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Viewing entries by
Robin Wade

Update - Wildwood Creek Fest

Great news regarding the upcoming Wildwood Creek Festival.

Sunday afternoon was perfect for testing the acoustics of the creek.  We were hoping to be able to provide the acoustic entertainment with no electric.  Although it sounded pretty darn good, with much wading or splashing we may have to plug up just a bit in July.

I'm happy to report that we have confirmed possibly the most beautiful location on Cypress Creek to hold this first annual event.  It's a private residence, with a beautiful, almost magical huge sloping backyard.  Without naming names, if you know your way around the creek, it's a hundred yards or so upstream from the Nelson Starkey Bridge, and has had a beautiful red barn (and meditation rock) sitting on the bank of the creek for the past 50 years.  Perfect.

One more update.  The event will be from 5pm to 8pm, July 19, 2014.

There will be no direct access by car. If arriving by land, you'll need to bring your lawn chair, sun screen (and great attitude) to one of our downtown parking locations where our Shuttle will be circling regularly.

RWF Coffee Table Book

"The Coffee Table Book" is $50 bucks.  But thru May they're $16, or $20 shipped locally or anywhere in the U.S.

After working on this book on and off for most of the year, we received the first printing yesterday. 

No Raft Race Aloha shirts - first shipment

Just received the first shipment of almost vintage "No Raft Race" aloha shirts today.  Folks pre-ordered, and the only one left I'm keeping!  The first 50 were $10 bucks each or 3 for $20.  Why so cheap? 

1)  We aren't in the shirt business.  we're not making a profit on these shirts.  We're promoting something we are passionate about.

2)  The shirts are NOT new.  They are really cool "recycled?" aloha shirts straight from Honolulu.  So be sure to check out the shirt before you buy.

3)  Maybe I'm crazy. . .

If you are on-board.  If you are as passionate as we are about NO RAFT RACE, Saturday July 19, 2014, about a quarter to nine, be sure to stop by our space during this next First Friday (downtown florence - court street), June 6. 

Help us get the word out.  We'll have No Raft Race branded Aloha shirts, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and - believe it or not tattoos! 

Oh, don't forget, just because there's no official raft race this year, it doesn't mean we can't have a blast and play in the creek.  The first Saturday of the Handy Music Fest, we'll be launching the first ever Wildwood Creek Festival.  Acoustics IN the creek.  For more info, be sure to see our (RWF) space First Friday, downtown court street, June 6.

No Raft Race

I know there's been confusion about the raft race.  Is it coming back?  After 29 year's of no Raft Race, are we going to have it this year?  What are the rules?  What kind of raft do I make?  Can I paddle a Kayak or canoe?  What is the entry fee?  And the biggee - What do I get if I win?

Now that Cypress Creek is safe to paddle again (thanks to the city spending 2mil on rebuilding/routing the water from the "damn weir" they built in 1980, I want to promote the creek and get folks back in it again.

No Raft Race

Unfortunately, there will be no Great Cypress Creek Raft Race this year.  I am launching the first annual "Wildwood Creek Festival" on the first Saturday of Handy, 11am to 3pm on (or should I say "in" Cypress Creek - at or quite near Wildwood Park (details being worked now).  - More on this later.

But for the Raft Race.  Nope, not this year.  But here's a little tip.  Next summer 2015, will be the 30th anniversary of the last raft race (1985).  Seems like a good time to dust off the paddles and innertubes, and raft design schemes, and "do it".  But for now, no confirmation.

One more tip;  When I passed out the stickers and notices that we were having no raft race this summer, several old timers, and more younger generation, didn't seem to be taking no (raft race) as an answer.  Saying they would paddle the creek when they wanted.  Really, that's fine by me, but again, for the official - Great Cypress Creek Raft Race - it will NOT be happening on July 19, 2014.  -- And unfortunately, i probably won't be able to even paddle the creek on that day.  Will probably be up to my waders in "Acoustics IN the Creek" at the first annual Wildwood Creek Fest".  July 19, Cypress Creek, Florence Al, 11a to 3p.

The Coffee Table Book

After working on this 12"x12" hardbound "coffee table book" sporadically since January, last night I completed the cover and final touches and ordered the first 10 copies, for proofing, before we dive in.  Sorry, the resolution is too small to read the quotes and credits.  But if you see any typo's etc, I'd love to hear!  Should have a few of the hardbound v. by Friday or so.

New Handy Event - Wildwood

There's a wonderful new event now scheduled for the first Saturday of the Handy Music Festival.  July 19, Wildwood Park.  This (first) year we will be focusing on "WATER", and featuring "Acoustics IN the Creek"  Select pic below and visit the website I setup this morning.

Grab your lawn chair, sun lotion, and creek shoes, get in the creek or from the banks and enjoy acoustics from some of Shoals best.

A few more pics from Thursday night dinner

Just as it started raining, and we were in the car leaving, I thought to take a few shots.  Guess better late than never, but  . . .  Yup, Nancy Oneal's farm is quite amazing.

1979 Raft Race Song Re-recorded

After catching heck from Kelvin H about the previous Ragae version, we tried again with Amanda and Ukele.  Kelvin, I think this is an improvement (for sure), but I'd still LOVE to hear what you and your buddies can do with it (like you said, add maybe some (or a lotta) "swamp")???. 

Really, wouldn't hurt my feelings to start over with a new 2014 song altogether.

Amanda did great!  But if it's music related, I perfer mine - "local" ;)

This song won first place in the "Best Raft Race Song" competition during raft race 2, 1979, Great Cypress Creek Raft Race, Florence Al. I'd love to see a new song and recording from one of our many talented local artists. If you have thoughts, i'd love to hear!

Oh, I almost forgot.  There's one more verse to this song.  I deleted it, just because I was worried it might be a bit controversial.  Anyone remember how the last verse went??

An evening with the trust

The Shoals hosted this year's annual Alabama Trust conference this week.  Thursday night was a magical evening.  Bo Osborne and Emily Tease, showcased the best of the shoals with this farm to table event.  Master chef Alan Phillips did his thing, this time with wild game.  My history with wild game has not been memorable.  Thursday night Alan pulled it off, amazingly. 

An evening with the trust, Alabama trust, oneal farm, florence al
  • quail and jalapeno tartlets
  • roast fig and curried duck
  • pheasant quesadilla bits with salsa verde
  • pickled peach and herbed chevre (sorry i forgot what the heck chevre is) on sweet potato biscuit
  • Venison medallion paired with wild turkey meatloaf, with local veggies, sauted greens ++
  • green tomato cheese grits
  • pecan pesto and blackberry cumberland sauce
  • white chocolate mousse tartlests with berries
The venison was amazing, as well as the entire evening.

The venison was amazing, as well as the entire evening.

the menu went on and on with more of these small bite sized desserts arriving regularly.  It was all really wonderful.  The Venison was the best (by far) i've had.  Cooked perfectly. 

Many of the guests were with the trust from around the state but lot's of locals as well.  Lot's of fun at our table with David and Nannette Cassady, John Locker (who also pulled off an amazing farm to table event a couple of months ago), Tracey Marcu, Judy and David Hood (yup, one of our own Muscle Shoals Swampers, Rusy and Lisa Alexander (just within shouting distance).

My gosh, I almost forgot the best part.  Nancy O'neal's farm.  My first visit and it's heavenly.  The dream began just as we pulled off of Gunterford Road at a little sign that said "Dinner".  Beautiful rolling hills, beautiful cows, quite special. 

These bad pics were taken with my iphone (dropped my good camera a few weeks ago).  I borrowed Nannette's camera and took more just as we were leaving.  I'm hoping to find a few pics of the end of the event to share.

Historic Muscle Shoals Music (Swampette) tour Saturday

2014-04-19 09.34.00.jpg

I finally took the entire morning off Saturday and got on board Judy Hood's super cool Swampette Tour.  Let me say "I'm onboard!".  We met at the Marriott Lobby, and were whisked away on a really cute little wooden ;) tour bus. 

If you don't know, Judy has amazing insight into this subject.  Being Swamper David Hood's better half - she know's plenty.  Actually she know's more than she sharing.  And she's sharing a ton.

Our first stop was a Fame.  So cool that recording artists are still lining up to record here.  A group was recording while we were there.

Second stop, Alabama Music Hall of Fame.  This is the first time I've seen it since the remodel, and I'm impressed.  Really wonderful the our Governor and other's have invested in this amazing historic project.

Spooner Oldham @ Alabama Music Hall of Fame

The stars were aligned - just as we arrived local super start Spooner Oldham was honored with a bronze star in the Walk of Fame. 

Last stop was of 3614 Jackson Highway, Muscle Shoals Sound.  This is the one that the Beats Music guy is investing in the huge project of a historic remodel.  The aesthetics will be just as they were, the recording equipment will be state of the art. 

Tour leader and lead Swampette - Judy Hood in black, Georgia Carter proudly sporting her new Billy Reid "Mustache" blue T-shirt also on the front row of historic 3614 Jackson Highway - aka Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

Tour leader and lead Swampette - Judy Hood in black, Georgia Carter proudly sporting her new Billy Reid "Mustache" blue T-shirt also on the front row of historic 3614 Jackson Highway - aka Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

My review;  Each tourist (including me!) drank the wonderful, historic Muscle Shoals Music kool-aid that tourguide, Swampette Judy Hood shared, and we loved every moment of it.  Thank you Judy Hood!  So generous of you to share so much of the wonderful history of our area.  I'll be back for more!

Raft Race has a brand new website

the Great Cypress Creek Raft Race is getting it's own website.   Just getting it going.  Lots of work in the garden . . .  But for now, for Raft Race info/news/old pics/announcements/ and blog posts and 30 year Raft Race story telling, please visit:  http://www.greatcypresscreekraftrace.com/

High Point Market

This High Point Market will be a short one (for me).  I'll only be available Saturday and Sunday.  Please note:  That we've moved our showing.  We are thrilled to now be (for our second High Point Market) with Ekornes (the super cool, modern, sustainable Stressless guys from Norway) showroom.

  • Building IHFC
  • Showroom D820
  • Bustop #1 (Transportation Terminal)

Successful Kickstarter Campaign for Phil Campbell

After year's in the making, it was great to see that our little table, made from a devastated Phil Campbell tree, is beginning to make a difference.  Congrats to our friends Andrew Reed, Brooklyn Phil Campbell and all the Phil Campbells around the world who have worked tirelessly for our neighboring community. 

after year's in the "making", our little Phil Campbell table found it's new home.
Above is a pic of the Phil Campbell table presently showing (for a few more days) at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed / Rosenbaum Museum - downtown Florence.

Above is a pic of the Phil Campbell table presently showing (for a few more days) at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed / Rosenbaum Museum - downtown Florence.

Karen Graffao shows at the Tennessee Valley Museum of art

Great fun meeting Karen Sunday at her wonderful showing;  3000 Dreams Explained.  Somehow, i didn't really get it.  That is, until I stepped foot into her third concentric ring.  The answer was there.  I got it.  Even if it was just for a moment.  I'll have to drop back by for more.

Why recycle?

no reason to recycle when it's functioning - and u love it!

For the past 26 years Linda's driven nothing but (two) Volvos. The first an '88 - she kept 12 years. Then, while we were living in Beaufort SC she purchased this on. That was in 2000.  She really loves this car. And hopes to be able to keep her fir as ling as she can. 


Tourism building

the shoals is on a roll, and it doesn't seem to be slowing. Just got a sneak peek of the new tourism building at McFarland park.  I'm quite amazed. Architect Bob Whitten and Tom Gosser at Parallax construction have designed/built quite an amazing new area "gem". Facing the beautiful river, park and marina, tourists will know there's something quite special about the community they are visiting. 

Combining natural (wood) with beautiful functional minimal modern is not easily achieved.  

Congrats Bob and entire team!  This one is absolutely worth the wait!! 


New restaurant Rice Box - Huntsville

The best Chinese restaurant in alabama just opened a Huntsville location.  I'm happy to report nothing but rave reviews. 

Linda and I weren't really hungry - more curious than anything. Great to see they seem to be following the same great menu. And, amazingly, it tasted just like super chef Jason did the cooking. It's actually (owner) Maggie's brother from New York. I had heard about his masterful culinary skills for years - fun meet him - and taste his wonderful food 

beautiful, modern/asian interior. Great to see a couple of long time (Florence Rice Box) employees - including Ben - back from Los Angeles   

Just appetizers really

Sushi - exceptional, fried hot wings, crispy - almost perfect -  a bit sweet for my taste.   Perfect for Linda. Tempura Tofu appetizer. Just perfect. 

Im looking forward to getting back there for a meal when I'm actually hungry