The Old Settlers’ Days Committee and Volunteers would like to invite the public to come and join us on Saturday, September 16 & Sunday, September 17, at the John Hay Center, in Salem, Indiana, as we celebrate the 142nd Old Settlers’ Days Festival.
This free to the public festival was first held for our community in 1875.
It was established to commemorate, honor and celebrate the pioneer families who settled and civilized the wilderness lands
of the Indiana Territory that would become Washington County.
Thousands of visitors gather every year at the John Hay Center, where the celebration is appropriately centered on the Pioneer Village, which returns to functioning form and fills with demonstrators and re-enactors.
Here amongst the hewn-log cabins, guests can catch a glimpse into the daily life of a typical territorial era 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.
This year’s main attraction will be 3 daily performances by Six Guns Entertainment, a Wild West Reenactment Group, based out of Corydon.
Their portrayals at our festival will include; a Pioneer Village
Shoot-out, a visit from the infamous train-robbing Reno Brothers, Annie Oakley target-shooting and a live, don’t-miss demonstration of Dr. Richard Gatlin’s devastating, revolutionary Gatlin-Gun, featuring the Doctor himself and President Lincoln!
Historical figures represented at this year’s festival, on both days, will be President Abraham Lincoln, iconic Indiana pioneer, Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman and a special tribute to one of Indiana’s founding fathers and Salem resident; Judge Benjamin Parke.
Some of our demonstrators this year will include; Rope making, blacksmithing, chair caning, spinners, quilters, knife making, pedal saw, broom making, fur traders, potters, cane carvers, corn husk dolls and a large variety of interactive pioneer era games.
A special distilling demonstration will be attempted on both days by the Hell’s Half Acre Hillbilly Burlesque Show, as long as they aren’t all arrested by the Washington County Sherriff’s Department!
Musical guests performing at this year’s festival are; the Corydon Dulcimers, local fiddler’ Brooklyn Thompson, local duo, Hoot Von Woot, Sharin’ Grace Bluegrass, the Capstone Band, and the Bradie Shrum Chime and Percussion Choir.
The grounds of the John Hay Center will 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 Museum’s Main Gallery and The Depot
train museum, for the duration of the festival.
“Please do not miss this extraordinary opportunity to come out and join in the celebration of our pioneer heritage,” said Jeremy Elliott, Washington County Historian. “But Beware! There will be a substantial amount of LIVE black powder gun firing throughout
the festival, so we caution the very young, elderly or anyone with sensitive hearing to please bring your own hearing protection.”