Society Column: CarmelFest celebrated best of city
The praises of civic-minded resident Jack Badger have been duly noted in Current in Carmel by those who know him – particularly by Jeff Worrell, who chaired CarmelFest for the past 22 years.
During a VIP sponsor reception on July 3, Mayor Jim Brainard and other guests honored Badger with the first annual Pillar of the Community Award.
Badger is known for his persistent sales efforts to sell festival spark buttons to every attendee. He is also known is his impressive ability to secure donations for the festival. According to CarmelFest public relations director Cindy Roberts-Greiner, among the many donations secured by Badger were 3,500 bagels from Einstein Brothers Bagels. According to Greiner, that was just the tip of the iceberg regarding Badger’s efforts.
After the VIP reception, a stroll around the grounds at City Center revealed a packed lawn with loyal fans waiting for The Wright Brothers to appear on stage. When they appeared, music honed from decades of harmonizing together floated through the evening air in familiar welcoming patterns. While it was reminiscent of the good ol’ days for many of us, for other generations it was just plain good music.
Cathy Morris, the accomplished violinist and vocalist, joined the band onstage, adding her own texture and energy to the musical mix.
Of course the food stands were popular, with everyone indulging in fried foods and sugar that they might eschew on a normal day — all part of the fun.
The KidZone was another popular part of the festival, particularly the animals. The petting zoo brought very tame goats, sheep and llamas to the event where children – even toddlers – were able to safely interact with them. The pony ride was a big hit. Older children rode alone, whereas, toddlers rode with help from their moms or dads.
The Koerner family, who have been residents in Carmel for only four days, were thrilled with CarmelFest and their new hometown. Dad Michael Koerner is a professor at IU Kokomo, but chose to settle his family in Carmel. Older son Benjamin Koerner rode the pony ride alone, somewhat tentatively, but still seeming to enjoy. Younger brother Elliott Koerner, still a toddler, expressed unrestrained glee as his mother, Wendy Koerner, steadied him on the pony.
CarmelFest attracts more than 50,000 people annually. It is entirely free to attend thanks to its many sponsors which include corporations, city agencies and many dedicated individual and group volunteers.
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