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What's Happenin': September 24 - 30 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 24 September 2008 02:07

Unity Fest 2008

LeClaire Park

Saturday, September 27, and Sunday, September 28


Edgar Crockett For Unity Fest 2008, the annual multicultural community festival held in Davenport's LeClaire Park, organizers have partnered with the Quad Cities' Student Hunger Drive to help collect canned items for local food pantries. The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to midnight on September 27, and noon to 6 p.m. on September 28, and for an admission price of two canned goods (or $2) before 5 p.m. and $10 after 5 p.m., here's a sampling of what Unity Fest attendees can expect:

• Music by Junior Walker's All-Star Band, Hal Reed, Ellis Kell, the Peña Brothers, Edgar Crockett (pictured) and his band, the Meyers Brothers, Unforgiven, the Moline High School drum line, Davenport North vocalists, the Olivet Baptist Church Choir, and the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir & Praise Team.

• Dance with the Amani Dancers, the Vietnamese Dragon Dancers, the Hispanic Folkloric Dance Troupe, and the Paraguay Dancers.

• The Grape Life's "Worldly Wine Tasting" event, ethnic food vendors, a beer tent, and a children's art exhibition.

• Family entertainment with Junior Theatre's drama troupe, the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre, and Ellis Kell's music workshop "Migration of Music Up the Mississippi."

• Kids' activities including inflatables, a bean-bag tournament, face-painting, chalk art, temporary tattoos, and Rascal the Bandit.

Director of festival programming Kim Riley-Quinn states that the annual Unity Festival "celebrates all that is good in the Quad Cities." And even before the weekend's many festival activities begin, it's clear that the event has already done some good for the area: It's left me with no room for a joke. Feel free to drop organizers a thank-you note at



Hot Air Balloon Races

Rock Island County Fairgrounds

Friday, September 26, through Sunday, September 28


Would you like to ri-i-i-ide...? "Would you like to ri-i-i-i-ide ... in my beautiful balloo-oo-oon ... ?"

Actually, if you were hoping for a ride at the inaugural Hot Air Balloon Races for Charity event - taking place at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds September 26 through 28 - you'll need luck (or pre-registration) on your side, as only one fortunate raffle winner will be taking a trip on one of the 14 balloons entered in the race. Everyone else, though, can enjoy the spectacle of the Quad Cities' first local hot-air-balloon event since 1990, with competitive races scheduled for Saturday, a Night Glow liftoff on Friday night, and a voluntary liftoff on Sunday morning.

In the spirit of the fairground festivities - which also include vendors and BMX bicycle races on Saturday afternoon - try your hand at some balloon-based stumpers, courtesy of


1) Who launched the first hot-air balloon, in 1783?

A. Jacques and Jean-Pierre Blanchard

B. Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier

C. Orville and Wilbur Wright


2) The first hot-air balloon passengers were which animals?

A. A sheep, a duck, and a hen

B. A goat, a cow, and a pig

C. A squirrel, a turtle, and a rabbit


3) What is the balloon part of the hot-air balloon called?

A. The envelope

B. The parachute

C. The sleeve


4) What is the name of a hot-air balloon's vertical speedometer?

A. Altimeter

B. Pyrometer

C. Variometer


5) After a hot-air balloon's landing, which drink do the passengers and crew traditionally share?

A. Beer

B. Champagne

C. Wine


The races' charity recipient is The New Kingdom TrailRiders - an equine therapeutic horseback-riding program for the physically and mentally challenged - and more information on the weekend is available by calling Total Media at (563) 344-9034.



Answers: 1 - B, 2 - A, 3 - A, 4 - C, 5 - B. When I tried guessing these, I only got the last one right. The fact that the question involves booze had, I promise you, nothing to do with it.



Creek Road Ramblers

Bent River Brewing Company

Friday, September 26


The Creek Road Ramblers In the group's JamBase biography, we learn that the Peoria-based bluegrass musicians of the Creek Road Ramblers first decided to form a band when "the swirling vortex of musical energy manifested itself into an idea." Which is just how I come up with these What's Happenin' pieces. Except without the swirling vortex. Or the musical energy. And only rarely do they result in an actual idea.

Appearing at the Bent River Brewing Company on September 26, the Creek Road Ramblers play traditional and modern bluegrass on guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, and dobro, and in addition to hosting Peoria's annual "Down at the River" music festival, currently perform more than 125 Midwestern gigs a year. Their talents, though, haven't escaped the notice of national musicians, as the group has shared stages with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Blind Melon, and The Flaming Lips, and has performed at both the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and summer camp.

Summer camp? Oh, come on ... who hasn't performed at summer camp?! I mean, I remember making a bongo out of a cantaloupe, and ... .

Oh, wait - it turns out they performed at the annual Summer Camp festival in Chillicothe, Illinois, alongside noted bluegrass performers Hot Buttered Rum and Cornmeal, so it's actually a pretty big deal. (I really, really need to start reading these press releases more carefully.)

For more on the Creek Road Ramblers, visit



The Bucktown Revue

River Music Experience

Friday, September 26, 7 p.m.


Krista Rittenhouse On September 26, the River Music Experience hosts The Bucktown Revue, described in a press release as "an old-fashioned webcast radio variety program." Ah, how I remember the webcast radio variety programs of old ... sitting on my grandma's knee ... me with one iPod earbud and grandma with the other ... .

Modeled after The Grand Ole Opry and A Prairie Home Companion, the show is the first in a monthly presentation of music, dance, poetry, and humor by area talents, and like last season's River City Radio Hour, will feature master of ceremonies Scott Tunnicliff and house musicians The Barley House Band - Michael Romkey, Kristi Rudd, Tena Hess, Jeremy Dombrock, and Krista Rittenhouse (pictured). Among the guests lined up for Friday's show are jazz singer Lionel Marcoux, pianist Margaret Skinner, Quad City Poet Laureate Dale Haake, hammered dulcimer players Reg and Linda Shoesmith, storyteller Steve Marriott, and Irish dancer Katie Davis, with the evening's entertainment subsequently being made available for downloading through iTunes.

It sounds like great fun, but I stress that the event is being recorded live, so behave yourselves. If I find out that anyone screamed "Take off your top!" during Mr. Haake's reading, there's gonna be hell to pay. Save that for when I'm a guest.

Following September 26's program, subsequent revues will take place at the RME on the third Friday of the month through April, and more information on the series is available by calling (563) 326-1333 or visiting




The Green Room

Thursday, September 25, through Sunday, September 28


Angela Rathman and Jason Platt in Misery "Wha ... what's going on? Where am I?"

"Good morning, Mike. It's me. Your number-one fan."


"No, silly. My name's Annie. I just love your What's Happenin' pieces."

"Oh, uh ... thanks. But why, uh ... ?"

"Why are your legs shackled to the bed?"


"I'd like you to do me a little favor, Mike. There's a show that's running at the Green Room in Rock Island, from September 25 through 28, and I want you to write about it. It's a touching little story about a writer and his number-one fan ... just like us!"


"You see, it's a two-character play that stars Angela Rathman and Jason Platt, and I know you've liked their work in the past ... ."

"I have ... ."

" ... and it's about true love and devotion and commitment ... . Oh! I almost forgot the best cockadoodie part! It's the stage version of a best-selling novel by one of the most popular authors of all time!"

"Which author?"

"Stephen King!"

"Uh-huh. Well. That's nice of you to think of me, Annie, but, um ... I'm afraid I'll have to pass."

"Really. Hmm."

"Yeah, it's just that I've already written my pieces for that week's issue, and I've been writing a lot about theatre lately, and ... . What are you doing with that sledgehammer, Annie?"

"Trust me. It's for the best."


For information on the Green Room's production of Misery, visit


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