Posts Tagged With: Wine Garden


I had to go back to the festival just to try more of the food. People turned out in numbers to watch or participate in the grape stomp. The barrels were mobbed with camera  wielding watchers.

Once you get out of the juicy, sticky stuff, a barrel of plain water allows you to rinse your feet.

A Japanese tourist got enticed to participate by one of the dancers. The M.C. continually announces to the crowd and has fun with the participants.

Three inch thick barbequed pork chops caused me to drool a bit. The shish-ke-bob, bag tacos, corn dogs and brats, all delicious carnival fare I’ve tasted before. I was looking for the unusual and I found it. Deep fried desserts.

Two stands sold deep fried Twinkies and Oreos. This one went the whole gambit with MilkyWays and Snickers, too. I hung around the stand for awhile waiting for someone to order one so I could see what it looks like and get an opinion of what it tastes like. The customers ordered everything else but the deep fried desserts, so I chickened out and passed on by. I’m not a sweets lover by nature, but now that morning is here, I’m regretting it. I will ever be curious.

Kettlecorn  is sweet and not to my taste but I enjoyed watching this guy make huge vats of the stuff. Eventually, I settled on an Italian sausage covered with onions and green peppers. Should have been good but the Midwest doesn’t spice things up and it was mild and just okay. Then I asked the locals what is the best stuff at the festival. I heard from two different people that the Italian Wedding Cake is a must. And, from a specific stand at that. The cakes sell for $30, but this stand sold by the slice or cupcake. Cake is something I usually pass, but I took the cupcake. It’s more like a pound cake, richer, heavier in texture, with nuts and flavorings that made it quite different. If you love cake, you would probably love the Italian Wedding Cake.

The Coal Town and Rail Road Museum were open during the festival and we visited these two small museums housed in the old Railroad Depot. We viewed a film down inside a coal mine with mules and workers showing how it was done. Gritty, hard work for the young. Two men, in this film, loaded 45 tons of coal in one day by hand with a shovel. The old song, 16 Tons came to mind, the amount expected of one man per shift.

The rail half of the museum had a video showing of personal interviews with former rail workers. The times were filled with difficult physical work. We complain about our wheeled suitcases, hustling them through check-in at the airport. I’d hate to have to tote the trunks above or the old heavy leather suitcases.

On the south side of town, the Italian Wine Garden is the focal point of the festival. Under a huge canopy of grape vine covered garden, neighbor meets neighbor in a homecoming; returning to Clinton to once again get together with friends and neighbors and family. People socialize over wine and beer and enjoy the music and revelry at the wine garden. After 6:00, no children are allowed and a small cover charge helps pay for the bands. This band from Ohio was just setting up and played nostalgic oldies, Dino, Sinatra, Mario Lanza  and some great Italian music.

An old Italian store and  small wine museum are in front of the garden with great old wine presses and musical instruments.

There is no longer a winery in Clinton, but traditionally, Italians make their own wine for home use. During  the festival, participants can learn how to make wine.

I wanted to buy something just to see the clerk operate this old cash register. Jim spent most of the day hanging out at the VFW and Eagles Club, socializing with fraternal buddies.

For more pictures click on the link:

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Did you know that one out of five Americans have Italian Heritage? Early railroad building and mining attracted Italian workers to Clinton, Indiana. Those ancestors built an authentic gondola, the Quaido Staggiori Fountain, and a vine covered  wine garden to help celebrate their heritage with everybody during  Labor Day Weekend. The whole town turns out for the parade, great food, dancing, music, fun and games.

Onions, button mushrooms, mashed potatoes and steak was a delicious concoction. One guy told me he drives 30 miles to this festival every year just for this dish, so I had to taste it.

Tenderloin on a bun was a popular dish as well as three inch thick barbecued pork chops, bagna caud, mosticcioli, calamari salad, Italian sausages, lasagna…ummmm! All types of authentic Italian fare with Italian wedding cakes and cannelloni for desert as well.
The problem for a foodie like me is the limited number of dishes I can taste. I don’t remember attending a festival with so many great food booths.

Entertainment was provided by local groups of kids, cheerleaders, dance troups and so on. Evening entertainment provided by Italian Singers, several Polka Bands, and a Hillbilly Band on Monday.

A carnival set-up keeps its promise of thrills for young and old.

Local organizations fund raise with games for all ages. Every year the Festival raffles off a trip to Italy, and I hope I win.

You can learn how to make wine and stomp grapes, sample sauce from the Spaghetti Sauce Cookoff, enjoy Italian Singers, tumbling, cloggers.  If you are in the area, don’t miss it. Check the schedule at:

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