springs Street Fair; photo: Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce

The fall festival season is in full swing with the alluring scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and crisp apple filling the air, as well as the craft fairs filling our homes with things we never knew we needed. Your next opportunity to take it all in is this Saturday, Oct. 11 as the bi-annual Yellow Springs Street Fair returns, offering the most unique hand-crafted items and entertainment the Miami Valley has to offer.

“Many of our merchants got their start as Street Fair Vendors,” festival organizer Holly Simpson of the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce said, “and they still have booths today! Twisted Tines, Asanda, Bentinos and Urban Handmade all began as Street Fair vendors. It is also a great place for our local non-profits to get info out to the masses and to fundraise.”

Many favorite vendors are set to return, such as Crazy Uncle Jester’s Hot Sauce, Vintage Liz’s leatherwear, renowned ceramic artists Michael Jones and Geno Luketic and New Richmond Alpaca will have their alpacas and goods in tow. Also, Bike Miami Valley will be on hand to offer a free bike valet service and Yellow Springs Brewery will be featured in the biergarten.

Of course, you cannot have a festival without great food – and a nice selection of vendors, such as Jeet India and St. Ignatius will be returning as will Ohio Farm Direct, who will once again offer up their grass-fed burgers and homemade ice cream. Be sure to welcome a couple of the new food vendors joining this October, such as Hunger Paynes and the Shakery.

Yet another unique aspect to the Yellow Springs Street Fair is the variety of great entertainers performing for festival-goers. In addition to various street performers, The Egyptian Breeze Belly Dancers will return with their hypnotic moves and music will be provided by The Wingwalkers Trio, acoustic guitarist Charles Hartman, as well as the organic sounds of Harmonic Earth. Also set to perform is the lively Dayton bluegrass quartet Mad River Railroad – featuring Dave Finster on bass, Nora Heink on mandolin, Pat Carine on banjo and Dave Younkin on guitar – who blend their flickering licks and up-tempo rhythms with close-knit harmonies as they put their own unique spin on timeless traditional bluegrass favorites.

The Dayton City Paper spoke with Dave Finster of Mad River Railroad in anticipation of their upcoming performance at the Yellow Springs Street Fair.

Please tell us a little about how and when the band started and how you chose your band name.

We mostly met in local bluegrass jam sessions where you could see our individual talents. We have all played for many years in other groups before MRR, so we hit the ground running once we got together. We considered many band name options, and several were already used. Since we have all spent many years in the Miami Valley, reference to the Mad River seemed regional and appropriate, and “railroad” felt pretty good, too. There actually was a Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad many years ago, but we didn’t learn about that until after the fact. – Dave Finster

Who are some of your musical influences and how do you think you are able to make the songs that you cover your own?

Our backgrounds come from bluegrass, folk and rock ‘n’ roll and the list of artists who have influenced the four of is both very long and quite varied. When we cover songs, we try to remain true to the feeling of the song in some original form but also use our instrumentation and musical preferences to adjust it. Perhaps less than half of the tunes we now play are traditional bluegrass. We also frequently add harmonies, not all of which are used in some original versions.

– DF

What is your favorite song to play live and why?

This is a bit like asking who your favorite child is! Each is unique and special. However, one tune we like playing very much is “My Baby Thinks He’s a Train” written by Asleep at the Wheel’s Leroy Preston. It’s up-tempo with lots of energy, and Pat plays some mean banjo solos on this. There are also several tunes where we really like the harmonies we’ve developed –especially in a few slower, pensive pieces. – DF

You have played many of the festivals around town recently, what does it mean to you to play in and around your community?

The local music and arts scene in this area has been very supportive, and we’re excited to contribute to it. One of the best things about the type of music we play is that it’s inspired by experiences shared by people from many different generations and walks of life. It’s meant to be circulated and re-envisioned in the community. – DF

Yellow Springs Street Fair is Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Xenia Avenue, Short Street, Walnut Street, and Corry Street in Yellow Springs. Music, entertainment and the biergarten are on Dayton Street from noon to 7 p.m. For more information on the Yellow Springs Street Fair, please visit yellowspringsohio.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at Justin Kreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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