Haynie’s Corner will be the scene of a major festival for the next few days, with a lot of sand! It’s Tiki Week and it started Thursday.
Eyewitness News’ Brad Byrd spoke with Scott Schymik and Moriah Rose about the event.
Brad Byrd: Welcome to In Depth: It has been a part of the Evansville landscape from the very beginning. Rich in history and fraught at one time with decline and crime, withering on the vine. But no more. Haynie’s Corner is in the middle of a renaissance. During the next few days it will be the scene of a major festival with a unique twist – some sand, make that a lot of sand. It’s Tiki Week that started today. And joining me tonight is Scott Schymik, of Sauced, and Moriah Rose, of Mo’s House. Thank you for being with us tonight. 10 years ago, Haynie’s Corner – it’s future was much in doubt. Now, did you ever imagine it would be where it is today?
Scott Schymik: I didn’t think there’d be a sandbox out there – I’ll tell you that. Or a big beach.
Moriah Rose: We just said that on the way over here. Who would have ever thought?
Brad Byrd: And now what, about 11 or 12 bars and restaurants?
Moriah Rose: 6, 7 of us for sure. And hopefully more to come.
Brad Byrd: And both of you really had to take a chance. What was the catalyst that made you said I want to do this, but I want to do it here at Haynie’s Corner?
Moriah Rose: For me it was just such a welcoming place. I kind of started at Sauced with Scott – he took a chance with me, but it was super, super welcoming and I’ve kind of loved being down there. I’ve kind of been all over Evansville, but that was a place I felt right at home. And I feel like a lot of people kind of feel that way about the place. It’s just been, to me, a super welcoming place.
Brad Byrd: Scott, you’ve been there since what? About ’96?
Scott Schymik: Yea, we’re working on about 23 years now.
Brad Byrd: Ok, compare it now to then.
Scott Schymik: Sure. It was a dimly lit area, very scary to be around almost. We were bringing around some wedding receptions and things like that at a place called Kirby’s Private Dining back then. And now, it’s called the Ballroom at Sauced and we’re still doing that, but now, we’ve got what Mo said, 7 bars, 4 different restaurants – a very good vibe going on in this neighborhood.
Brad Byrd: Well, there are so many festivals in the Tri-State and they do a lot of good for the region in many ways. But this event Tiki Week is giving back – paying it forward. Tell me about kids, especially going into the school year.
Moriah Rose: It’s kind of like a kick back for going back to school for everybody and on Sunday, we’ll be doing a big give back to the EVSC Foundation – we’ve got a mini school bus to kind of ‘stock the bus’ is kind of the deal. For the entire week, all the restaurants and bars have kind of created a Tiki Week menu – any item ordered off that menu – 10% of the sales will go back into it. It kind of helps doing those Thanksgiving dinners that we put on and those Christmas giveaways and just keeps us doing neat stuff like these things.
Brad Byrd: And we just saw video of all that sand – 60 tons? How’d you pull that off?
Scott Schymik: 3 dump trucks full – Brian Wilderman is a genius is what happened. I mean he really does a great job; he bought nice barriers for it, brought in and coordinated the whole thing. 3 dump trucks later, we have a beach on the street.
Moriah Rose: And Funk in the City was the sponsor for the sandbox. They’ve been down there 18 plus years. They were a huge help.
Brad Byrd: Haynie’s Corner’s always considered an arts district, but it does not have the studios it use to have down there. Would you like to see that change, or where are we going forward on that?
Scott Schymik: Sure. Absolutely, we got one right now. 22 Jefferson, and we’re always looking to entice young artists to come down. That’s what Funk in the City is all about. That’s what First Friday is all about. We got more than 45 vendors for First Fridays, more than 80 for the Funk in the Cities. And that’s just trying to bring art down in the neighborhood and have these people think ‘You know, this is a very cool neighborhood. Good vide. Everything would be great if they had a studio down there.’
Brad Byrd: Right, and there were studios, but many of them left. How do you get those people back, Mo?
Moriah Rose: Just I think making it a destination place where people want to be and want to come be part of. That’s been a big part of it. People looking and finding a place that fits them. A lot of those houses and different things are coming up, and it may not be the right location for them. So, kind of waiting it out and figuring out their best spot for them may be the best thing to do.
Brad Byrd: It truly is a neighborhood now. Tell me about the people who live in Haynie’s Corner area.
Moriah Rose: Lots of young professionals.
Scott Schymik: Absolutely. There’s new people moving in all the time. Over the past 3 or 4 years, we’ve had at least 50 new constructions in the neighborhood or the surrounding neighborhood as well, and it’s younger professional and people who like to go have a good time in Haynie’s Corner.
Brad Byrd: Stronger connection now between Haynie’s Corner and downtown?
Moriah Rose: For sure. I feel like people are coming from all over. There’s always people walking. Most of our staff I feel lives close to down there or close so they can walk, and that’s for all the restaurants or different locations. It’s a lot of people that live there and can walk to Main or back down. 2nd Street has been a huge help for that and being open and being able to get easily from one to the next.
Brad Byrd: And Tiki Fest will run through Sunday. I just got one final question. You got all that sand down. How are you going to get it out of there? You just going to leave it there for awhile?
Scott Schymik: It’s going to go on Sunday.
Moriah Rose: Yes, Sunday it will be gone. So, Friday they’re doing a sandcastle competition. Saturday, we’re doing the survivor games that we’ll crown an ultimate survivor. And Sunday, it will be picked up and hauled out.
Brad Byrd: Well, the weather is cooperating especially with the last two weeks with so many festivals going on. So, Moriah Rose and Scott Schymik, thank so much for coming out and talking about this.
(This story was originally published on August 1, 2019)