October 21, 2019
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Why We Love This Town

The 1891-built Joan Marchand Bridge was recently restored, painted bright red, and converted into an Ohio River overlook.

We love Evansville like a hopeless romantic, and the reasons we love this city are more than landmarks and attractions. We love our accent, brain sandwiches, and the West and East Side rivalry. We just love us, and you should, too.

Cute Cats

On Sept. 22, 2009, two new female cubs, Zimba and Maya, were welcomed into the world. They were the cute offspring of Beliza and Cuxtal, the jaguars inside Amazonia, Mesker Park Zoo’s newest rain forest attraction (1545 Mesker Park Drive, www.meskerparkzoo.com). The sisters are part of a national program to breed threatened or endangered species. That’s good news, but we love the girls because they are downright adorable — for now.

Dragon Tales

Each June, crewmembers paddle their rented dragon boats — canoe-like vessels with carved dragons’ heads for prows — 300 meters across Eagle Crest Lake to a flag perched on a buoy. Agile members of the boats’ crews, known as flag catchers, climb atop the dragons’ heads and snatch their flags to end the race. This event, known as Dragons on the Ohio for when it began on the river in 2006, has grown every year. At the end of 2009, organizers purchased two dragon boats for the 2010 race (June 5).

Fiddler Fetish

A recipe for a catfish fiddler: Chop the head off a catfish, dip it in batter, deep-fry it, and serve it nearly intact with bones, fins, and the tail. The origin of the fiddler has more questions than answers. (Where did the dish come from? Why is it called a “fiddler”? Why is it so darn good?) The latter question can be answered, actually. The grease gives the catfish an even brown color and a corny, crispy shell that crunches like a tortilla chip. Find fiddlers at Dogtown Tavern (6201 Old Henderson Road), Knob Hill Tavern (1016 State St., Newburgh, Ind.), and Haub House (206 N. Main St., Haubstadt, Ind.).

Admirable Accent

We live on the Ohio River’s north bank, which geographically means we are in Yankee country. That’s a fact. Check it out on Google Maps. When standing on the Downtown Riverfront, however, we can plainly see Kentucky — a mere five-minute drive for many Evansvillians. This dichotomy’s given us our unique accent: a blend of Yankee cool and Southern charm.

Courthouse Catacombs

Phil Wolter’s job site is haunted, and his employees are a bloodthirsty clan of vampires. Every fall, the full-time haunted-house designer transforms Evansville’s most recognizable Downtown landmark, the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse, into the “Olde Courthouse Catacombs” (www.oldcatacombs.com). The dirt floors and vaulted ceilings are creepy on their own, but Wolter’s elaborate sets, live actors, and smart storylines intensify the setting even more.

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