Photo providedJohnny Appleseed will tell tall tales during the Pioneer Party in the Park old-time musical festival on Saturday at Forest Park.
Photo provided

Johnny Appleseed will tell tall tales during the Pioneer Party in the Park old-time musical festival on Saturday at Forest Park.

If you've been hankering for a lazy afternoon, listening to good old-time country music played by some local folks, then grab your lawn chairs and your straw hat and head for Noblesville's Forest Park on Saturday.

It's all part of the free Pioneer Party in the Park music festival, which kicks off at 11:45 a.m. celebrating old-time country music all afternoon until about 5 p.m. in Shelter No. 5.

Storyteller Johnny Appleseed will start the day with some tall tales. You've probably seen the Walt Disney character singing and dancing and picking apples. But there was a real John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman, who lived 1774-1845 and traveled between Ohio and Indiana planting apple trees.

Then, Arcadia's Jean Roberts will get out her guitar and play some foot-stomping music with her Blackberry Jam folk band, alongside her husband, Steve Kobe, and others. Her band includes Bill Bailey, a master washboard and spoon player who is also the entertainment coordinator for the Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair and former producer of the WLS National Barn Dance at the Fair.

Up next, Joe Sullivan of Cicero, who has been traveling the nation and portraying cowboy film and TV legend Hopalong Cassidy for 30 years, will perform his act, including the reading of the Hopalong Cassidy creed for boys and girls

WildFlowers String Band, featuring Noblesville's 12-year-old Lacey Brown, is up next.

Then Gold Country band, which played the Courthouse Square two weekends ago, will perform old-time favorites, from Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" to Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors." The band includes Hedgehog Music Showcase owner, Noblesville's Bob Foster on bass, "one of the best, most versatile and giving musicians in all the area," I'm told. His venue is a major sponsor of this festival, a culmination of the String-Time Concert Series which debuted in July on the Historic Courthouse Square. The band also features third-generation banjo player, Dan Wethington on five-string banjo, Harry Davis on lead guitar and Janet Gilray on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, with special guests Jim Barnhill and 11-year-old Addison McMillan of Noblesville.

Gilray is executive director of Legacy Keepers, an educational charity that she started in 2007 to teach history through traditional song. Legacy Keepers' Pioneer Party debuted in 2016 as an official Indiana Bicentennial event. The nonprofit raises funds from the event's food sales and raffle tickets to cover about half of the expenses for this event, with the remaining from funds raised throughout the year.

Cornfields & Crossroads bluegrass band will perform two sets beginning around 3 p.m., featuring Wethington, Mark Graham on lead vocals and guitar, Darrell Duety on mandolin and Joe Flowers on bass.

The day also features a clogging demonstration, pioneer promenade, dulcimer workshop with "Aunt Myra," cake walk and pie-eating contest, kids' rhythm workshop with Bill Bailey and more tall tales by Johnny Appleseed.

Throughout the day, activities will be ongoing in the large park shelter. Folks can "set a spell" with "Aunt Verbena," say "howdy-do" to Hopalong Cassidy, learn to make salt clay, see Grandpa Don's Arrowhead Collection, join the official Raggedy Ann and her Indiana State Museum friends for Pioneer Playtime, gourd painting demonstration, see antique doll, hat and fan display, explore an instrument petting zoo, shop an old-time mercantile and visith with guests from Daughters of the American Revolution Horseshoe Prairie Chapter in Noblesville.

Also, there's grub for sale. This year's treats on the grill go well beyond last year's burgers, brats and hot dogs (but they were really good, too). A special-recipe marinated chicken breast proven popular at other historical renactment events, will be added to the menu, minus brats, plus homemade cookies and soda pop, from Dad's root beer to Sarsaparilla, served in vintage-style bottles.

The entertainment will take place on Noblesville Parks Department's mobile stage, which is used during the Parks Department's summer concert series and Noblesville Main Street's annual Street Dance.

Also, don't forget later today (Friday), the Noblesville High School Homecoming Parade will travel through downtown Noblesville at 4 p.m., and the NHS Millers football game against the Zionsville Eagles is at 7:30 p.m. at Hare Chevrolet Field. See yesterday's column for other Saturday happenings, including Noblesville Preservation Alliance's Historic Homes Tour and Old Mill Festival.

See ya there!

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