Tracy Heightchew is a proud resident of Schnitzelburg, an oft-overlooked neighborhood that bumps up against its close-as-family neighbors, Germantown and St. Joseph. For outsiders (who like a cold one), think of the distinction this way: Germantown is where youâ€™ll find The Nachbar; Schnitzelburg is home to Checkâ€™s Cafe, and St. Joseph is where Zanzabar and the New Vintage are. Heightchew, a beloved community leader, told me about this yearâ€™s ninth annual Shotgun Fest, that celebration of all things in that community there. The festival takes place this Saturday, September 19, between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Find all the fun â€“ including shopping for records, art, glass, crafts, plants, beer and more â€“ at Eiderdown.
Hello, Tracy. Could you please tell me all about this yearâ€™s Shotgun Fest?
Shotgun Fest is a neighborhood party put together for folks to wander off their porches and down to the show to enjoy some music, have a brat and see their neighbors. Itâ€™s another year of great music, with Louisvilleâ€™s rudest, weirdest band â€“Rude Weirdo â€“ headlining an eclectic lineup of Germantown-based bands. Weâ€™ll have food trucks and, of course, beer. We will be at Eiderdown for the first time this year, so youâ€™ll have a chance to sample their menu while perusing the artwork and wares for sale and enjoy a few songs with your neighbors. This year, the festival was made possible by a special fund from (the late Councilman) Jim Kingâ€™s family made available to the German-Paristown Neighborhood Association. Jim King was always an avid fan of Shotgun Fest, so we are grateful for this sign of support from his family.
Did you start the festival? How has it grown through the years?
I started this fest in 2007 with my best friend, Tandee Ogburn, in conjunction with the German-Paristown Neighborhood Association. That was only a couple of years into the changes that Germantown has undergone to becoming the hot development it is now. Since that first block party, we have had the festival at four different locations and, in the last few years, have partnered with the fine folks at Nachbar. This year, we will have a change of scenery and will move the fest down the street to Eiderdown, Nachbarâ€™s sister restaurant. We have seen our popularity grow each year, and I can say I am most proud of the lai-back and fun atmosphere of the day. Itâ€™s the unforced nature of the event that makes it a fan favorite.
How do you feel about all the changes and growth in the neighborhood recently?
Itâ€™s exciting to see what new businesses and neighbors are coming to the neighborhood and the possibilities for growth that will come with them. But with all development comes anxiety that old ways of doing things will be edged out by newcomers. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to support popular neighborhood events like Schnitzelburg Walk and Shotgun Fest â€“ so that the neighborhood spirit can be kept alive.
What else does the greater Germantown area need?
We need more coffee choices. Really. Especially along Goss Ave. Indian food would be incredible. Breakfast is seeping in, finally, but a greasy spoon diner would be heaven-sent.
My buddy Larry lives in Clifton. Is it cool if he comes?
Larry is more than welcome to attend, but he may want to find a neighborhood couch to crash on! VT
Live music schedule for Saturday:
3 p.m. â€“ Brenda / 4 p.m. – American Freedom Machine / 5 p.m. – Andy Matter and Ten Wet Dollars / 6 p.m. – Heat Machine / 7 p.m. â€“ IAMIS / 8 p.m. – Rude Weirdo
Photos Courtesy of Tracy Heightchew