The Hotdog Festival
Rooster and I attended the hotdog festival on a steamy summer day. The event took place in Frankfort, Indiana thus the name for the event evolved from the name for a hotdog. #Frankfort #Indiana #hotdogs #Kentucky Headhunters
“Why don’t we ride the bike to The Frankfort Hotdog Festival when I get off work today,” Rooster suggested. I thought it sounded like a good idea. I’d never been to a festival dedicated to the hotdog. The idea sounded like an unusual adventure. I’m usually not a big fan of that form of processed meat, but I’ve enjoyed a Coney Dog from time to time, but I try to leave the elongated heart attack in a bun alone. I’ve also never spent much time in Frankfort.
I pictured a small country town
The image I picture when I think about this small community is an old-fashioned country town with a unique courthouse thrown into the middle to make the small city interesting. What we discovered on our adventure to The Hotdog Festival was a friendly small town, which was creeping into the twenty-first century at a slow pace. The citizens were sociable.
There were trendy restaurants opening around the square. New construction blended in with the old architecture to give it a progressive atmosphere. There seemed to be a conservative amount of road work within the city limits, which we considered a plus. We were only detoured out of our way once.
The motorcycle ride
The ride to the Festival was the perfect blend of scenic country roads and wonderful weather, which make for a flawless motorcycle trip. We sailed down a county highway with cool air in our faces and the wind to our back. I like to listen to Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats on my earphones tucked under my helmet. I discover this group about a month ago while listening to Pandora.
They have a unique New Orleans sound. When we arrived at the festival, Rooster found the perfect parking spot in the shade. He hates to leave the Dark Horse out in the sun. The intense rays tend to bleach out the leather and the paint. It’s also more comfortable to climb onto a cool seat when it’s time to leave.
A pool set up in the steer to cool off hot dogs
Pole-vaulters were competing in a friendly competition to our right. There was a giant above ground pool set up to our left. I’m not sure what was going on, but it looked like people were bringing their dogs for a swim. Those hot dogs were turning into cool canines right before our eyes. Next to the giant doggy pool was a smaller one where human children were zipped into giant plastic balls similar to the ones you’d find a rodent playing on in a hamster cage.
They rolled across the large wading pool and played in the water until it was time for the next person to take their turn rolling around inside the large hamster toy look-alike. We asked the gentleman working the booth if there was an age limit on who could participate. He informed us anyone could play. They had a ninety-three-year-old woman in the ball earlier that day. She had a lot of fun. He said she acted like a big kid.
Typical festival stuff
The typical festival paraphernalia lined Frankfort’s downtown square. Vendors sold fair food, water, crafts, soft drinks, jewelry, and knickknacks. This festival didn’t have amusement rides. Instead, enormous bounce houses and inflatable slides were erected for the kids to enjoy.
For a small fee, they could explore these inflatable fun houses. The most interesting part of the Hotdog Festival was the Second Empire Style limestone courthouse designed by George W. Bunting that sat in the middle of the flurry of activity taking place in the streets. The three-story building constructed in 1882 sported a 165-foot domed central tower surrounded by statuary.
\The courthouse stood like a condescending sentinel watching over the downtown streets. This artistic structure serves as a constant reminder of this community’s link to the past. The courthouse was the star of the festival.
Rooster and I walked the square examining all the miscellaneous items that were for sale. We got tired and found a bench underneath a tree where we could rest our feet. A group of people joined us after we’d relaxed for a while. I struck up a conversation with the nice lady sitting across from me. I asked her if they made hotdogs here in Frankfort and wondered if that was why they had the festival. She informed me it was because of the name of the town. She said the local high school sports teams were known as the Frankfort Hotdogs.
The fighting Hotdogs
I found that rather interesting. Most teams want to go by something fierce like the Wildcats, the Panthers, or the Tigers. These kids had the confidence to march out on the football field or basketball court masquerading as the fierce fighting Hotdogs.
Rooster and I found the canopied tent where hotdogs were being sold in honor of the festival dedicated to their name. Rooster opted not to endure the wait in the sun. He found a spot across the street in the shade where he could hang out with the other old men who didn’t want to get a hotdog. I was content to stand in line. I was sure there must be something special about the elongated portions of process meat they were selling under the big tent.
I glanced to my left and noticed a sign with the prices written on it. I don’t know if I’ve been around Rooster too long, but there was no way I was going to pay seven dollars for a hotdog with Coney sauce and onion on it.
They did have a hotdog-eating contest earlier in the day. I hope they let the contestants compete without paying for the wieners they consumed. We heard the winner ate twenty-one franks along with the buns, beating the record of fourteen from the previous year. The victor would receive a mighty hefty bill if they were required to pay for every hotdog they swallowed. The cost would come down a little. Contestants wouldn’t opt to pay for the Coney sauce.
The Kentucky Headhunters
They scheduled the Kentucky Headhunters to play at eight, but the thought of hanging around in the heat until they took the stage when an Indian motorcycle calling our name ended up being too much to consider. We climbed on the Dark Horse and made the slow journey home.
The Frankfort Hotdog Festival wasn’t the biggest or most spectacular festival we’ve been to this year, but it did have a pleasant hometown vibe. I’m sure it will get bigger as the community grows. The only suggestion I could make would be to charge a reasonable price for the hotdogs they sell. I would have liked to have bragged I ate a hotdog at The Frankfort Hotdog Festival, and I thought it was the best hotdog in the world.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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