Strawberry Festival Blood Drive planned for Sunday

The Strawberry Festival, in conjunction with Indiana Blood Center, will be hosting a blood drive 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday on East Pike Street.

Life-saving blood transfusions are very commonly required for people of all ages. About one in seven people entering a hospital will need blood. Every two seconds, someone needs blood.

Nearly half of the U.S. population is eligible to donate; yet only five percent do. Every blood donation can save as many as three lives. The only requirements are that donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in good general health. Donors who are 16 may give blood with parental permission and a completed donation permission form. Blood donors must present a picture ID such as a driver’s license.

Indiana Blood Center is a vital link in Indiana’s health care infrastructure, supplying an average of 550 units of blood to more than 60 Indiana hospitals every day. The Indiana Blood Center is a non-profit community service organization, serving since 1952.

Pre-register at www.donorpoint.org.

Rock project catches on

Painted rocks in various sizes are being found all over Montgomery County as a movement to promote positive thinking and creativity grows.

Montgomery County ROCKS was started by Kasey Hoffman. She saw a similar activity taking place in White County. Hoffman hopes county residents will participate and have fun. She already is hearing and seeing positive results.

“We have people having rock painting parties and even a church has started their own group of rock painters,” Hoffman said.


The movement started on Easter. Instead of hiding eggs, Hoffman and some children hid 25 rocks in downtown Crawfordsville.

“I thought this was a good way to do something positive in the county and to give people something fun to do,” Hoffman said. 

The idea behind Montgomery County ROCKS is simple. Paint a rock with a positive picture or positive word, and hide it in a public place. If you are lucky enough to find a painted rock, you are asked to do two things. First, you can keep the rock and keep the chain going by painting your own rock and hiding it for someone else to find. Or, you can just hide the rock you found.

Montgomery County ROCKS is centered around a Facebook page by the same name. Many who find the rocks are posting photos of their finds and perpetuating the movement.

“Montgomery County ROCKS is a fun way to connect all of the cities in our county, promote exercise, encourage art and creativity, and spur a sense of community among all the citizens of Montgomery County. This is a community-building group meant to inspire creativity in all ages and energize people to explore the beautiful areas of Montgomery County,” the Facebook description read.

Consumers at Abilities Services Inc. are painting and hiding rocks. Hoffman said some churches have started their own groups and Athens Art Gallery is planning a rock painting class. 

Hoffman did not start the movement for personal fame. 

“I merely initiated it to get the community involved,” Hoffman said. “It is perpetuating itself by people paying it forward.”

Suggested supplies

• Rocks — Any rock will do.

• Paint — Acrylic paint is the most commonly used.

• Paint brushes — You will want a few sizes. Bigger brushes for painting larger areas, and fine tip brushes for detail work.

• Sealer — Once you’re done painting your rock, its recommended to seal it with two coats before hiding it to protect your art from the elements. Krylon is a popular sealer. Matte Finish sets quicker, and Crystal Clear dries nice and shiny but takes longer to set and you need to be careful of bubbles. Some websites even suggest Modge Podge.

Painting Tips

• A layer of white paint underneath your design helps make the colors more visible.

• Some find adding text with paint pens is easier than a brush.

• Dotting tools are cheap, and they are great for making perfectly round dots.

• A minimum of two coats of sealer works best. 

• If you make a mistake, it is easy to fix. Simply let the color dry, and then paint over it.

• Many rock artists use paint pens for writing, outlining, detailing, etc. The use of Sharpies is not recommended.

• On the back of your artwork reference the Facebook groups @MOCOROCKS or “Montgomery County ROCKS.”

Hiding Tips

• Do not hide rocks in the children’s department of libraries as they are a choking hazard.

• Do not hide rocks inside movie theaters. Movie theaters have been asked that we do not hide rocks in dark movie theaters as people can trip and employees will be forced to throw them away.

• Do not leave rocks in state or national Parks. We are told by a representative that it is not allowed.

• Be careful not to leave rocks in grassy areas that are maintained by groundskeepers, as they can get caught in mowers.

• If in doubt, ask permission. No trespassing.

This will be one 'sweet' weekend


The Strawberry Festival will feature the “Highwaymen Live,” a 90-minute tribute to Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson tonight.

Saturday night’s group is “Sounds of Summer,” a Beach Boys tribute. The young men in this group are from southern Indiana where they attended school or college together.  They travel all over the Midwest performing concerts in different venues.


Darlington Road will entertain audiences, as well as Cornerstone, who makes its first appearance at the festival this year. The Minister’s Quartet returns for the Sunday Gospel concert after the church service.

Other local entertainers include: Linda Lee, Katie Krout, Kasey Burton, Madison Mathias, Sarah Sparks and Clarissa Luce. A first time performer will feature Olga Berezhnaya, a classical violinist who performs various types and genres of music. Dance by Deborah will be back at the festival in its customary Saturday morning time slot and CenterPointe Dance Academy will perform Sunday afternoon.

Cars and Tractors

Once again the festival features a tractor show and several car shows throughout the weekend festivities. Come and enjoy all the beautiful vehicles as they are displayed on Pike Street.


The Montgomery County Pioneer Association will have its antique tractors displayed today through Sunday on Pike Street.

Corvette Show

The 17th annual Corvette show will be 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The show features only Corvettes and is open to all years. 

Ben Hur Antique & Classic Car Club

The Ben Hur Antique & Classic Car Club will host its annual Strawberry Festival Car Show 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. More than 150 classic cars and trucks are expected. Registration is from 8 a.m. until noon. Vehicle registration will be held on Pike Street at Washington Street. The vehicle display areas will be on Pike Street from Washington to Green streets; on Green Street from St. John’s Episcopal Church north to Main Street, and in all parking lots in between.

Children’s Area

The Children’s Area welcomes some new attractions this year. Xtreme Fun Rentals which is owned and operated by a Montgomery County couple, Bill and Cori Hallett and family, are providing a Rock Wall and Human Gyroscope. 

Marcus Lehman, a magician, will perform Saturday afternoon in the gazebo.

All similar booths and games provided over the past few years will return. 

Arts & Crafts

The Arts and Crafts section of the Strawberry Festival is located on the south lawn of the Lane Place. This year there will be a different layout to adhere to the fire marshal’s request that no extension cords be run across an aisle. Therefore, each row of vendors will be solid with no north/south aisles.

The crafters come from the local Crawfordsville area and as far away as Texas. The crafts are a diverse mix ranging from jewelry, plants, soy soaps and candles, oil paintings, pencil drawings, wood carvings, clothing, quilts, purses, and much more. All crafts are totally or partially handmade.

The booths are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Commercial Area

The festival committee has added a commercial area for vendors who sell commercially produced products or offer services. There will be 20  booths available in this area located on the west side of Water Street on Saturday and Sunday. 

Some examples are Clever Container, Brown County Log Cabin Rentals, Tri-County Bank, Pro Resources, Everything Glows, Kids Count Therapy, Russell Chiropractic, LuLa Roe, LipSense and Papparazzi Accessories.

Sports Competitions

5K Road Race

The Franciscan Health and Physician Network Strawberry Festival 5k Road Race and 1K Kiddie Romp will be held Saturday morning. Any male or female runner in good physical condition, is eligible. Check in 6:30-7:30 a.m. Saturday at the race headquarters in front of the City Hall, located at the intersection of North Water and East Pike streets.

A new road race course will be used this year featuring the area east of the festival grounds. The running course will close 45 minutes after the start of the 5k race. Overall male and female top three finishers will receive $100, $60 and $35 awards, respectively. Each division first place finisher will receive a $10 award. All prizes will be handed out at the completion of the event. Souvenir T-shirts will be given to all pre-registered competitors. You must be present to receive the award. After the 5K results are tabulated a 1K Kiddie Romp for children 9 and younger will be held at the City Building. Appropriate awards will be presented.

Tennis Tournament

The Strawberry Festival Tennis Tournament will take place Saturday and Sunday. Matches will be played at Crawfordsville High School and Wabash College. Awards will be presented in various classifications and divisions. You may contact Jason Hutchison at 765-361-6353 for further tournament information and entries.

Softball Tournament

The Strawberry Festival Softball Tournament will be played today through Sunday. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. today and will end around 6 p.m. Sunday at Welliever and Elston Park fields. This year’s tournament will feature different classes of competition. Call Bob Cash at 765-364-0748 or 765-376-8546.

Plant sale to be part of Garden & Arts Tour

When you step onto the grounds of the Lew Wallace Study, you feel as though you’ve stepped back into the slower pace of 19th century America. On June 25, the Flower Lover’s Garden Club will have its biannual Garden & Arts Tour with these beautiful, shady grounds as one of seven stops on the tour. 

Along with touring the grounds, there will be a plant sale. Many perennials will be available to purchase along with houseplants, annuals and herbs. One does need not be on the tour to purchase plants. The tour will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

Tickets may be purchased for $10, (children 12 and younger free) at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, Milligan’s Flowers, Pro Green Garden Center, Davidson’s Greenhouse, Country Hearts and Flowers or the Montgomery County Visitors Bureau. Maps and descriptions of the gardens, crafters, and musicians are included on the ticket.

Lew Wallace, author of the novel, Ben Hur, built the study to have a quiet place to write. Deb King, curator, said that it was also his wife, Susan, who requested his absence and relief from his pipe smoke. Among his many hobbies, Lew liked to fish in the moat that surrounded the study. He eventually removed it and planted The Mote Garden, for his children’s safety.

Plantings are all true to this period in history featuring a variety of hostas, ligularia, butterbur and lilies among several perennials. In the northwest corner are the Ben Hur Beeches, a grove of trees, named after the famous novel along with several Chinese gingkoes and paw paw trees that bear a fruit similar to the banana. Trees are labeled, a gift from Flower Lovers, and are often used by students for projects.

In 2007, the Lew Wallace Study and Museum, started its Adopt-a-Spot Program. This allows anyone who would like a garden plot in memory of a loved one or to advertise a business, to partner with the museum in maintaining these beautiful, historical grounds. No maintenance required. Other points of interest are the Carriage House; Little Free Library, a miniature replica of the study; and the original stone wall.

Don’t miss the Garden and Arts Tour which features music and art along with seven lovely gardens.

Harley rider keeps rescue dog close

Local resident Todd Neal often can be seen touring the area on his Harley- Davidson motorcycle. At first glance he looks like any motorcycle rider going down the street, until you look closer at the front of his shirt.

Neal rides his motorcycle with his dog. His buddy can be seen riding in a pouch secured by a harness to Neal’s chest. A closer look reveals the dog also is wearing motorcycle goggles and obviously enjoying the ride.

“Bear loves riding around with me,” Neal said. “He goes nuts when I pick up the harness and he is ready to go.”

Neal rescued the small dog last year during the winter. The very sick dog was found hunkered down in a neighbor’s yard. Instead of ignoring the dog or calling the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County, Neal went to the dog’s aid.

“I found the dog shivering, thirsty and malnurished,” Neal said. “I took him to the vet the next day and found he had all kinds of varmits living on him. He was pretty sick.”

With the help of the veterinerian and a loving new home, Bear became healthy again. Neal and the dog are now best friends. Bear insists on staying close to his owner, especially when Neal gets ready to ride the Harley-Davidson.

“We get some funny looks from people when we are out on the road,” Neal said. “Bear loves every second of it and he gets a lot of attention. It is fun for both of us.”