The Origin of Milton’s Winter Solstice Tomfoolery Extravaganza

→ The word nonsense comes up a lot when Milton’s The Prospect Hill Tavern owner Kevin Feldman describes the bar’s annual Winter Solstice festivities. And while this city has its share of weird drinking-related holidays (you’ve been to Bockfest, yeah?), this one wins the prize. Specifically, a goat head scepter prize. Here, Feldman talks origin story, the Ancients, and that goat.

How’d it all get started? When Hurricane Ike hit [in 2008], we were down watching the fire [that started in OTR] at Grammer’s, and someone said Hey, the steeple down at 15th and Race just came down. So two of my friends and I went down to what is now Taft’s Ale House. We started to grab it, and the one plainclothes cop there’s like What are you doing?! Get away from there—there are power lines down! [My friend] got his truck—he’s dodging tree limbs—and we threw it in the back. He took off and we scattered. And we’re like, What are we gonna do with it now? So we drove it over to Moerlein’s brewery and chucked it in there. But how it came to be the nonsense that we do? I don’t know. I wish I remembered that. We’re always ones to celebrate nonsense in this bar. We revel in the absolute stupidity of life.

What happens at the solstice now? We invoke the memory of The Ancients, long since thought crushed ’neath the broad, jackbooted heel of monotheistic thuggery… We take this steeple and festoon it with lights and absolute haphazard disarray. Jon [Powell] gives his speech about the gift of Hurricane Ike. I’ll do my nonsense dressed in my Druid robes. And the drunkards are assembled and at the end I’ll say, Ancients, if you are present, please show us the light! And then, boom, there’s the light.

I recall a goat head. [Laughs] People just keep adding shit. It’s a very fluid, organic, do-what-you-want sort of thing. Every year the pictures all look kind of the same but they’re all really different. One year I asked people to bring lights and people brought living room lamps. The goat head scepter was a trophy from Bockfest, but there’s really no connection. It just is what it is. Just good, drunken revelry.

December 17, around 7 p.m.,

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