For one of only two battles fought north of the Mason-Dixon line, Indiana sure celebrates the Civil War era quite a bit (the Battle of Corydon took place on July 9, 1863 in Corydon, IN, our first state capital).
This time, it’s Hendricks County, west of Indianapolis, that’s making the Civil War come alive for Hoosiers and visitors. We may not have been close to the war in distance, but we were close to it in family.
Hendricks County will host their second Civil War Heritage Days, to commemorate Indiana’s own involvement in the war between brothers, on June 23 – 24 in Danville, Indiana.
Organizers have many Civil War-inspired activities planned, which will honor the 150 year anniversary of the war. They will include re-enactments, encampments, demonstrations, displays, and even a formal dance and other surprises.
The opening ceremony begins at 9 am June 23 on the Courthouse Square, followed by activities throughout the day. The festival continues on June 24, starting at 9 am and ending at 4 pm.
Some of the new additions to this year’s festival include a vendor and food court on the south side of the square, blacksmith demonstrations, quilt bed turning and additional performances on the Courthouse Square Stage, featuring music, theater and the reading of letters written by actual Civil War soldiers and their wives from the Hendricks County Historical Museum’s archives.
(As a writer and lover of language, I have been constantly amazed at the quality and depth of writing by many of these soldiers. These were, for the most part, uneducated people who did not devote themselves to being good writers. And yet, many of them write better than many of our so-called “real writers” of today. If you love writing like I do, these readings are a great reason to attend this event.)
But the biggest addition will be the Grand Ball, which will be held from 7 – 10 pm, on Saturday, June 23, in the Courthouse Rotunda. Anyone can participate, and it costs $10 to enter. Period clothing is recommended for the dancers, but is not required.
But if you can’t dance, a Civil War Dance Workshop will be held the Friday night before the Grand Ball in the Crawley Business Center, which is on the second floor of the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau office (8 W. Main St., Danville). Participants will be led through Civil War Grand Ball etiquette and period dances. There is no charge for the workshop, but you must register at DPLIndiana.org.
You can still see many of last year’s activities, such as Civil War encampments, children’s games, artillery demonstrations, a Civil War wedding, a Civil War church service on Sunday morning, high tea.
Organizers say the event drew about 1,500 people last year, including from our neighbors in Illinois and Ohio.
Events will be held throughout Danville, including at the Danville Public Library, Hendricks County Historical Museum, Hendricks County Courthouse Square, Hendricks County Courthouse Rotunda and the Hendricks County Government Center.
Visit CivilWarHendricks.com for more information.