Jazz Fest a hit at Market Street Park

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Attendees gather under the market pavilion during the Garden Gate Festival at Market Street Park in Huntingburg.


HUNTINGBURG — The first Garden Gate Jazz, Art, Wine, & Craft Beer Festival held at Market Street Park was well attended.

Hundreds of people ignored the one-and-off rainfall to listen to live jazz and sample wines and craft beers while enjoying the city’s downtown park.

Organizers were pleased with the event’s outcome.

“It fell just short of a record-breaking event,” said Sara Schroeder, executive director of the Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the eighth-annual event. “The best year we had financially, it was a beautiful sunny day. So to have a day that fell just short of that, and it rained, was amazing.

“We were able to pull off an entire event in the rain, and still have a lot of people there. It was amazing.”

Market Street Park and its features made setup for the festival simple.

Attendees sit at tables behind Old Town Hall during the Garden Gate Festival at Market Street Park in Huntingburg. 

“This park just accommodates any kind of event you can have there,” Schroeder said, “having the pavilion there, the stage already there. This was so aethetically-pleasing. Just the setup and planning was so much easier.”

Vendors lined either side of the pavilion, with a couple vendors underneath. Most of the pavilion covered the picnic tables that were brought in for visitors.

“Being the first year, we weren’t sure how to lay the vendors out” to make the foot traffic flow work, Schroeder said. “Overall, we had a general idea of what to do, and we implemented that. Some things we will tweak. This first year was a learning process.”

The park also was accommodating to the inclement weather.

“There was no flooding. There was no puddling,” Schroeder said. “We had the pavilion for people to go under. The bathrooms were amazing. The stages were covered. It just worked well.”

Schroeder believes that a sunny day would have shown the park’s full potential. “I think the lawn area would have been the highlight of day. And that was probably the only thing the rain kind of dampened for us,” she said. “I envisioned people with blankets laid out and the sun, drinking wine. We didn’t get that because of the rain. But hopefully we will next year, fingers crossed.”

Next year, organizers plan to not bring as many picnic tables to the area. “We probably could have had a few less because there is so much built-in seating,” Schroeder said. “People sat on the swings, at the many tables already in the park, and on the concrete structures that line pathways.”

Olive Stenftenagel, 4, left, Joseph Wilmes, 5, Mason Sermersheim, 6, Tegan Taylor, 9, Reagan Sermersheim, 9, and Malena Fehlberg, 9, all of Huntingburg, play on a swing during the Garden Gate Festival at Market Street Park in Huntingburg. 

Despite the weather, a steady stream of people came to the festival throughout the day. And the other events happening that day in the city — the new disc golf tournament at Niehaus Park, the annual Jazzed Up run/walk, and the Huntingburg Kiwanis’ annual car show — were also well attended.

“We love coming to wine fests like this,” one woman from Cincinnati said. She and her husband read about the festival online and decided to attend.

“This venue is wonderful,” she said. “There is so much space to sit and socialize. There are two stages for performances. And the overhead (pavilion) covering is huge. It’s amazing that this kind of park is located in a small town.”

The feedback from the vendors and attendees has been positive. “The vendors were thrilled with the space,” Schroeder said. “We were running into people from all over southern, Indiana, southern Illinois, northern Kentucky, that traveled here to come to this event.”

She said people were amazed at the size of the park.

“Overall, I was thrilled with the day,” Schroeder added.

Monkey Hollow Winery's Linda Bittle of St. Meinrad, left, pours a sample of wine for Kiersten Kennedy, Tracey Johannes, both of Santa Claus, and Emily Kennedy of St. Anthony during the Garden Gate Festival at Market Street Park in Huntingburg.

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