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Janesville's Rock Around the Block has something for everyone

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 31, 2009
— The sausage was unaware of who he was.

But he knew what he was drinking.


On Sunday afternoon, a few sausages and several thousand people turned out for Rock Around the Block in downtown Janesville.


The day-long event, which featured more than two dozen bands, family activities and food from local restaurants, was a success any way you looked at it.


By mid-afternoon, most of the downtown parking lots were full, with people cheerfully ignoring the “leased parking” signs.


The weather was perfect, the music was energizing and almost everyone was eating or drinking. (In Wisconsin, that’s a sure sign of happiness.)


It was hard to say whether the sausages were happy.


The sausages—the Klement’s Racing Sausages to be specific—were wandering through the crowd scaring some children and giving high fives to others.


When a large brownish sausage wearing a sombrero was asked which sausage he was, he paused and said, “I don’t know.”


When asked what he was drinking, he answered instantly: “Bud Light.”


The sausage that was with him was wearing a baseball uniform. He didn’t know his own name, either.


When asked was he was drinking, he said, “I ain’t drinking.”


Good for him. It just goes to show that a sausage can have a lot of fun without alcohol.


Another group that was having a lot of fun were the dancing banana girls from the Madison Elementary School PTA.


Taylor Lea, Paige Olson and Lauren Perry, all 10 years old and all in the fifth grade, were selling cotton candy. They all had bananas painted on their faces, and when asked—or when inspired—they would break into their banana song and dance routine.


It’s hard to describe, but the short routine was a cross between a poms routine and a Girl Scout camp song.


This was their second year at Rock Around the Block. Last year they came as spectators. Was this year better than last year?


“Probably, yeah,” Olson said. “It’s more fun to sell stuff.”


Just a block away, Team Electronics and Best Buy were sponsoring a Guitar Hero contest.


While the old people marveled at the evolution of technology, the young people just jammed away.


At the end of the day, Kyle Hauger, 14, won the contest with 303,111 points at the expert level. If the last video game you played was Asteroids, a little explanation is needed: 303,111 at the expert level is like reaching level 100 in Pac-Man.


Here’s the best part of Hauger’s win: For the last 30 seconds or so of his run, he put the guitar behind his neck and played it that way.


“Dude, you rule,” as the old people used to say in the 1980s.


Runner up was Charlie Palan, 16, with 176,588 points.


At the Battle of the Bands stage, Melodic Hex was getting insane with real instruments.


Dylan Peyer, lead singer, said his band was made up of recent Parker High School graduates.


Peyer described the band’s music as “metal,” but a more accurate description would be “metal infused with Red Bull” or “metal that’s gone off the deep end.”


What did he think of Rock Around the Block?


“It’s a good time,” Peyer said.



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