Louisville has many events that are on every tourist’s lists of things to do, but then there are the things that only the locals know about. Today marks another year for one of those things. I present to you The Dainty Contest.
Now in its 44th year, The Dainty Contest has always attracted many people to the corner of Goss and Hoertz Avenues for a game you must see to understand.
In layman’s terms, participants use one stick to hit another stick and the winner is whoever hits the stick the farthest.
But that explanation leaves out all the magic of the event.
The Dainty Contest occurs right beside Hauck’s Handy Store (1000 Goss Avenue) and the elderly Mr. Hauck has a front row seat to the show. The event is held as a fundraiser for the Little Sisters of the Poor. They too are seated on the sidewalk.
You’ll be fed with a Germantown/Schnitzelburg staple lunch: a handmade bologna sandwich, chips, and a dill pickle.
Now onto the rules of the game. The Dainty consists of a 3-feet long stick tapered at one end and a 5-inch stick tapered on both ends. The name of the game is to place one hand behind your back and strike the shorter stick that is lying on the ground with the longer stick, making it airborne. While it is still in the air, the participant makes contact again, trying to hit the smaller stick as far as he or she can.
Each player is entitled to three tips of the dainty. He or she gets one hit. Curbs are out of bounds and the dainty cannot be tied up. The winner (with the longest hit) gets a trophy and bragging rights for a year.
Players must be 45 years of age or older to compete.
Many elected officials participate in The Dainty Contest to show their support for this neighborhood and the people of the area.
Tony Lindauer, Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator and 2008 Dainty World Champion, said, “Getting the dainty off the ground, and then the hand-eye coordination is most difficult.”
Other participants this year include mayor Greg Fischer, 10th District Metro Councilman Jim King, retired congressman Ron Mazzoli, Congressman John Yarmuth, and State Rep. Jim Wayne.
Over the years, some people have mastered the art of hitting the dainty, while others can only hit it a few inches. The individual who makes the shortest hit gets a basket of lemons.
The Dainty Contest though is simply one of those Louisville neighborhood traditions that provides a little magic that you cannot understand unless you can experience.
Lindauer said, “The Dainty Contest is special because it’s a community event exclusive to the Germantown/Schnitzelburg neighborhood with bologna sandwiches, beer, and lots of laughs. Everyone eggs on their favorites and cheers if they actually get a hit, even if it only goes a few inches.”
The Dainty Contest takes place today, July 28, at the corner of Goss and Hoertz Avenues and starts at 5 p.m. Participants do not have to register ahead of time to participate.
Photo courtesy of Germantown-Schnitzelburg community Facebook page.