The Little Cousin Jasper Festival in Rensselaer, Indiana is a local favorite.
Named for the James Whitcomb Riley poem that bears the same name, the poem glowing mentions Rensselaer, Indiana repeatedly!
Little Cousin Jasper Festival in Rensselaer, Indiana
This Indiana festival is unique in that it takes place around the incredible Jasper County Courthouse. What I mean is that everything: the entertainment, the vendors, all of it is actually on the lawn of the courthouse!
All four sides of this gorgeous courthouse are strewn with food and craft vendors, children’s activities, and a stage for live entertainment throughout the day.
There is a whole festival schedule for Little Cousin Jasper because it doesn’t just begin and end at the Jasper County Courthouse, it also spans the whole town of Rensselaer!
There’s a beef and noodle dinner at one of the area churches and the Eagles will have their usual fish fry. There’s also bingo, a parade, and a plane flyover. Add in a Beer Garden, a community band, and the Sunday morning pancake and sausage breakfast at the Fire Station (if that doesn’t scream “community” then I just don’t know what does) and you’ve got yourself a very full weekend.
Things to Do at Little Cousin Jasper Festival
For Jasper County folks, the fun begins early! As you can see in the photo above left, the stage is set up early. When I was walking through a group of girls had taken up residence and were practicing what I can only assume is their song and dance routine for the talent show!
Really, Little Cousin Jasper is the last hurrah of carnival food (that I’m so not ready to be done with yet) and outdoor activities. It’s kind of a way to end the busy summer season with one last big shindig.
My favorite part of Little Cousin Jasper is always “Rensselaer’s Got Talent.” Various members of the community belt out a big variety of songs. The winner last year was really amazing and actually wrote the song herself. I’m eager to see what this year brings!
Free activities for the kids and a super cheap bouncy house and inflatable tunnel seem to be a common feature of this great Indiana festival. I really hope it’s back this year–I’m sure Kid #1 agrees, too. He did just about make it his permanent residence!
With a variety of things to see and do, it’s a popular Jasper County destination each Autumn! I think James Whitcomb Riley would approve.
These three days in this little town are packed with super small town festivities.
I love watching the whole town turn out, the people milling around and greeting each other – it’s what small town life is all about. There are bigger plans in the future.
It will be fun to see what they cook up next year!
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is Little Indiana!
Just don’t forget to tell them that Little Indiana sent you!
Jasper County Courthouse
115 West Washington Street
Rensselaer, IN 47978
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