The Old Settlers’ Days Committee would like to encourage the public to join us on September, 17 & 18, at the John Hay Center, in Salem, Indiana, as we celebrate the 141 st Old Settlers’ DaysFestival, an official Legacy Project of the Indiana Bicentennial celebration!
Old Settlers’ Days is a free to the public festival first held for the community in 1875.
It was established to commemorate and honor the pioneers who settled the wilderness lands of the Indiana Territory that would eventually become Washington County.
Every year, thousands of visitors gather at The John Hay Center, where the celebration is appropriately centered on the Pioneer Village, which returns to full functioning form and fills with demonstrators and re-enactors.
Guests can catch a glimpse into the daily life of a typical territorial settlement and quickly find themselves transported back in time by an assortment of reenactments reminiscent of how life in Washington County’s early days was.
Some of our demonstrators this year will include; Soap and cheese making, rope makers, chair caning, quilters, spinners, knife making, pedal saw and cross-cut saw demonstrations, distillers, broom making, cornhusk dolls (with proceeds going to benefit the restoration of the Washington County Courthouse) and face painting for the kids.
We will also have black powder firearms demonstrations, provided by Civil War reenactors, the Palmetto Sharp Shooters. A very special “can’t miss” demonstration on Saturday afternoon at 4pm, will be
provided by, the Miami Indians of Indiana Drum Corps and dancers.
Numerous historical figures will be represented at this year’s festival, including; President George Washington, President Abraham Lincoln, President/ Governor of the Indiana Territory,William Henry Harrison, Secretary of State and Salem native; John Hay, Salem resident and one of Indiana’s founding fathers; Judge Benjamin Parke and iconic Indiana pioneer, Johnny Appleseed.
Various musical acts will also be performing for festival attendees on both days of the event.
Saturday’s guests include; the Corydon Dulcimers, local duo, Hoot Von Woot, and a headlining appearance by rising stars, The Southern Sirens, from 1:30pm to 3:00pm.
Sunday’s guests include; popular Louisville group, the 502 String Band, who play Bluegrass and Appalachia music and Salem’s own professional saxophone player, Sam Bortka.
Others performers will be; Fiddler, Brooklyn Thompson, the Bradie Shrum Chime Choir and seasoned Hank Williams Sr. impersonator Otis Berry.
The grounds of the John Hay Center will also be covered by artisan, food and vendor booths, offering an array of unique shopping opportunities.
Additionally, the Washington County Historical Society affords the chance for the public to take free tours of both the Stevens Memorial Museum’s Main Gallery and The Depot train museum for the duration of the festival.