There’s always something new going on at Conner Prairie, Indiana’s only Smithsonian affiliate. This weekend, the interactive history park will celebrate the Hoosier state’s culture, roots, and traditions through music, storytelling, and food. This year’s festival will feature German and Mexican cultures.
The festival is this weekend, June 5 & 6, Saturday and Sunday.
If you visit the park in Fishers, IN, you can sample ethnic food from a wide variety of cultures: German, Mexican, Greek, Asian, and Caribbean fare. You can participate in a cultural scavenger hunt and try to win prizes, or even watch an 1886 baseball game. (I have watched some of these throwback baseball games when I lived up in Kosciusko County, and they’re kind of interesting. The players don’t wear mitts, and the balls are heavier.)
You can also visit homes in 1836 Prairietown and sample 19th-century German food, hear German folklore, play games with German roots, and listen to residents play the fiddle and dulcimer.
Festival activities will also include a beer and wine tent, the debut of the Indiana Humanities Council Food for Thought traveling exhibit (something I’ll be covering on this blog soon), a chance to trace your genealogy, and meet world-renowned artistic and musical director of the acclaimed Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Dr. David Baker.
Dr. Baker will also hold a jazz clinic called “Jazz Greats of Indianapolis” on Saturday, June 5 at 1:15. He will play recordings from some of the great jazz musicians who have come from Indianapolis and then take questions the audience. He will also be available for n autograph session between 2:00 – 3:00 at the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings tent.
Special Events Sat., June 5 featuring Indiana’s German culture:
- Alpentraum: The largest known alphorn ensemble in North American will perform using alphorn instruments to create music.
- Dan Lemonnier: Nationally known storyteller who has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, the 53rd Presidential Inaugural and hundreds of schools, library, art centers and churches throughout the Midwest, will be sharing German folk tales with guests.
- die Fledermäuschen Tanzegruppe: This Indianapolis-based folk dance group, formed by the German-American Klub, will perform original folk dances from Germany and Austria in authentic Bavarian dress of the 19th century in southern Germany.
- Meister Winds: An authentic German band specializing in Bavarian style traditional polkas, marches, waltzes and novelty dances.
- Original Alpine Express: Authentic German folk music band will perform and host a yodeling contest for guests.
- Scherenschnitte: German paper cutting.
*Special Events Sun., June 6 featuring Indiana’s Mexican culture:
- Mariachi band: Mariachi Sol Jalisciense
- Anderson Ballet Folklorico: This youthful group of dancers uses traditional music and colorful costumes to share the beauty of Mexican culture. They will perform traditional Mexican folklore dances from various regions of Mexico.
- Into Salsa: Will showcase a variety of Latin dances for guests.
- Chocolate and Tortilla making storytelling: by Juana Watson.
- Flower Making: tissue paper flowers.
- Papel Picado: Mexican folk art of paper cutting into elaborate designs.
Other entertainment will includes the R&B/funk soul six-piece band Downstroke, the gospel choir from Eastern Star Church, the African percussion Griot Drum ensemble, Irish Airs, Native-American flute ensemble Shilombish and the Indiana Caledonia Pipe Band.
Your kids can meet Maya and Miguel Santos from the PBS television show Maya and Miguel from 12 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 6. You can also enter for a chance to win a VIP 1859 Balloon Voyage with Maya and Miguel.
Tickets to the Indiana Festival is $13 for adults, $12 for seniors 65+, $9 for youth (ages two -12) and free for members and youth under two. You can get a Buy One, Get One coupon to save some money as well.