Last night was Bardstown Road Aglow, one of my favorite events of the year. Bardstown Road runs through the heart of what is considered the most “artsy” part of town. It’s not too far from our house and is a fun place to hang out and an even better place to shop. I think it’s probably got one of the greatest concentrations of locally-owned, independent-minded businesses in town. Our music shop is there. So is the best bookstore in town. And our coffee shop hang out. And my comic shop.
I admit that in recent years, there’s been an invasion of yuppie bars and trendy clothing shops that has displaced some of the antique stores, junk shops, and cooler spots, but there’s still a great selection of places to go.
Aglow was started twenty-some odd years ago as an effort to promote shopping in local businesses for the holidays. It’s a lot of fun. Musicians wander the streets. Stores run specials and give out refreshments. Everything stays open a little later than normal. It seems like Louisville is being overrun by the big boxes and huge commercial developers more and more these days, so with the economy faltering, the local guys need all the help they can get. This is a fun way to give them some support.
I took my camera with me, intent on doing a photo-commentary, but discovered that the battery was dead the first time I took it out. Curse you technology!
So, instead of a bunch of photos, here’s some quick bullet points. Follow the links to learn more about some of our cool local businesses.
We started out the evening with yummy sushi at Café Mimosa. At least I did. Keith had sesame tofu. Which was also yummy. They have the best vegetarian sushi in town, in my opinion.
The crowds were lighter than usual, although there were still a ton of people out. I think the forecast of rain later in the evening kept folks away. The smaller shops were still packed, but popular stops like Ear X-tacy were not nearly as full as usual.
Biggest disappointment: No demos and samples at the grocery. The manager told us that they had wrapped up before we got there, which meant they ended way early, because they were our first stop. And we hit the road right at the beginning of the event.
The scary conservative churches seem to have the best cookies. No Jesus, please! Just cookies!
Cider here. Hot chocolate there. I was awash in warm beverages! Still had room to end the evening with Huber’s cider at Heine Brothers, though.
Mmmmmm! Fresh cookies from Kizito. It just don’t get any better at all.
Was a little dismayed (in a good way) to find out that Josh Ritter, Tegan and Sara, and Digby all have new releases out. Looks like 2007 still has some musical treats left in it. Guess what I’ll be picking up come payday?
Lots of costumes out: Several solo Santas, plus a whole pack of Santas of various ages, size, and genders, the Grinch and all his co-stars, and a group of Victorian carolers.
Several buskers too: We watched one guy with a bagpipe get chased away from one store, while on another block there was a mandolin player and a saxophonist. And then there was the wandering harmonica player, who latched on to people and blew little tunes at them while walking in front of them or beside them, until they either gave him money or it became obvious they wouldn’t. Then he latched on to someone else. He was especially annoying because he didn’t say anything, just tooted on his harmonica. It was like being assailed by a noisy mime.
We took a smell test at one of the New Age healing places. I seemed to like the “Male Tonic” most. Hmmm…..
As usual, I spent the most money at All Booked Up, who started their December sale last night. Everything 30-50% off. I love used book stores, and they're one of the last good ones left in town. And for the third or fourth year in a row, I passed up the hardback collection of Barbarella strips to buy a small stack of other stuff. One of these days, it’s not going to be there, and I’m going to regret not buying it.
Instead, I indulged in one of my favorite sub-sub-sub-genres of reading: books by traditional Catholics decrying everything that’s changed in the Church since Vatican II. I got one about the “tragic unraveling” of the women’s religious orders and another that pretty much comes out and calls all the American bishops heretics. Fun stuff! (Okay, I admit. I’m a little weird.)
We never did see the Louisville Bagpipe Corps or Pokey Lafarge. Bummer.
Still, Pokey or not, it was a successful evening for us. Lots of fun. Lots of cookies. And a book about rebellious nuns. What more does one need?
Remember, support your local businesses when you go holiday shopping!
Hey Pokey! Sing us out!