The weather Saturday for the 16th annual Taste of Montgomery County looks amazing after a week of hot days and warm nights. It is one of the area’s most anticipated annual festivals, but it also fulfills an important role: it is the largest fundraiser for the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum, located on the grounds in Crawfordsville where Lew Wallace penned his masterwork, Ben-Hur.
This year’s event runs from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and features several musical acts. At 1:30 p.m. the Elizabeth Lee Band will perform chill covers from recent decades. Midtown Madmen will perform at 4:30 p.m. They are a four-piece band that plays the hits of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Johnny Cash and more. Their set list is a great blend of classic rock and roll, with some swing, jump and blues mixed in to satisfy every crowd. Headlining the evening will be THE VOICE winner Josh Kaufman, playing at 8 p.m. After winning season six of THE VOICE, Kaufman appeared on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, made his Broadway debut as the lead in the Tony Award-winning revival of Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin, headlined the Indy Jazz Fest, hosted the Yuletide Celebration with Maestro Jack Everly and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and released an album and several self-produced singles. His music has a powerful intimacy that reflects artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon and Jimmy Buckley.
If these three bands are not enough, organizers will have the song stylings of Emery Allen on the grounds from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. A native of Crawfordsville, Emery has been singing and performing her whole life. In addition to her singing she has appeared in theatre productions, on television and does voice-over work. She is comfortable singing some of the great show tunes of the theater, but is also developing her own songs that reflect her personal style.
From 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. the lawn in front of the Study will be alive with the music of The Bumps. The Bumps are a Central Indiana Alternative Band comprised of three local brothers. Nate, Gabe and Sam Mayberry and lead vocalist/guitarist Peter Halupka. The band was formed in late 2021. They draw their inspiration from musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, to bands like Rage Against the Machine and Sublime.
Local food and beverage vendors serving extraordinary specialties throughout the day include China Inn, Coal Creek Cellars Winery, Crawfordsville Country Club, Four Seasons, Jesus Kettle Corn, The Juniper Spoon, Klooz Brewz (bringing beer and their unique BBQ), Lew Wallace Preservation Society, Messer’s Bar & Grill, Sunshine in a Box, Wokamole and Warehouse Bakery.
The site of the Taste! the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum at 200 Wallace Ave., was once General Wallace’s backyard, lying just north of his home on Wabash Avenue. Thousands of Taste-goers will congregate this weekend to hear great live music beneath wonderful shade trees, where General Wallace once set up his rocking chair, under giant beech tree, and wrote a significant portion of Ben-Hur.
A National Historic Landmark, The General’s Study building is one of the gems of Crawfordsville and has seen visitors from around the globe for more than 100 years. The Study is filled with the General’s original artifacts and personal memorabilia, most of which have been in the Museum’s collection since Wallace’s death in 1905.
All revenues from admission ticket sales at this year’s Taste! will fund the Museum’s extensive programming and annual exhibit. This year the museum’s annual exhibit focuses on how Ben-Hur was marketed in popular culture. Museum programming in 2023 includes the ongoing Hoosier Authors Book Club, the Dr. Howard Miller Lecture Series in September and October, and the Hoosier Author Fair in November. Information about fall programming is online at www.ben-hur.com/events/.
Tickets for the Taste! can be purchased at the gate for $7 for adults and $3 for students. Children 6 and under are free. Advance tickets can be purchased through Friday at a discount: $5 for adults and $2 for students. Advance tickets are available at the Carriage House Interpretive Center of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum; the Montgomery County Visitors and Convention Bureau on the first floor of Fusion 54 at 101 W. Main St.; Milligan’s Flowers & Gifts at 115 E. Main St.; and Crawfordsville Parks & Recreation Community Center at 922 E. South Blvd.
The Lew Wallace Study would like to thank title sponsors of this year’s event: Acuity Brands; Everwise Credit Union; Henthorn, Harris and Weliever; Dr. Howard Miller; Hoosier Heartland State Bank; Market Street Wealth Management – Jessica Bokhart; Montgomery County Tourism Commission; Nucor Steel Indiana; and Tri-County Bank.