Hot! Dang hot!! Don’t tell Bruce, but after working in the heat most of the early part of the day, and then a swim with my six year old grandson Robert, who is a little monster, I was beat, and briefly thought about not going for a minute! So feeling slightly revitalized, and not wanting to experience the guilt of failure lol…I took the drive. Lucky for me the crowd was thin at first arrival, so I got the perfect spot for my exit. I hate trying to get out of a crowded parking lot! The only downside was that I had to hoof it across to the other side of the park to Weldon Mills. That is when I broke my first sweat of the day! So, strictly adhering to the ideal that, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, I trekked up hills, jumped a couple rocks and just hiked it. That is one of the reasons why I love Weldon Mills Distillery’s choice for this place as their home! It’s a park. It is a river. It is a beautiful location! Plus the building itself is a formidable sight, as it seems to grow bigger with each passing step. Actually, the whole place is a workout! Between the acreage and the sheer size of the building, it is a like an indoor mall for adults. Ice cold air-conditioning greeted me as soon as I open the door. Oh what sweet relief! Though only briefly enjoyed, I was wanted to get out on the patio where the Bluegrass band the Hammers were playing, including my new friend Kim Terpening, who is the hard core banjo player for them. Spotted Gator right off, and he directed me to where the WHER Radio gang were seated. Turns out it is our usual table!
I handed Stevie the video camera, and looks at me like yeah right! So, I zip out to the patio, which sits at a point, like a bow of an old ship, and was immediately treated to the Bluegrass sounds of the Hammers, and of course Gator WHER Radio’s resident entertainer was there to greet me as well! Several pictures later, and a video clip I made my way back inside for a refreshing breath of air conditioning! The gang made up of “Morning Coffee Talk” personalities Tony Jenkins & Billie Jo Flythe, Stevie Flythe from the “Final Score” and of course the vibrantly energetic Allison Jenkins, Tony’s wife, had already moved inside and saved me a seat. I did not sit long before I realized how thirsty I was, so off to the bar with me for a Pepsi on the rocks…I am driving after all lol. From where I was sitting, I could see out towards the River Fall’s fields, or should I say fairway? At least for today! It was still a sparse crowd, which is sometimes how it is, however it turned out to be just a late crowd. So I started to make my rounds, looking for cool picture opportunities or faces. Love faces! Behind every face is a story, and often as not their story is the same as yours and mine…some smiles and some frowns. More smiles than frowns on this fine day. Towards five, people started coming in to both the Mills and the park, some setting up chairs & blankets to listen to the oddly eclectic cover band “Backyard Groove”, and some hitting the nice assortment of rides that dotted the fairway. Others made their way down to the river to sit, or walk along the paths! And as it turned out some just made their way down to the river to litter it up with drinking containers and cigarettes! So sad…
Weldon Mills Distillery
Everyone looks Small
Sometimes the success of a business has to do with the people running it, and in the case of Weldon Mills, from the owner Bruce Tyler to the bar tender, and even their security person Linda Baker made all feel special and welcome! The Mills itself is an architectural beauty! Strong, proud and brick sums up the formidable appearance at quick glance, however, upon a closer look the grandeur of the Mills interior is the integration of wood throughout the brick structure. Beams cleverly left to boldly emblazon the rooms, high wood adorned ceilings and wood highlights create a warm & welcome haven for people to come and enjoy the refuge from the world that is Weldon Mills Distillery! The distillery is not open yet, but coming soon. It is now pushing 7 PM and the fairway literally has thousands of people on it! I love events like this for the simple reason that it is diverse by faces, and diverse by interest. Everyone was getting along, smiling at each other and talking to each other. Is it an alternative reality? Or is it the truth of our country, and what we read and see is just a fabrication of reality? I don’t know, but I do know this day I saw people…lots and lots of people!
Weldon Mills Bar
I did try and stay for the fireworks by planting myself for an hour on the small pier they have on the river! Closely guarding what I felt was the perfect place to get pictures, constantly swatting flies and gnats, but never giving up my position. Now, ten minutes before firework time, I could feel the anticipation of fireworks reflecting off the river, and being able to grab pictures of fireworks exploding and lighting up the sky and the river. However for safety reasons, which I understand, I was asked to leave the pier and go onto the fairway, which made it just fire work pictures without the ability to use the river in them. At this point I am beyond hot & tired and heading for home. The WHER Radio crew stayed to catch the ‘Willie Peebles Band”, but due to the amount of people on the patio, there are no pictures of the band. I want to thank my crew for helping cover this event…Gator Ricky Ross for the comic relief, Stevie Flythe, Allison Jenkins, Tony Jenkins & Billie Jo Flythe for the good company. Big hugs and kudos to the town of Weldon & Weldon Mills Distillery for an amazing event! Hope it happens again next year...