NORTH SALEM — What is dubbed as “the largest parade in Hendricks County” will return to North Salem this weekend during the town’s annual Old Fashion Days festival.
The festival has been a staple in the community for nearly 40 years and sees an attendance of about 10,000 each year.
Activities are spread throughout the town and include games, vendor and craft booths, garage and yard sales, contests, festival food, antiques, pioneer demonstrations, live entertainment, and more.
The North Salem Methodist Church will provide a smorgasbord breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday and Monday.
The parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday and Angela Ganote from FOX 59 will serve as the Grand Marshall. Other special activities on Saturday include a truck pull at 3 p.m. and an outdoor showing of the movie “Wizard of Oz” at 9 p.m.
Registration begins at 11 a.m. Sunday for the North Salem Christian Church car and truck show on Main Street. The show runs from noon to 4 p.m. Additional Sunday activities include a pie contest judging and auction from noon to 1:30 p.m., a mini horse pull at 4:30 p.m., and a horse pull at 6:30 p.m.
Activities for Labor Day kick off at 6:30 a.m. with the B&O Trail Association’s bike ride, followed by a 5K/10K walk/run at 8 a.m., a pet parade at 10:30 a.m., a talent show at 11 a.m., the festival’s popular “bed races” at noon, and a raffle drawing for a $1,000 cash prize at 4 p.m.
“I can’t say enough about the dedication of the people of the community,” said Roger Ward who has been helping with the annual festival for nearly 20 years now. “It’s a small town and it’s one of the things that’s provided our identity. From the gas companies to the hardware stores to the new Italian restaurant we have, everyone works together.”
Beth Russell, a North Salem resident who’s also been involved with the event for two decades, added, “We have lots of entertainment and it’s free all weekend to attend.”
There are added events for children, and then some popular mainstays that pepper the celebration. There will be pony rides, air slides, and the always popular sliding down Cardboard Hill. The raffle prize this year is $1,000.
“We have in the Pioneer Tent a woman that bakes bread and cookies and there’s always a long line for that,” Russell said. “I think everybody likes to bring their kids because of all the candy and stuff that’s thrown. The parade usually lasts about an hour and has 100 participants.”
Ward, who is in charge of the entertainment, says festival goers won’t be disappointed.
“We have the best parade in the county and I think we have the best artisans and craftsmen in the state,” he said. “We’ve had them coming from Michigan and Ohio for the longest time, and so rarely have I ever heard our vendors say they did poorly.
“What we’ve got is a really good group named Fonda & CRB on Saturday. It’s a fairly big band — 6 to 7 pieces in it — plus singing, and they’ve got sort of a rock and roll country sound. Then we’ve got Half Baked and the Blowhards. They’ve got a fabulous female singer and they’re a cover band, so that gives them a variety. They’re really good. Then we’ve got Unstable Fault Line, so I guess you can tell we’re going for oddly named bands, if nothing else.”
Sunday’s musical features are all Christian oriented, with Diane Green, Brian Richardson, Salvage Yard, and Good Friday all playing worship tunes.
“I’ve seen the leadership become more aware of what the people are really interested in,” said Ward, who moved to North Salem from California in 1990. “I just have such a sense of community. When Old Fashion Days takes place, I love it. When you come and get involved in our festival and see what people do to be a part of the community, it’s just heart warming. The fire department comes out en masse to help and does it willingly. It’s a community effort. Once you get involved in it, you’re hooked on it. I’m hooked on it.”
So popular has the event become, the Haunts of Hidden River Committee uses the weekend as their fundraising kickoff leading up to their charity FEARgrounds event in October.
For more information and a schedule of events, visit the website at northsalemoldfashioneddays.com.
Just the facts
WHAT: Old Fashion Days
WHEN: Sept. 1 through Sept. 3
WHERE: North Salem