Monthly Bluegrass at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds



It might seem like the flurry of events in Madison tapers off come January. In fact, on the Visit Madison Calendar of events, Free Bluegrass at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds is the only listed event for the month.  So our adventure-seeking family decided to go and check it out

Free Bluegrass at the fairgrounds happens the first Saturday of every month save July from 6-9 p.m.


The musicians were already playing by the time we arrived at the pavilion. To our right, in the kitchen, the Youth Group of Commiskey First Church of God was serving homemade chili, which smelled delicious, as well as desserts, coffee and other snacks and beverages. To the right, a table of greeters said “hello” and displayed the night’s raffle prizes.

Long-time bluegrass fellows: Jerry Caudill, Jim White, and D.L. "Don" Tatlock.

Long-time bluegrass fellows: Jerry Caudill, Jim White, and D.L. “Don” Tatlock.

The chairs were arranged in rows and all faced the stage where the humble yet experienced players harmonized and played traditional bluegrass and gospel. We were instantly at ease. On a Saturday night, I would estimate that the between 50 and 70 listeners gathered in this pavilion to hear the music.

My favorite group was called New Balance, an energetic group with excellent a capella capabilities.

I had a chance to catch up with D.L. “Don” Tatlock, organizer of the night’s event. He explained that the monthly bluegrass in Madison was part of a larger circuit of shows, festivals, and Jamorborees that moves from Hayden, Lexington, Bedford, Jackson County and Clark County.

Here is pictured with Jerry Caudill and Jim White, two very experienced bluegrass players who have been a part of this tradition in our area for many years.

What I learned is this: There is a rich tradition of music in southern Indiana. The Free Bluegrass event is a chance to see the talent that is not showcased on “America’s Got Talent,” or “The Voice,” or even “YouTube.”

Right here in our county we have talented people who love to play music and do if for the just that reason, not for fame or money.

If you old-time love music, especially bluegrass and gospel songs, you will have a relaxing time at the Jefferson County Bluegrass Event. The next event will be Saturday, February 7 at 6 p.m. So plan to have some hot supper there and sit a spell.

If there happens to be bad weather, be sure to call “Don” at 812-522-8327 to make sure it hasn’t been rescheduled.

Jumping for Joy at Kangaroos


Angela Elles

It’s four days after Christmas, and I’m here at Kangaroos Family Fun Center with my 6-year old daughter. Today is the fourth day our family has taken advantage of their holiday schedule of being open 11 am to 9 pm during Christmas break. We will also be attending a birthday party here this week, making this our official winter hangout.

The four owners of Kangaroos, Jason and Cassie Hall, and Jonathan and Carrie Simpson, have done a fabulous job of providing a much-needed indoor play place for kids that includes a wide variety of ages. The Elephant inflatable is designated for kids 5 and under. The other castles, slides and obstacle courses are open to older kids, even adults if they pay the $6. I think that’s fair! The spacious environment makes it easy to supervise kids from the couches or in the wide-open standing space between inflatables.

I am impressed by how this family owned business is open to suggestions and responding to the needs of the community. For example, Kangaroos opened their doors early accommodate those affected by last November’s snow day. I will continue to call or check their Facebook page on snow days, holidays and Spring Break to see how they will expand their hours for those occasions.


Kangaroos Family Fun Center

Kangaroosregular hours are
Wed and Thurs 5pm-9pm
Friday 5PM-10PM
Saturday 10AM-10PM
Sunday 1PM-6PM

For my family to have fun at an indoor play place I usually look for cleanliness, comfortable seating, and healthy snacks. A huge bonus is free WIFI. Kangaroos has all this and more for a very reasonable price.  As I type this, I am sitting at a tall table, able to watch my daughter and her friends through the window, and simultaneously watch Daddy Day Care. It is a multitasking parent’s dream.
(812) 701-2755


Logo-RedThe 2014 Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes will feature six private homes, two churches, the Lanier Mansion, the Schofield House, and the JCHS History Center. There will also be three Hospitality Sites with restrooms, where tour goers can stop in for a free refreshment. Hospitality sites include the Attic Coffee Mill Café, Something Simple, and the Seifert Short Folk Art and Doll Museum.
Dates for this year’s tour are November 28 & 29 and December 5 & 6. Hours for the tour are Fridays 5-9 and Saturdays 3-9. Tickets are on sale now at the Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. and online at Ticket prices are $12.50 for adults, through Nov. 14 and $15 after. Children’s tickets are $5 for children ages 5-15. Tickets will also be available at Something Simple, Madison Chamber of Commerce and River Valley Bank’s Main Branch on Clifty Dr.
This year’s tour features three homes, never before seen on any previous home tour. The Larkins’ Home on Third St. is an 1837 brick row house. The Beach Home on Second St. is an Italianate brick and was two apartments for many years until the current owner returned the structure to a single family dwelling. The Rogers’ home on Telegraph Hill was once the County Poor Asylum. This home is just three miles from Main and East Streets and well worth the short drive from downtown. The Dwyer residence has not been on a home tour for nearly 30 years and was once the office of Dr. James A. Murat. This turn of the century cottage has had an additional two rooms added and lots of improvements and updates since its days as a doctor’s office. Last featured on the 2008 tour, the Lynch home deserves a second look. The Lynch’s completed a major renovation in the last few years switching the kitchen and dining room locations to make the home more functional for their family. The Stribling-Bladen home is another Italianate home, circa 1840. This home was once owned by a partner in the Cobb, Stribling and Co. Iron Foundry. Over the years this home has been a single family dwelling and a three unit apartment before becoming the home of the Bladen family.

Stribling-Bladen Home

Stribling-Bladen Home

As always, Madison’s “crown jewel”, the Lanier Mansion will be featured as well as the Schofield House and the Jefferson County Historical Society’s History Center, which will display gingerbread houses made by area children. This year, Historic Madison, Inc. will unveil St. Michael the Archangel Church, which has been closed for several years while renovations were completed. The Broadway Baptist Church is another first on the tour and will also be where the holiday music portion of the tour will take place. The founders of this church were instrumental in the local Underground Railroad movement.
Another popular feature of the tour is the Great Cookie Caper! This event is held at the Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. It features a wide selection of homemade cookies and sweet treats. Cookies and treats may be purchased by the box for $6 or $12 or 3 cookies for $1. cookie caper PEOPLE ADDEDThis will be the 4th year for the Cookie Caper and each year the Christmas tour donates all proceeds to a local charitable organization. This year’s sales will benefit the Jefferson County Animal Shelter. Since its inception, the Cookie Caper in conjunction with “Nights” has raised nearly $3,600.00. Past beneficiaries include Lide White Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity. The hours for the Cookie Caper are 4-8pm on both Fridays and 2-8pm on both Saturdays of the tour.


The Indiana Wine Trail Celebrates Warm Fall Colors and Warm Fall Flavors

The Indiana Wine Trail is painted with a peak of Fall color, and celebrates with its 7th Annual Fall Haul, November 1st and 2nd. Each of the Indiana Wine Trail partners- Ertel Cellars Winery and Restaurant, Lanthier Winery, Madison Vineyards Estate Winery, The Ridge Winery, Stream Cliff Farm Winery and The Thomas Family Winery have all prepared a unique autumnal fest for wine trail travelers.
Seasonal foods prepared with their own wines, lively events and collectors edition recipe cards (to add to your Indiana Wine Trail collection) can be found at all six wineries.

Ertels always features wonderful appetizers like wine pestos; Lanthier Winery is all about cranberries- Cranberry Grande appetizer trio- Cheese ball, warm cranberry cream cheese dip and cranberry grande pinwheels; Madison Vineyards will have meatballs in wine sauce, vegetable cream cheese spreads and a variety of tapas matched to our wines, including bacon wrapped dates, artichoke appetizers, and chocolate brownie bites. The Ridge Winery shows its Chicken Taco Soup, Black Jack Salsa, Cinnamon Honey/Apple mulled Wine. Stream Cliff Farm Winery will feature a Fagioli Soup; and the Thomas Family Winery will sample Cider and Ham Soup with their cheddar cheeses!

Mark your calendars for November 1st and 2nd, 2014. The event runs 11 am – 5 pm. Please contact the participating Wineries for individual arrangements or check in at for more details.

The Indiana Wine Trail is comprised of six wineries in southern Indiana encompassing everything from secluded estate vineyards to historic pub-style bistros in southern Indiana. Each winery offers a different take on one of the state’s fastest-growing agricultural products: handcrafted Indiana wine.

Those interested in more information about the Indiana Wine Trail can call Visit Madison at 1-800-559-2956 or log onto the website at



Spooky Madison

It’s that time of year that all kinds of spooky things start happening in Madison.  It all starts on Friday, October 17 with Night Spirits from 7 – 9 p.m. at Lanier Mansion State Historic Site. Beginning at 7pm groups of 15 depart from the Visitor’s Center at 15 minute intervals. During the tour, guests encounter costumed actors with tales to tell.  Reservations recommended. $10pp.  Appropriate for ages 14 and older. Contact Gerry Reilly at 812.273.0556.Halloween Events 2010 001

On Friday & Saturday, October 17 & 18, you can board the Madison Trolley for a Haunted Mystery Tour for a fun spooky ride around Madison.  Times are 7 and 8:30pm at the Gazebo on the riverfront.  Always a popular event so reservations are recommended, 812-701-4013. $15 adults, $5 children 10 & under

On October 24 & 31, Lanier Mansion is having a special Flashlight Tour at 8pm.  This is a behind the scenes tour by flashlight.  $10 adults, $8 seniors and $5 children.  Reservations required 812-273-0556.

Mike Totten portrays a spirit at a previous Night Spirits (2)For the kids, Lanier Mansion is hosting Spooky Mansion on Saturday, October 25 from 6-8pm.  Kids will enjoy trick-or-treating, ghosts and stories, creepy crafts, and walking through the spine-tingling basement.  $3/child with 1 free adult per child.  For more info, call 812-273-0556.  BOO!

In the mood for a Spooky Secret Supper?  This progressive dinner is on October 28 at 6pm and 6:45pm.  Leave your broomsticks at home, the Madison Trolley will take you where you need to be.  It’s $35pp inclusive, alcoholic beverages are available but not included in the price.  Reservations recommended, 812-274-0301 or 812-701-4013.