27: Louisville – The Milemarker, turned Destination

Looavul, Luhvul, Looaville, and Looeyville. The pronunciation changes depending on the state and accent but all point to the same place; Louisville. I’ve passed through this city numerous times with every trip to Georgia, Bonnaroo, and once while getting lost on our way to Panama City Beach for college spring break.

Lesson/Statement 62: If I’m lucky, Panama City Beach will NOT make it into this blog.

As I drove down I-75 South with two of my closest friends, Sam and Caitlin, I realized this was the first time Louisville was a destination rather than a mile marker. I graduated college fortunate enough not only have more than a few best friends, but some that deemed me sane and appropriate enough to involve in their weddings. Sororities will do that to you.

This is my eighth wedding in three years and the first time my life didn’t get in the way of a bachelorette party. Sam worked too many hours at the hospital to get a gift before the drive, Caitlin was an experienced procrastinator and I just have a really short memory; I forgot (sorry Kendra Face). So after stopping for gifts and coffee fuel, we were ready for downtown Louisville. The drive from Cincinnati to Louisville was beautiful with vibrantly green rolIing hills and farm animals every seven of so miles. It’s scenery like this that reminds me why I love the Midwest/The South, and also why I’ve always wanted to go cow tipping.

Me, Sam and Cait arrived and met most of the girls, excluding Kendra and another sorority sister Colleen, for the first time. All ten of us were split between two rooms, half of us knowing Kendra, the bride-to-be, from college, and the other half knowing her from her hometown. This made us all immediate, adopted friends.

First we went to lunch at Bluegrass Brewing Company where we had delicious local brews and a hearty lunch. We entered the restaurant and immediately descended a few stairs while passing a larger than life-sized female pirate statue that faced a wooden bar, with dark wood flooring.

The half underground set up was supposed to give the feeling of being in the belly of a ship, and given it was a Saturday afternoon, the place already had a great crowd. After catching up, making jokes, and filling each side in on the version of Kendra we were familiar with, we scurried back to the hotel to get ready and play games.

To my fortune, as we trolled the streets of Louisville to get a taste of the environment we realized that we’d in fact wandered into the city during Comic Con. I have never been more disappointed that I didn’t have a Katana costume ready than at this exact moment. Cosplay is a very serious and beautiful thing.

louu

After fangirling over the amazing Chewbacca and Deadpool costumes and getting back to the hotel we played games, had drinks, ate cake, did each other’s hair, and listened to terribly awesome 2000’s rap music. We walked out of the hotel in all black (my favorite) and headed toward Fourth Street Live, which by popular demand was the top of everyone’s list.

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Earlier that day we’d heard that Taking Back Sunday was in town but, without knowing when or where, we put the info in a file cabinet of “would’ve been cool but oh well”. The streets on the way to Fourth were littered with few people, which made me question how popular the bars would be tonight. Once we were in view of the area and heard live music playing, we immediately knew why; Taking Back Sunday was in fact playing AT Fourth Street, outside, for free.

Here’s a quick backstory on why this is significant.  Eight years ago when I started college, …wait, excuse me. I need a minute because I just realized I started college eight years ago.

Insert dramatic pause [cue tear]..

Okay, however many years ago when I started college I met Kendra and Colleen. I fell in love with them and our similar tastes in music. We bought tickets to a Blink 182 and Taking Back Sunday concert; we were beyond stoked for it. DJ AM, that guy that dated Nicole Richie, died. DJ AM was best friends with Travis Barker. Travis Barker is the drummer of Blink 182. His funeral was on the day of our concert. Buzzkill! Sad and RIP and he was an awesome DJ, but buzzkill (maybe buzzkill isn’t the right word…). The concert was later rescheduled but due to a scheduling conflict Taking Back Sunday was replaced with Fall Out Boy. Bigger buzzkill. I never got to see Taking Back Sunday.

Fast forward and I’m with Kendra and Colleen and we just so happened to stumble onto a, I repeat, free Taking Back Sunday concert. The stars aligned.

[Cue second tear]

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We entered the venue from behind the stage down a narrow walkway that was bordered by a fence keeping all the head bangers on the inside as we casually head nodded ourselves and stood 20 feet from the stage. Instructed that we in fact could not stay in the walkway, we went into one of the nearest stage facing bars and watched from a doorway only ten feet further.

Fourth Street was set up like Universal City Walk in L.A., if you’ve ever been to either, minus the shopping and more bars. If you haven’t been it looks like this:

–       It isn’t so much a street but more of an outside collection of several restaurants/bars.
–       All the bars line the area and face each other, most having open front patios
–       There’s an escalator toward the middle that leads you upstairs to even more bars
–       Upstairs has a ledge the faces out like a large balcony toward the entrance so you can people watch from above, or in this case, watch the outside venues that take place on the temporary stage.

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The night itself was incredibly amazing. We danced, there was a mechanical bull involved, I had local street food (twice), danced with someone dressed in a Pokémon costume, bonded with the lovely girls I didn’t know, and re-bounded with the amazing women I already did know. This blogpost talked equally about Louisville as it did the people I adventured it with. Though some posts tend to be activity heavy, it’s the souls and personalities you encounter along the way and involve in your journeys that make the experience so much more memorable.

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