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Area Information | 47 Posts
Outdoors | 3 Posts

Forks of the Wabash

Get a fascinating look at the historical legacy surrounding Huntington homes for sale. Join our real estate agents at the annual Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival for some educational, family-friendly fun.

History of the Festival

Jean Gernand, a home economics and family living teacher at Huntington North High School believed that the local community deserved a festival celebrating its rich heritage. In 1976, with the help of other teachers and volunteers, Jean staged the first Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival, a one-day event held outside the high school.

Pioneer Village, the festival's centerpiece, was a labor of love for volunteer Mary Brooks and her family. Husband Garl, brother-in-law Denver, and sister-in-law Benita joined forces with Mary to construct the exhibit, which is often referred to as Brooks' Pioneer Village in their honor.

Three years later, due to growing attendance, the festival relocated to Hier's Pier. A second day was added to the schedule in 1982, and the locale has since expanded to include the adjoining Huntington County Fairgrounds. The festival is held on the fourth full weekend of September each year, with proceeds benefiting local charities and historic preservation projects.

Timberworks Lumberjack Show

In recognition of Huntington University's 125th anniversary, festival organizers are adding an exciting new attraction. On both days, the Wisconsin-based Timberworks Lumberjack Show will be performing their reenactment of 1920s logging competitions.

Huntington University, which is serving as the show's major sponsor, has long embraced its woodsy locale. The school's slogan is "Welcome to the Forest!" and Foresters is the nickname of its athletic teams. Norm the Forester, a Paul Bunyan-style lumberjack, is the school's mascot.

Shows include traditional activities such as axe throwing, log rolling, and chainsaw carving. Audience members are encouraged to participate, and they'll have a chance to win an autographed carving at each show. There will be a special show featuring a competition among four two-person teams.

Showtimes are noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. The amateur competition takes place on Sunday at noon.

Things to See and Do

In keeping with the festival's lumberjack theme, Dr. Bruce Evans, professor of biology at Huntington University, will role-play as Charles Dearn, Indiana's first forester. For several hours each day, Dr. Evans will stroll the grounds interacting with festivalgoers. 

Dearn, who was born in nearby Bluffton, developed an interest in botany when an herbal remedy helped him survive a bout with typhoid fever. After 19 years as the state's first full-time forester, Dearn retired to focus on plants. His collection of 70,000 specimens is currently housed at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Visitors can also look forward to the other popular activities and attractions that keep them coming back year after year:

  • Demonstrations and reenactments of pioneer life, including military drills and strolling characters

  • Games and activities for kids

  • Food, beverages, and live entertainment

  • Antiques and crafts

  • Farmers market

  • Displays of old-time motorcars, engines, and bicycles

About the Festival

  • The festival takes place at Huntington Fairgrounds, 631 E. Taylor St., Huntington, IN 46750.

  • Dates and times are Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Sunday, September 25, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

  • Admission is $3 for ages 5 and up. College students with valid ID pay $1. Tickets are sold on the day of the event only.

Our Huntington real estate agents are deeply knowledgeable about the community's history and its current amenities and attractions. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group to learn more.

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