Looking for something fun to do in September?
How about live music, kids’ activities, beer gardens, tasty food and vendors galore?
Not enough to tempt you?
Then let’s add in a Weiner Dog Parade, a race to see which potter can create the tallest cylinder from three pounds of clay in three minutes, a costume contest for Parrotheads and Parakeets (Jimmy Buffett fans, for those who don’t know), an array of fall-themed scented candles, and a chance to visit the Birthplace of Recorded Jazz.
Have we got your attention now?
Then get out your calendar and map to plan a trip to some of these must-attend fall festivals in Wayne County, Indiana, where all that and more is in store.
Start with Potterypalooza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Richmond Art Museum, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway. If the weather is fine, the lawn will be covered with booths full of pottery of all shapes and kinds. In case of rain, everything moves inside.
Potterypalooza is a juried show, which means a committee researches artisans for the quality of their work, then invites them to participate. But that doesn’t mean everything is alike. “We have a wide variety of styles,” said Lance Crow, education director for the museum.
Much of the pottery is functional – plates, bowls, platters, mugs, etc. – and much is more for show – from jewelry and small figures to large sculptural pieces.
“There’s something for everyone,” Crow said. “One year I bought a skeleton with a top hat on!”
In addition to exploring the booths, visitors can watch demonstrations of wheel-throwing and raku firing. There’s a kids’ clay zone, where children and accompanying adults can get their hands dirty, and the Clay Olympics, the cylinder-building race that’s surprisingly exciting to watch.
There's no admission charge but vendor wares are available for purchase.
A 20 minutes trip West from Potterypalooza takes you to the quaint town of Cambridge City where the annual Canal Days Festival awaits! Here you'll find booths packed full of hand-made wares, delicious food, carnival games, live music and more all occurring September 7th & 8th.
A trip to Creitz Park unveils colorful rubber ducks sailing down the river in the famous Duck Race! This fun entertainment opportunity is a thrill to watch as spectators cheer on their ducks to win the race!
If festivities are not your thing, Cambridge City is rich in historical heritage and well known for it's antique shopping! It is the home to more than 12 quality antique shops and malls, beautifully restored homes, Museum of Overbeck Art Pottery and vibrant murals. Whether you visit for Canal Days or for a unique shopping excursion, you will be blown away by this vibrant, historic town.
Headed back East, Gennett Records Walk of Fame celebration is a few blocks away from Potterypalooza in the Whitewater Gorge, 101 S. First St.
The park is dominated by the shell of the former Starr Piano Factory (now reinforced to serve as an event venue) and the footprint of another Starr-related enterprise, the Gennett Recording Studio. In the early decades of the 20th century, many famous musicians – especially jazz musicians – recorded there.
Dutch Daulton does a podcast called After 2 Beers and is a member of the Starr-Gennett Foundation’s board of directors. He loves spreading the word about Richmond’s role in music history. “Charlie Patton recorded here and he’s one of the godfathers of the blues,” Daulton said. “(Gennett Records) had such influences on music. To think that it started in Richmond, Indiana.”
From 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 7 – right after Potterypalooza ends – the gorge will be home to a variety of music-related activities. There will be a kids’ zone where, among other things, children will have a chance to make and take home their own unique musical instruments. There will be food trucks and a beer garden, a DJ spinning tunes, and time to explore the Walk of Fame – a sidewalk running parallel to the river that features medallions commemorating many of the artists who recorded with Gennett.
Wayne County native and musician Sean Lamb will perform in the old factory building beginning at 7 p.m., and fireworks will close out the evening from about 9:10 to 9:30 p.m.
“Not only do you get the music and fireworks,” said Daulton, “but you’re sitting within feet of where Louis Armstrong recorded his first solo. It’s literally right there.”
As with Potterypalooza, there’s no admission fee, but you are responsible for buying your own food and drink. It’s recommended that you bring your own chairs as well.
You’ll also need chairs for the Sept. 14 Depot Fest (formerly Hippie Fest) featuring two popular regional bands, The Why Store from Muncie, Indiana, and Parrots of the Carribbean, a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Dayton, Ohio. Doors open at 5 p.m.
If the weather cooperates, the event will be in the parking lot in the 900 block of North E Street in Richmond, across from the former Pennsylvania Railroad Depot that gives the festival its name. In case of rain, it will move inside the building at 923 N. E St.
This time, there is an admission charge, but it’s for a good cause. Or causes. Depot Fest is part of InCONCERT, an annual series of events designed to benefit local non-profit groups. Fourteen organizations get to keep all they make selling tickets at $15 each (children under 12 are free). If you’re not from nearby, tickets can be purchased at www.inconcertrichmond.com.
Come listen to great rock-n-roll from The Why Store, who made the Top 20 and sold 200,000 albums in 1996. Or waste some time in Margaritaville listening to your favorite Buffett hits in your island wear. You could win a prize! “It’s a really fun party vibe,” said Samantha Goble, manager of the 4th Floor Blues Club which organizes InCONCERT events.
A week later, on Sept. 20, the Huddleston Farmhouse will be ushering in the fall season with locally produced art, wine, and a delicious harvest meal.
Wine Down on the Farm is in it's 8th year and celebrates local heritage, food, wine, and art! A stroll through the property will unveil plein air artists from the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association at work. Other craftsmen will be demostrating their unique talents and providing opportunities for those attending to learn more about their art.
Any festival is incomplete without a mouthwatering opportunity. Local chef Jen Ferrell will prepare a harvest meal using seasonal ingredients from farms in Wayne County and the surrounding areas. Take your meal to the next level by pairing it with regional wines, included in your ticket price of $50 for the general public, or $35 for Indiana Landmarks members.
The fun doesnt stop there! The next weekend brings along yet another fall festival! On Sept. 28, the Historic Richmond Depot District is again a festival venue, this time for the annual Oktoberfest from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fort Wayne Avenue and North Eighth Street will be blocked from traffic to provide space for games, bounce houses, and other activities for kids, information from non-profit groups, and vendors, vendors, vendors. “There’s always a good variety,” said Susan Yaeger, chair of the Oktoberfest organizing committee.
There’s also a stage with live music beginning at 1 p.m. and no fewer than FOUR beer gardens scattered around the six-block area.
A new feature this year will be hammerschlagen, a contest to see who can pound a nail deepest into a block of wood. And the Weiner Dog Parade makes its return at 4 p.m. on Fort Wayne Avenue.
If you have a Dachshund, bring him or her along, Yaeger said. There’s no need to register in advance. After the parade, there are prizes for Best Costume, Cutest Weiner Dog, and Slowest Weiner Dog. It’s hard to be fast with those little legs and so many people watching!
That same weekend is the Warm Glow Fall Festival at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet, 2131 N. Centerville Road in Centerville, just south of Interstate 70 on the Centerville Road Exit.
Now in its sixth year, the event spills into the grounds and fields surrounding the outlet stores. Parking problems from past years have been addressed with trolley service between all the fun and a large grass lot at a neighboring farm.
Unlike the other events, Warm Glow’s festival is a two-day affair, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.
“It’s just a really fun event,” said Gina Waddle, marketing director for Warm Glow. “It keeps growing every year.”
This year, Waddle expects something like 150 vendors will be selling holiday and home décor, including but not limited to wreaths, woodworking, quilts, antiques, and repurposed items. There will be nine food trucks and areas set up for eating, bounce houses and a straw maze for kids, and a pumpkin patch with mums and gourds.
Inside, there’s even more, with special sales and samples of food and wine. Warm Glow – famous for its bumpy scented candles – will offer candles especially for fall: Autumn Evening, Orange Cranberry, and Halloween candles shaped like pumpkin faces, candy corn, and zombies.
I’m assured the zombie candles don’t smell like putrid flesh.
There is so much to see and do during the fall season in Wayne County! Mark your calendars and start planning your trip now!