Good ol' time
What: The annual Johnny Appleseed Festival celebrates the man and the pioneer era with crafts, music, food and more. The Gathering of the Bands, featuring all fife-and-drum and pipe bands, will take place at 2 p.m. both days at the Festival Stage.
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Johnny Appleseed and Archer parks, behind Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.
Cost: Free admission.
•Parking at Memorial Coliseum is $5, main lot, and $8, preferred lot. Free parking is available at IPFW, off Coliseum Boulevard, and at Concordia Lutheran High School on North Anthony Boulevard. Free shuttle buses will run continuously from IPFW and Concordia to the festival grounds.
•Staffed and secure bike check locations will be offered at the north and south ends of Harry Baals Drive in Johnny Appleseed Park, along the river.
•No pets are allowed, except service animals and those in entertainment acts.
The president will have to send his regrets.
And there will be more apples than you can sauce, new souvenir cloth shopping bags to put them in, more clogging to watch and all of your favorite fun back for this year's Johnny Appleseed Festival this Saturday and Sunday.
As usual, all of the fun takes place in Johnny Appleseed and Archer parks, behind Memorial Coliseum.
Some people like to see changes at attractions and annual events, but the Johnny Appleseed Festival typically isn't one of them. After all, we're stepping back into the pioneer days of the 1800s, so things should still be the same every year.
Here are the biggest changes or additions:
•Let's start at the top, or the top hat to be precise.
Fritz Klein, who every year provides a stunningly realistic yet fun portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln, will have to miss this year's event because of a scheduling conflict.
Rather than bring in someone else for a year, festival organizers decided to skip having the president on the grounds this year, said Kathryn Lemish, festival director of entertainment. They did, however, make sure Klein can resume his presidency here next year, Lemish said.
•Clogging fans will have their feet dancing this year, with more performances by the same local clogging groups that have performed at the festival in year's past.
“There usually is a good draw of people for the cloggers,” Lemish said, so festival organizers invited the groups to perform more frequently.
•Just as last year, there will be only three fife, pipe and drum bands performing at the festival — Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes and Drums and the Tippecanoe Ancient Fife and Drum Corps and Voyageur Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, both from Lafayette.
The bands will increase the number of times each day they march through the grounds and perform, but only one band will be out at a time. They still will join together for the Gathering of the Bands at 2 p.m. each day at the Festival Stage near the Johnny Appleseed gravesite memorial.
•You can't have a Johnny Appleseed Festival without apples, and last year the drought virtually wiped out the crop at two area growers who have been longtime sellers at the festival. Event organizers invited two orchards from Michigan to fill the void.
This year, area apple growers have a good crop, and they'll be back, said Bruce Hayes, festival director of administration. But the Michigan growers did such a good job, the festival wanted to show its appreciation by inviting them back, too, Hayes said.
So if you want to buy apples at the festival, you will have plenty of choices.
•The festival has held a scavenger hunt for youngsters off and on in past years, Hayes said. This year, they have revamped it to give it more of an educational focus.
Participants can pick up the list of items to find at the Information Tent across from the east end of the Farmers Market or under big, red, wooden apple signs around the grounds. After completing their hunt, they can go to the Information Tent for a prize, Hayes said.
•Along with the traditional paper official festival shopping bags being given out by Huntington University, festivalgoers this year also can purchase souvenir Johnny Appleseed Festival cloth shopping bags. They are available in two styles for $5 each at the Information Tent.