Fun in La Grange

Oldham County Day entertainment
schedule full of music, activities

Blues Brothers tribute band
to put on a show with Elvis impersonator

LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2021) – Oldham County Day is known for many things, great entertainment being one of them. This year’s lineup includes a Blues Brothers Tribute Act in the form of the Bluegrass Blues Brothers.
Kevin Rich and Brian Maier have been performing for almost 20 years as the Bluegrass Blues Brothers. Having been best friends for 35 years, “we have been doing music for a long time,” said Rich.
“We started as rappers, then we ran a karaoke business, and we started to be clowns with rabbit, juggling, magic and balloon animals. And one day we dressed as the Blues Brothers for the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge. They thought we were professionals, so we thought we might have something and we found us a Dodge Monaco (The Bluesmobile) and that’s that.”
That was enough to get the ball rolling, and their Show Band is comprised of 11 multi-talented and seasoned musicians.
“We have been performing with our current band for the last five years,” said Rich, also known as Joliet Jake Blues. On stage, Maier goes by Elwood Blues. The band is scheduled to perform from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Oldham County Day.
They band consists of Marvin Geary (drums), Ralph Aldridge (bass), Christel Claybrook (keyboard), Tim Emrich (lead guitar), Christopher Early (horn) and Jamie Claybrook (sound). The band is finished out by two security officers, Jim Rich and Bill Redmon. Both are retired police officers. And last but not least, Barry Early accompanies the group as Elvis.

Photo provided

The Bluegrass Blues Brothers perform around the area with an Elvis impersonator, Barry Early.

“We perform with Elvis almost every show,” said Rich. “We are The Bluegrass Blues Brothers featuring Elvis. The reason we call ourselves The Bluegrass Blues Brothers is because we are from the Bluegrass State.”
Onstage “we do a full Blues Brothers Tribute Act, featuring an Elvis tribute,” Rich said. The Blues Brothers show consists of singing, dancing and comedy; Elvis wears the traditional white jumpsuit and blue suede shoes and hands out scarves. The band plays ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s music. “The Show Band is a show within itself,” he said.
The Bluegrass Blues Brothers have performed with Elvis for the last three years. Barry Early has been performing as Elvis for five years. “Barry entered a karaoke contest in Charlestown, Ind. He borrowed the white jumpsuit from a friend and then purchased it when he started singing with the owner’s band.”
The Project Guild has rented space at CityPlace this year for all of the entertainment “because we won’t have the Courthouse lawn,” said Victoria Motyka, co-chair for entertainment. Project Guild asks that people bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on if they plan to stay for any of the entertainment that will take place on The Plaza Lawn.
“We will have back-to-back entertainment. All acts will be outside and on a stage. People are welcome to sit on the lawn,” she said. This is being done also to comply with social distancing in the wake of COVID.
Of the 150 booths that will be set up that day, about 20 booths will be inside Pavilion 1 at CityPlace, said booth chairperson Kenda Pruitt. Booths will be set up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CityPlace and other locations in town.
The majority of booths will be on Main Street from Third to Walnut, and on Walnut from Jefferson to Washington, said Pruitt. “They will be set up like a ‘T’ and not on the lawn of the Courthouse,” she said, since the lawn should be fenced off by then for construction.
Booths will be filled with the usual assortment of “a little bit of everything,” Pruitt said. Everything from artisans, local community groups and organizations, churches, home improvement items, Baptist Health and local farms will be represented. “We will have an eclectic mix.”
Several food trucks will be on hand and lined up on Washington Street instead of their usual spot across from DeHaven Baptist Church. Returning favorites will include caramel corn, lemonade and the Comfy Cow. “Plus, there are more food choices with all the restaurants on Main Street,” she said. “Things will just not be in their usual spots.”
Motyka said that the Bluegrass Blues Brothers had originally been scheduled for last year’s Oldham County Day. “They have ties to Crestwood and a love for Oldham County.”
The entertainment lineup for the day also includes Dance Louisville. Owner Brian Barakauskas is a five-time world champion dancer. As a professional dance instructor, he has taught in 22 countries.
Emily Larson, studio manager, said “Brian has been dancing for 25 years. He got hooked after walking into a country bar, and from there has travelled the world competing and teaching professionally. He and his current professional partner presently run one of the biggest online dance companies for the style, West Coast Swing, and have recently launched other online websites for various styles including country and ballroom as well.”
Larson will be performing with her professional partner, Ben Howard. She began dancing when she was 3 years old and received a degree in dance from the University of Texas, Austin. She started teaching and competing professionally 15 years ago.
Larson said, “We’ve never been a part of Old County Day, but we’re honored to be asked this year.”      Many of the studio’s students live in Oldham County.

Photo provided

Brian Barakauskas, Dance Louisville owner, is posed in center with his team, including Emily Larson at far right.

For that day, “we will be doing a group line dance performance, followed by a line dance lesson, and then I believe two of the instructors will be performing one of their professional routines,”
The Ladies for Liberty will sing to Grand Marshal Howard Griffin during their performance time. The Ladies are a singing troupe dedicated to performing the Andrews Sisters style of music. They have performed at any number of patriotic functions, many in Oldham County, including air shows, Big Band Dances, Veteran’s Celebrations and Armed Forces Functions.
A returning staple to Oldham County Day will be the Living Statues, a pair of live mannequins, who will be stationed at different locations. “The Living Statues have been part of Oldham County Day for a very long time,” said Motyka.
Members of the XALT circus performers will entertain with their acrobatic skills. The company was founded by owner Terri Kendall to train aerials and perform at such events as Oldham County Day.
Additional entertainment includes the Oldham County Community Band, a staple for Oldham County Day. They will be performing at CityPlace, 112 S. First St. Children’s games will be located on the La Grange Christian Church Lawn.
Several acts will be located at Elsie’s Porch at The Victorian Inn on Main Street. Set to perform here are Boogie Down Crew Dance Team, pianist Valerie Keller and soloist Jimmy Roberts.
The La Grange Railroad Museum will be “participating by being open throughout the day,” said Bob Hamilton, the organization’s treasurer. Plans are still being finalized, but volunteers hope to have an ice cream truck on the grounds. The museum will be open (no charge), and antique engines may be on display by the local Antique Iron Club, or another entertainment act will be located at the historic train depot.
Traditionally, the City of La Grange plays host to its annual concert the night before Oldham County Day. Tentative plans call for The Allen Lane Band to play from 7-10 p.m. at the La Grange Square Parking lot, said Mayor John Black. “We are hopeful the whole family will show up with their lawn chairs in tow,” and also enjoy the many food options along Main Street, he said.
“We are also planning on having a “La Grange Has Got Talent Show” to start at 6 p.m. They will be given 4-5 minutes to try to impress the judges. The Allen Lane Band will immediately follow the show.”

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