Old-fashioned Fun

| September 8, 2011

Each September, the small-town atmosphere of Gaslight Square ignites in a frenzy as thousands of people swarm the streets of Jeffersontown to celebrate a time-honored tradition that’s grown to national heights.

That tradition is none other than the Gaslight Festival, which will include a week of events Sept. 11-18.

Hosted by the Chamber Jeffersontown, the 42nd annual Gaslight Festival will feature a variety of activities and attractions, including the 95-mile Thunder Motorcycle Rally, golf scramble, 5K Run/Walk, festival parade, pipe smoking contest and balloon glow.

“This is a big event not just for Jeffersontown, but the surrounding counties as well,” said Jay Mallory, chairman of the Chamber Jeffersontown board. “Every aspect of it is important to J-town from the parade to the 5K Walk to the business appreciation luncheon.”

With the Chamber Jeffersontown’s emphasis on creating a strong local business and networking environment in the area, business appreciation day has become a significant annual event at the festival. This year, the City of Jeffersontown will provide free lunch and entertainment to local businesses and employees of J-town on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Skyview Park, 2700 Watterson Trail.

“The chamber’s ultimate goal is to help companies grow their business,” Mallory said. “We do that through events like our customer appreciation luncheon. (The festival) is a great place to create relationships and try to help each other out.”

Not only will the festival celebrate local businesses, but it also will commemorate the Jeffersontown 13U All-Stars, a local youth baseball team that was just shy of playing in the Babe Ruth World Series hosted in New York this year. In honor of their hard work and outstanding season, the team was selected as grand marshals to lead the festival parade on Thursday, Sept. 15.

“These boys are a special group,” said Chris Rader, the head coach of team. “I don’t know if J-town will be this lucky to see this type of talent come through here again. This is nice recognition to the boys at a great festival that grows each year and gets better every year.”

The parade will include about 100 units marching from Taylorsville Road to Watterson Trail.

The Arts & Crafts Extravaganza will close out the festival Friday through Sunday, Sept. 16-18, at the intersection of Watterson Trail and Taylorsville Road. More than 200 arts and crafts vendors from across the country will come to J-town to showcase their talents. Coinciding with the three-day event is a group of performances held in the Entertainment Garden, where attendees can enjoy food and drinks while listening to live music from such groups as Sparechange Millionares, Street Heat and the Fishers of Men Quartet.

“Even if someone is not going to participate in the events throughout the week, the weekend is a nice time to be outside and enjoy other folks and these activities,” said John Cosby, president of the Chamber Jeffersontown. “We have 200 booths with arts and crafts vendors and the same kinds of foods you get at the state fair. This is like a smaller version of the state fair. It’s a good family atmosphere ,and it’s a homecoming for a lot of people.”

In its four decades, the Gaslight Festival has not only grown with the city, but helped the city to grow as well.

“What started off as a little hometown reunion in 1969 of friends and family has grown to 200,000 people and seven days of events,” said J-town Mayor Bill Dieruf. “You could say our friends and family have grown a little too over the 42 years of the Gaslight Festival.”

For information, visit www.jtownchamber.com.

Contact writer Ashley Anderson at aanderson@voice-tribune.com.

Gaslight Festival | courtesy photos

Gaslight Events

Sunday, Sept. 11 – Thunder Motorcycle Rally
A 95-mile ride with four stops. Dinner, door prizes, and live entertainment will follow.
Registration: 9:30 a.m. Ride begins: 11:30 a.m.
Location: American Legion G.I Post 244 (3208 College Drive)

Monday, Sept. 12 – Gaslight Golf Scramble
Golf foursomes play best ball for a chance to win a cash prize.
Registration: 11:30 a.m.; Shotgun start: 1 p.m.
Location: Charlie Vettiner Golf Course

Tuesday, Sept. 13 – 5k Run/Walk
About 650 runners will start and end at Jeffersontown City Hall for the evening race.
Registration at the Jeffersontown Pavilion: 5:30 p.m.
Race time: 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 14 – Business Appreciation Day
Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Skyview Park (2700 Watterson Trail)

Thursday, Sept. 15 – Gaslight Festival Parade
Thousands of spectators will line up along Taylorsville Road as about 100 units, from marching bands to antique cars and Jeffersontown residents, walk down the street.
Start time: 6 p.m.
Location: Starting East from Jeffersontown Commons Shopping Center on Taylorsville Road to Watterson Trail.

Friday, Sept. 16 – Balloon Glow
The event will include hot air balloons, live music, food and children’s activities.
Time: Dusk to 10 p.m.
Location: Skyview Park (2700 Watterson Trail)

Sunday, Sept. 18 – Gaslight Car Show
A showcase of local custom, classic and exotic cars.
Registration: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Car Show: 1 to 4 p.m.
Location: 1000 Block of Taylorsville Road

Sunday, Sept. 18 – Pipe Smoking Contest
The oldest Gaslight Festival tradition, held at Jeffersontown City Hall at 2 p.m.

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 16-18 – Arts & Crafts Extravaganza & Entertainment Garden
Location: Intersection of Taylorsville Road and Watterson Trail
Time: Friday, 7 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Entertainment Schedule

Friday, Sept. 16
Sparechange Millionaires: 7 to 11 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 17
TwoFar Gone: 1 to 5 p.m.
Street Heat: 2 to 3:15 p.m. and 5 to 6:15 p.m.
Kirby’s Dreamland: 7 to 11 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 18
Personnel Only: 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Fishers of Men Quartet: 2 to 3 p.m.

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Category: Cover Stories

About the Author (Author Profile)

Ashley Anderson

Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).

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