Pioneer festivals are no longer a thing of the past, as many towns and cities host celebrations of those who settled their respective areas.
LaGrange County is no different, as David Rogers Days will be celebrated Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26 at David Rogers Memorial Park, located at 2355W 550S in Wolcottville.
Programs begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday. Saturday’s activities include a benefit haystack supper at 4:30 p.m. and a folk dance at 6 p.m., where crowds of people both young and old join in on a number of tunes.
Returning this year after an absence of several years is the David Rogers Days Auction (see related article) at 2 p.m. to raise funds for the acquisition of land at Dallas Lake Park.
Throughout each day, the public will enjoy life-skill demonstrations, storytellers, handcrafts, reenactments, and a variety of children’s activities.
Returning once more for David Rogers Days is perennial favorites Faire Wynds, with their unique humor and entertainment. Common Stock will be roving the grounds to delight visitors with their singing, recitations, and other oddities.
Punch and Judy will be stopping in at David Rogers Village to delight young and old with confusion, chases, sausages, and more confusion.
Jack’s Mama has been a favorite with her stories of her son for years at David Rogers Days.
The children’s area will be filled with pioneer games and crafts, all at no cost, for kids to enjoy in-between the entertainment.
Out on the main stage, Sly Run will be on hand to entertain the crowds, along with area musicians Suite Strings.
Liza and Mark will be roaming the grounds when not on stage.
There will also be a pioneer fashion review again this year, showing what was worn in those days, and how it was worn.
DavidRogers Villagewill also be filled with demonstrators showcasing crafts and workmanship from the mid-1800s, including weaving, dress making, cooking, meat smoking, bowl and spoon carving, blacksmithing, and more.
The General Store will also be open throughout the weekend so visitors can stock up on any supplies they may need before returning home.
“Our forefathers and mothers were handy and industrious. Revisiting that time helps me realize how capable we can be,” Interpretive Naturalist Scott Beam said.
DavidRogers Memorial Parkis noted most for its five authentic pioneer log homes that have been located there. It also is the gravesite and memorial to pioneer philanthropist Dr. David Rogers.
According to the website DavidRogersDays.org, Rogers settled LaGrange County in 1833. Local folklore shares Dr. Rogers was known for traveling with his ox team and harvesting wild herbs. The herbs were dried, packed in barrels, and then shipped back to doctors in the east who used them for medicine. The eccentric doctor rarely charged fees to LaGrange County residents.
Upon Rogers’ death in 1871, his estate was bequeathed to commissioners of LaGrange County to build an orphanage. The large brick house standing to the north of the park was that orphanage.
While the orphanage is no longer utilized, the Rogers Children’s Fund continues to serve area youth over 140 years after Dr. Rogers’ death.
“It is significant to remember Dr. Rogers’ generosity and caring, and to cultivate that same spirit in ourselves,” Beam stated.
Over 1,500 guests are expected to participate in the event that is open to the public.