Tag Archives: Mandy Wolf Detwiler


Good for What Ale’s Ya

Fest of Ale brings 100 breweries, beer aficionados to New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater

Story by Mandy Wolf Detwiler | Photos by Danny Alexander

If you’re a Kentuckiana beer connoisseur or just plain like a pint or two on a hot day, there are fewer places to enjoy a brew than the Fest of Ale at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater. Now in it’s 12th year, the event not only brings together more than 100 breweries with beer fans, it also raises money for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

This year’s Fest of Ale will be held 3 to 7 p.m. June 3 at the amphitheater. Hosted by Keg Liquors, there will be more than 250 craft and imported beers to sample. Keg Liquors owner Todd Antz is the son of a Jeffersonville firefighter who spent plenty a day raising money for the Crusade for Children. Looking for his own way to help, Antz spearheaded Fest of Ale more than a decade ago, which raised more than $16,000 for the Crusade in 2016.


“Last year was our first year at the New Albany amphitheater,” Antz says. “That was a huge change from us over where we had held it in Clarksville before. Just that setting of the river in the background (and) there was so much open space that we were able to set up and use. We’ve learned from that first year.”

Don’t expect random guys pouring small tastes of ales. Representatives from breweries big and small will be on-hand to field questions and talk about their offerings.

“We have over a hundred different breweries represented, and we’re one of the few beer fests in the area that I’ve seen actually brings in the majority of the actual brewery employees themselves,” Antz says. “Through the event and my stores, we’ve just established good relationships spectrum, whether it’s people just getting into good beer, or you’re a hardcore person who’s knee-deep in good beer.”

There will also be a small sampling of vino available.

“We usually have eight to 20 different wineries there,” Antz added. “There will be a good combination of local and national wineries represented. We get as much as we can locally, but then some of my distributors actually come in and pour different wineries as well too.”

Live music will also keep the event, well, hopping. Food trucks are available.

“We suggest to people that you’ve eaten a good lunch before you come out. We see many people make that mistake,” Antz laughs. “Keep well hydrated. It’s not a sprint, and it’s not drink-as-much-as-you-can. I tell people to be choosy. There’s more beer there than any one person can make it through. Look for (beers) you haven’t had before, or experiment with a style you might not have tried before. With 250 different beers available, there’s something there for everybody. I always try to push people outside of their comfort zone.”


No one under the age of 21 may enter the event, and designated drivers are encouraged and enter free of charge, but are not permitted to sample. Volunteers at the event will also call a taxi service if needed. Fest of Ale is handicapped accessible.

New this year is a shuttle service in conjunction with Mellow Mushroom, which is located in Louisville. For an extra $15 per person, attendees will be shuttled back and forth from the pizzeria’s two locations in the Highlands and on Shelbyville Road.

Tickets to the Fest of Ale are $40 in advance or $50 on site. The event will be held rain or shine. To purchase, visit Keg Liquors at 617 E. Lewis & Clark Pkwy. in Clarksville or at 4304 Charlestown Road in New Albany. Tickets may also be bought online at www.kegliquors.com.

Inside Scoop on Abbey Road on the River Tickets


Ultimate Ticket to Ride

If you’re a true fan of 60s music, you’ll want to spend every minute at Abbey Road on the River, which comes to Jefferonsville May 25 to May 29. The Ultimate Ticket to Ride tickets will give you access to the festival every day Thursday through Monday. The very best ticket, you’ll be able to see all concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Peter Asher, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia and The Family Stone. The Ultimate Ticket to Ride enables you to have reserved seats in rows 2 through 11 after 6 p.m. plus all-day access to the air conditioned indoor venue, 300 Spring, as well as all late-night activities.

Cost for the Ultimate Ticket to Ride is $219.95 for adults (plus all applicable fees) and $79 for kids under 21.

Note: If you purchase the Ultimate Ticket to Ride package, you’ll get a 20 percent VIP discount at participating merchants. See the list at GoSoIN.com/abbey-road.

Exclusive Saturday Main Event and Backstage Meet and Greet

If you want guaranteed front-row seats, the Saturday Main Event package is for you. Front row seating begins at 5 p.m. for Mark Lindsay and includes all concerts for the rest of the evening at the Main Stage including The Grass Roots, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and The Family Stone.

6:15-7 p.m. Meet the artists backstage, including Peter Asher, Peter Noone and Mark Lindsay.

Then head back to your seats for shows featuring The Grass Roots, Peter Noone and The Family Stone.

Single Day Reserved

If you can only stay for a day or two, you might want single-day reserved seating tickets. These are valid Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and include all concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Peter Asher, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia, and The Family Stone. These tickets will give you access to the reserved seats in rows 12 through 30, which are available after 6 p.m., and all-day access to air conditioned indoor venue 300 Spring and late-night activities. Single Day Reserved Seats are theater style and are sold on a first come, first served basis. The on-site box office will exchange your ticket for a reserved section special wristband.

General Admission

General admission tickets are available and give you access to all outdoor concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia and The Family Stone on Saturday; Ambrosia on Friday; Jake Clemons and The Love Concert on Sunday. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. General admission seating will be behind reserved sections, where applicable. Lawn chairs and blanket seating.

Discounted general admission tickets are available for purchase at all area Thornton’s for just $20 (regular price is $35) and they include free admission for a 21 and under guest.

Dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Splish Splash

Home of the Innocent’s public diaper dip makes a splash with kids, parents 

Story by Mandy Wolf Detwiler | Photos by David Harrison

Baby swim classes have changed quite a bit since I was featured on a section cover of the daily newspaper in my birthday suit some 40 years ago jumping into a YMCA pool and swimming to the side at just six months old.

There are a number of public and private swim classes for babies through adults in Kentuckiana, but Home of the Innocents’ Baby Splash classes may come as a surprise offering to some parents. In fact, the Home offers a number of public service events and classes, making the center much more than a facility for at-risk and convalescent children.

The Baby Splash classes began in 2013 as a way to help maintain the Home of the Innocents’ indoor swimming pool. Benjamin Snyder, who serves as the director of the Kay and Jim Morrissey Advanced Therapy Center, initially found himself heading up the swim classes, working days and weekends. He eventually talked his mother, B.J. Snyder, who has 40 years in aquatics, into diving in and helping teach the classes. Today, it serves nearly 100 students, with kids enrolled through the end of the year.


“This program is very particular,” Snyder said, watching a group of tiny tots cling to the side of the indoor swimming pool, each flanked by a parent. “It’s a mixture of ISR, which is a survival swimming program, but we also teach them how to swim. Those are incorporated. With ISR, there are typically no parents in the pool, just the little one and the instructor, and they work on life or death skills. It can be kind of jarring at times. We really focus on happy, healthy kind of learning. There’s a little bit of play mixed in, but we do focus on the skills, primarily.”

The first level is split into two groups by age, and there are just “12 students per class because it allows our instructor to move around more freely,” said Snyder. Classes start for children as early as five months old.

“Level two is less age-dependent and more skill-dependent,” Snyder explained. “As they really start to grasp the skills from level one and two and so on and so forth, they’ll move up to the next level.”

By the time the children advance to level four, their parents are no longer needed. With just four children in the pool, they have more one-on-one time with the instructor. “They’ll work on things like stroke development, stamina and it’s almost like junior swim-team prep. They start to develop their ability to swim the length of the pool.”

The last five minutes of the Baby Splash class is devoted to playtime because “the littlest ones, they usually only remember the last five minutes,” Snyder said. “If you make it playtime, they’re going to want to come back.”

B.J. Snyder says drown-proofing skills are among the most critical for babies and children. According to the CDC, accidental drowning accounts for one in five deaths in children ages 14 and younger. “The younger they are when they start, the easier it is to teach them,” she said. “I’ve been teaching for 42 years, and I’m a big proponent of starting as young as you can. We are teaching the babies that when they fall into the water, to turn around and go back.”


Also important is teaching the children how to jump into a body of water and swim to the side without the aid of the parents. It’s as much teaching the parents how to deal with such situations as it is conditioning the babies to float and return to the side of the pool unaided.

“Usually within two sessions, they’ve picked up the drowning skills,” B.J. Snyder said. By their second sign-up, the children are working on “doggy paddling.”

After the age of five, children have the opportunity to sign up for private swim lessons.

“The most common calls I get are ‘We live next to X body of water. Either a pool or a pond or there’s a lake nearby and they’re starting to run. We want to be able to know that they have at least some skill,” Benjamin Snyder explained.

The younger children start in the water being held by their parents and participating in circle time. “They go under water for the first time, and we give them a nice, loud verbal ‘One, two, three!’ We blow in the center of the face, and they have an instinct to then hold their breath. It’s really pretty adorable,” he said. “Then you dip them down and bring them right back up. You’re not letting go, they’re not going all the way down to the bottom – it’s just a quick dip and it gets them used to the feeling.

“Since it’s a 92-degree saltwater therapy pool, it’s an easier transition for them. They’re used to a sink or a tub for their baths, but the open water can be very intimidating for them. When it’s open (and) when you’re there with a parent, all those things bring a certain level of comfort.”

The Kay and Jim Morrissey Advanced Therapy Center was added to the Home of the Innocents in 2010 to aid medically fragile children and those at the pediatric convalescence center. Those children had been visiting another pool in the area, but transportation and the difficulty of dressing made a local pool a luxury addition.

“The concept was deemed for this facility and it was built within a relatively short amount of time, and it’s beautiful,” Snyder said. The water temperature is kept at 92 degrees, “and it’s all catered to children with special consideration,” Snyder added. “We have a wheelchair ramp that goes all the way down into the water. We have aquatic wheelchairs here that you can transfer into. (A chair lift) was actually custom built for us … and we have one floating ventilator here, and it’s one of the only ones that we know of. We have swim time at least once a week for kids on trachs and vents. During that time, we clear out the facility from everyone else. We can’t really have them splashing or the turbulence. It’s really fulfilling to see kids who would normally never be near water with a little floating ventilator near them moving around.”

The public Baby Splash swim classes help pay for the upkeep of the pool and the instructors, but they also give kids the confidence to eventually swim on their own. The majority of Baby Splash class participants learn about the program through word of mouth, like Cara Mutka and her daughter, four-year-old Eleanor, who joined the class with fellow swimmers Allison and Maura Bryant, who had already taken one session at Home of the Innocents. The two friends hopped around on the tiled sidelines waiting for their turn with B.J. Snyder, and the allure of the water proved just a little too great as the two girls dipped their toes in and giggled.

“I like kicking!” exclaimed Eleanor (Maura was dancing at the time). Mutka says the lessons have helped give her daughter confidence on family vacations to the beach.swim3

“I think this one just likes wearing her bathing suit,” Bryant laughed, keeping a close eye on Maura nearby. “I think (it’s important) for just basic survival skills. I think we both do quite a bit of swimming either at the beach or at the pools during summertime. The teacher is phenomenal. She’s patient.”

“I think the most exposure they have to water the better off they are and will be down the line so they’re not scared,” Mutka added.

Maura, having already taken a full session of classes, was more confident last summer around water. “Even going under the water, which I was a little nervous about at first,” Bryant said. “She has them blow on their face and dunk them under, and she’s fine with it.”

Baby Splash classes are held year-round and have been filled consistently beginning early in the program.

“People know about the Home of the Innocents, but they don’t know about all the services we offer,” Benjamin Snyder said. “And they certainly don’t know that we have a pool that’s open to the public.

“We are completely non-profit. The proceeds for this program go to the instructor and generally to keep the equipment, to keep providing programming for our residents here – not only our medically fragile residents but we have residents from abandoned, abused and neglected homes. There are kids that might not have any mental or physical considerations but they are here, so we provide this space to them, we have a gymnasium – anything that comes to us gets rolled right back into other programming.”

Baby Splash Classes

For more information about the Home of the Innocents’ Baby Splash classes, visit www.homeoftheinnocents.org or call 502. 596.1143. Cost is $55 for 5 classes and begins at 5 months of age.