Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Trip To St James Ct.

Friday, Mrs. Sweeper and I made our annual trip to Louisville for the St James Art Show in historic Old Louisville. This trip is one that we make as our time to get away from work, kids and Lexington for the day and just have some time to ourselves(and a few thousand other art lovers).

I watched the weather reports all week hoping for a good forecast and when I awoke Friday morning thought that the day just could be a bust. The radar showed that the rain had cleared the Louisville area so we set out for a cool, dreary day and by the time we arrived in town the sun was bright in the clearing sky.

I have prided myself for years on my knowledge of Lexington, but Louisville has always caused me confusion. I get disoriented very easily in that city. I once drove an older blind friend to Louisville to visit his mother in a nursing home, and though blind, he directed me through areas that I would compare to Hamburg and a back route to downtown. Over the years I have been able to get to St James Ct. from several different directions and get out again.

One thing that did catch my attention this year, is that the timing of the traffic signals in downtown Louisville appear to be on much shorter cycles than Lexington. I know that the average cycle for red lights here is around 70 seconds, but the cycle in Louisville seems to be nearly half of that. Barely seems to be enough time to look around to get ones bearings, does speed up traffic movement though.

I quickly found a place to park some two block walk from the show and we soon were beginning our traipse around the tents of exhibitors. We started at the north end of the booths on Third St and worked our way to and around the corner at Magnolia to the food court at just about noontime. Mrs. Sweeper and I are both fond of gyros and decided to get some and a drink, the first disappointment of the day.

They took Mrs. Sweeper's order first and when I added that I wanted the identical, the girl behind the counter requested another lemonade and figured the total, $12, not bad for fair food. It quickly became obvious that she had not heard the second gyro order and I had to ask again, for another $8. Now, I know that these food booth people are there to make money and it is not simple to set these things up in the field, but I think that this is a little exorbitant. I also think that if they had had a price list prominently visible, I would not have ordered at those prices.

Next the second disappointment. With gyros in one hand and a drink in the other, amidst a gently moving throng, we realized that there was NOWHERE to sit. Central Park beckoned from just behind the food tents, but there was no marked access to the park. We managed to squeeze between two booths, into the park and... nothing but a few taken benches and the muddy, recently rained on ground. This has all the ingredients for a messy disaster in my book; plates full of food(some sticky), a jostling crowd(with kids), and pricey, delicate artwork. Could not the City of Louisville have supplied a number of picnic tables in an area of the park? I know that Lexington has for just about any festival event in town.

These problems behind us, we then began the circuit of the St James Ct. portion, down the west side of St James, Belgravia to Sixth and back, St James to Hill St then back to Belgravia's eastern half, back to St James for the east side. The serpentine route through the median arrangement of booths brought us back to the park edge and it was closing in on 5:00 P.M. We still had the Fourth St. vendors and the southern end of Third St. to go before we wanted to leave.

We saw some beautiful pieces of art and saw some of the newer works of those artists that we like. We bought a few things and looked for pieces that had the right color or shape or style for those few problem areas at home. Some of the prices were just out of our league, but we enjoy going to see whats new and it is our little get-away.

We had intended to stop on the way out of town for dinner at a little place on Bardstown Rd. but like I said before, I get all turned around in Louisville and I don't have a good map(or GPS) in my car. Mrs Sweeper is geographically impaired, which is why she has me, but I was of no use yesterday and we had to get back home before it got too late. Cracker Barrel had to fill in for the Mediterranean food that we had desired.

All in all it was a good trip. We love being in the older parts of downtowns, no matter which city, and the beautiful old houses and buildings are a joy. There were some high points and some low points and Louisville still confuses me.

But there is always next year.

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