celebrate summer!

when we think about why some of our favorite towns and cities have been deemed some our favorites there is typically one thing they all have in common – ARTS FESTIVALS! did you know that for something like twentyish years marion has had an arts festival called celebrate summer that happens right in our downtown? neither did we!

i, cara, attended celebrate summer on saturday, june 23rd, and i was completely overwhelmed with how much artistic and creative talent was on display by LOCAL PEOPLE! what would be even more amazing is if even more people became involved for next year’s event! if you are an artist, photographer, jewelry-maker, musician, foodie or anything artsy – this is a fantastic opportunity for you to put your work on display! there is even a beautiful vintage car show and so much more to experience at celebrate summer!

if you have never been to celebrate summer, then mark your calendar for the fourth saturday in june for the rest of your years – AND GO. and if you haven’t spent much time in downtown marion, then this summer is the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and take a look at what’s going on. check out the art studios (the guild), the shopping opportunities (charleston place, home again) and the great places to eat – did you know that the candy shack also serves lunch?! well, they do – and it’s fabulous.

you could easily spend a day exploring downtown marion. we promise that there is more to do than you think there is! not to mention, there are some wonderful people that are really working hard and taking pride in keeping downtown looking attractive – so while you’re visiting, take a moment to say thanks to all of the people you run into that are putting their hearts & passion into OUR downtown. maybe even ask what you can do to help – that would be pretty marionish!

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cribs: marion edition

it is in the heart of our community, but you forget that it’s there. it’s local, but world-famous. it’s simple, but still beautiful. to most of us, it’s just another house that we drive by, but in its day, the home of president and florence harding was THE point of excitement in marion. yes, the exact same marion that we live in right now! how often do you really stop and think about how significant that is for our community? if you are like us, probably close to never.

when we heard about “marion days”, we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the celebrity home…FOR FREE. it’s kind of like a local episode of cribs…well maybe not cribs, but it was still extremely cool to tour the famous home and to think about the life that was lived there. imagine if the presidential candidate – future president of the united states – lived right around the corner from you today…how crazy would that be?!

since we hadn’t visited the home since probably about the time of elementary school, it was really interesting to go through it with a renewed, adult appreciation for what it truly means to marion. our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about all of the artifacts and intricacies that make the home so special. the visit truly made us feel a connection to the president that didn’t really exist before…and also a new sense of pride in one of the things our community is known for. from florence’s rose garden in the backyard to the famous front porch facing mt. vernon avenue, the harding home is a place you should definitely visit – especially if you are looking for new reasons to take pride in our community!

“marion days” are three selected dates that the harding home will be open for extended hours and offering FREE tours. the remaining two dates are july 13th & august 10th. tickets for “marion days” can be picked up at the marion area convention & visitors bureau as well as other various locations around town. we hope that you will put the harding home on your list of summer activities and help us rediscover our marion roots! and while we’re on the topic – take some time out to talk with and encourage the kids in your neighborhood! with positive influences and strong mentors, one of them could be a future presidential candidate…now THAT would be pretty marionish!

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raising money the ride way

whether you consider yourself a biker or not, the brandy winfield memorial poker run is definitely an event for everyone. our favorite aspects? the fundraising and the eye-catching bikes…and by bikes, we also mean their owners. side note: when it comes to bikers – at least in our experience – it’s always the tougher the look, the bigger the teddy bear.

on june 2nd, under bright blue skies, over 500 sparkling, bad-ass bikes roared into the marion county fairgrounds to honor fallen officer brandy winfield and to raise money for various charities. after their ride, the group returned to the veterans memorial coliseum for a bbq and performance by local band – left of center.

this event takes place every summer, usually during the first weekend in june, and this something you need to put on your agenda for next year. it’s a great time and an even better cause! and by all means, forget a stuffed animal…hug a biker.

for more information on the poker run and to see which charities the event has served: www.brandywinfieldrun.org

for more about the music of left of center and upcoming shows: www.leftofcenterrocks.net

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why don’t you wine about it?

if you’re going to whine on a friday night, then what better place to do it at then at a vineyard? word play. even better, IT’S A LOCAL VINEYARD. did you know that right here in marion county there is a business that makes their own wine? you may have known that, but did you know that they also hold an event once a month called flatbread friday? if the alliteration didn’t suck you right in, then the homemade brick oven flatbread pizzas and wine tasting will!

cara and i had the pleasure of attending may’s flatbread friday, and let me tell you.. i will be returning to that. shamrock vineyard is located in waldo and sits far off the road on a picturesque farm. van and emily creasap open up their property to you, so that you may enjoy their wine and a relaxing evening with a beautiful setting. a local band by the name of opossum and friends perfected the evening by performing live with their selection of folk and alternative music.

the turnout was great, but we hope for it to be even bigger and better next time. flatbread friday tip: DO NOT leave your headlights on – they will call you out on it and embarrass you all the way to your car. how marionish, am i right?

for all shamrock vineyard happenings visit http://www.shamrockvineyard.com.

to take a listen to a few of opossum and friends’ songs go on over to¬†http://www.reverbnation.com/opossumsongs.