News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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September 13, 2011

Hauteans do a double-take when Will Ferrell makes surprise appearance downtown (see Video)

TERRE HAUTE — Actor/comedian Will Ferrell was in downtown Terre Haute this morning at Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue, the Crossroads of America, according to several people who saw him.

Film crews were present, and observers say it appeared he may have been making a beer commercial — but no one knew for sure this morning.

Among those who saw him was Jon Campbell, a cook at Crossroads Cafe. “It was a surprise,” he said. “No one knew he was coming. It was cool to see Will Ferrell in front of the restaurant.”

Campbell said the famed former Saturday Night Live comedian “had some pretty goofy looking clothes on” that included knee high socks, sandals and a shirt tucked into khaki shorts.

Ferrell apparently “ran across the street a few times in the middle of traffic.” Campbell estimated Ferrell was downtown about a half-hour to 45 minutes, sometime between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.

Katie Shane, director of sales for the Hilton Garden Inn, also saw Ferrell. She asked the film crew if they wanted something to eat or drink.

People downtown gathered outside to watch and take photos with their cell phones.

Shane said Ferrell stood in front of the Hilton Garden Inn, then he crossed to the Old National Bank building, then he ran into the middle of the intersection. She said he had a line in which he said something about being at the Crossroads of America, a great time for Old Milwaukee Beer.

People asked why Ferrell and the film crew were there, and they were vague about it, Shane said. The film crew said Ferrell was not getting paid, she said.

About 50 people from a Chamber event at the Hilton Garden Inn were watching, according to Shane. Some employees of the Vigo County School Corp. also watched. ISU students going to class did a double-take, while at ONB “everyone had their windows open” and people were hanging out of the windows taking photos, Shane said. “It was crazy.”

Staff at Cracker Barrel confirmed that Ferrell ate breakfast there sometime this morning. Waitress Marion Sykes served the star of the movies Elf, Talladega Nights and Anchorman.

“He’s the first celebrity I’ve been that close to,” she said.

When she realized she was serving the movie celebrity, “My face was beet red,” she said. She described him as “super friendly.”

Another waitress, Jennifer Carithers, got Ferrell’s autograph and had someone take a picture of her and the comedian.

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