First Friday to dish up salsa contest, Phillip Steven & Open Road

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hot town, summer in the city, and it's getting down to the nitty gritty. That means it must be time for another First Friday event.

Hot salsa, some hot licks from the Phillip Steven and The Open Road Show and expected warm temperatures are all on tap for Friday, Sept. 5 on the north side of the Putnam County Courthouse Square in Greencastle.

The second annual Putnam County Salsa Tasting Contest, sponsored by Main Street Greencastle, has at least 15 contestants lined up for Friday's 6 p.m. judging with more expected to sign up. They have until Wednesday to do so, organizer Tami Van Rensselaer reported.

Not only will the salsa makers be competing for cash prizes but the public can taste their creations and help select the Peoples' Pick (and its $100 cash prize).

For a $10 entry fee, the tasting public will get a souvenir event T-shirt and a chance to sample all the Putnam County salsas available this Friday evening -- hot, mild, fruit/specialty, spicy, green, red, whatever.

Tasters will pay to play on Friday. Salsa makers can enter by calling 653-2474 or going online at

Gary Lemon of DePauw University will serve as emcee for the contest with USI professor and food connoisseur Rick Barcus, Autumn Glen chef Mike Garcia and Myers' Market butcher Robert Britton as judges.

Last year more than two dozen salsa makers competed in the First Friday contest.

Salsa contest sponsors are Myers' Market, Eitel's & Co. Florists, 25/7 Consulting, Game Warehouse, WynWay Technologies, Clint Cooper/Carpenter Realtors, Autumn Glen, Dick's Barber Shop, Monical's Pizza, Sutherlin and Zeiner attorneys and Green Street Residential Maintenance.

Also contributing items or materials for the event are Taylor Graphics, Almost Home, Headley Hardware, McDonald's, Don Julio Mexican Restaurant and Endeavor Communications.

After the salsa contest, Phillip Steven and The Open Road will take the stage on the north side of the courthouse at 7 p.m.

The band has been playing a high-energy brand of country music for several years, covering the broad spectrum that country is today with harmonies like Restless Heart, Alabama and Ricochet or current classics like Brad Paisley, Montgomery Gentry and Travis Tritt ... and grand ol' country like Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr. and George Jones.

Phillip Steven and The Open Road have performed shows with such national recording artists as Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, Rodney Adkins, Sammy Kershaw, Patty Loveless, Billy Dean, Confederate Railroad, Ricochet, Trent Tomlinson and more.

Of course, First Friday will involve more than just music and salsa.

Music on the Square (DePauw's community music venture at 21 N. Indiana St.) will offer a musical instrument "petting zoo" and drum circles for some real hands-on involvement, while Putnam County United Way will continue its campaign kickoff with the party bus making a stop on Indiana Street during the event.

Others planning booths for Friday are Pap's Creations, Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce, North Putnam County Girl Scouts, Putnam County Photography Club and Greencastle Rotary Club.

Almost Home will be serving its monthly barbecue favorites as well.

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  • I think it would be great if all downtown or locally owned restaurants would offer food at First Friday. An area for food trucks and smokers for BBQ would also be welcome.

    "Food Truck Friday" -- see the link -- is every Friday in Indianapolis. It might be fun to add additional food options/food trucks to the First Friday events in Greencastle.

    -- Posted by mrp55 on Sun, Aug 30, 2015, at 10:27 PM
  • Yummmy! I can't wait to taste them all!

    -- Posted by DEPAUW11 on Mon, Aug 31, 2015, at 12:52 PM
  • Who does first friday really benefit when it comes down to it

    -- Posted by canttakeitanymore on Tue, Sep 1, 2015, at 7:31 AM
  • Fun activities and events benefit all residents. I love living in a town where there are so many wonderful things to do with my Greencastle neighbors.

    -- Posted by localmom44 on Tue, Sep 1, 2015, at 1:26 PM
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