By ERIC BERNSEE
What began in 2010 as a day of music and fun to celebrate Almost Home's 20th anniversary has grown into a community event now billed as the Greencastle Music Fest.
The third annual program is scheduled for 3-11 p.m. Saturday on the north and east sides of the courthouse square in Greencastle.
After last year's event, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of Dave's Heating and Cooling, several business people approached Smith and asked to be part of continuing the music fest.
"In branding the event," she said, "it's not Almost Home's music festival, it's Greencastle Music Fest.
"I'm more like the host now," she says, explaining that York Automotive will be the main sponsor this year in celebration of the car dealership's 25th anniversary. "It's really not about me, it's about the community, and I'm really happy about that.
"It's gone over so well," Smith added, "and people have had such a great time, they want to be a part of it."
Headley Hardware is also a major sponsor, including underwriting the appearance of Lee Smith, the former major league relief-pitching star most known for his eight years as the Chicago Cubs' closer and his 478 career saves. Gail met Lee during one of her annual visits to the Cubs' Convention in Chicago.
Lee Smith will be making an appearance at the event, signing autographs from 3-4 p.m. and again 6:30-8:30 p.m. (one item per person). The pitcher will have baseballs and photos for sale that he will sign as well.
Other Greencastle Music Fest sponsors include First Financial Bank, National Center for College Costs (Dave and Mayor Sue Murray), Cyclone Custom Products (Brian and Cinder Hayden) and Almost Home.
Bands performing on the Greencastle Music Fest stage Saturday will be:
-- The MacDaddys, an acoustic band from Terre Haute fronted by David Hunt (who will emcee the program as well), playing at 3:30 p.m.
-- Phillip Stevens and the Open Road Band, a country band that includes Greencastle's Steve St. Pierre, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
-- Ellusion, a Terre Haute-based rock group that has frequented the Swizzle Stick stage previously, starting at 7:30 p.m.
-- The Flying Toasters, an Indianapolis group of "Bob and Tom Show" fame, headlining with music from the '70s to present in a set from 9:30-11 p.m.
The venue will move inside the Swizzle Stick at 11 p.m. as War Radio provides live music in the bar until 2 a.m.
Festivities also include two corn hole tournaments. A 10-team tourney for local businesses begins at 4 p.m. with a top prize of $500.
An individual tourney begins at 6:30 with the first 20 teams registering 3-6 p.m. eligible for a top prize of $300. Cost is $20 per team.
While all the music is free, food and drinks will be available for sale.
Dixie BBQ will be set up on the square 3-10 p.m. Almost Home will be selling its award-winning strawberry pizza, while the Greencastle Civic League will be selling soft drinks and water from 3-10 p.m. with all proceeds going toward its splash park project.
Almost Home will be serving inside until 9:30 and the Swizzle Stick will be open as well. A beer garden is also planned by Almost Home.
Smith has again received a noise waiver from the City of Greencastle to allow outdoor music until 11 p.m. Saturday. She also got approval for street closures on the east and north sides of the square.
Meanwhile, Smith expressed thanks to the Farmers Market for moving to the east side of the square for this Saturday's effort so that the music festival could be set up on the north side.
She's also been assured that facade work on her buildings will be put on hold for the weekend with no scaffolding left in place on the Franklin Street sidewalk. That was certainly music to her ears.
Smith remains unfazed through it all.
"Who'd have thought that a week before the festival they'd tear the front off my building?" she smiled.