Highlights from the Aukiki River Festival in Kouts

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Highlights from the Aukiki River Festival in Kouts

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana: Dyeing Clothing

After working so hard on little Indiana THE BOOK, I decided that the boys and I needed a day away. What could be better than paying a visit to the Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana? It is one of our new favorite festivals–and we wanted to make it an annual tradition.

Held the same week at Kouts’ big Porkfest, the Aukiki River Festival, though smaller, is simply amazing. This is a unique Indiana festival because, not only does it showcase the history of life along the riverfront, it spans a number of years! Please, visit the link above for last year’s article and accompanying video of the event.

Highlights from the 2014 Aukiki River Festival

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana: Children in Period Clothing

It’s not just frontier times or something random chosen from a specific era but it stretches across the history of the river. You will find ladies dressed in their finest as well as simply clothed pioneer folk.

Men may be outfitted as Union soldiers or French fur trappers or merchants (to name a few). There are a slew of artisans on hand to demonstrate their skills. From clothes dyers to tinsmiths to blacksmiths and soldiers, it’s an eye-opening, interesting look at Indiana’s past.

We gawked at the various booths. With people actually working on their crafts in front of you, this Indiana festival has a different feel. I am a huge fan of the tin toys. They are so neat!

The man and his wife will show you each step. He actually makes them right in front of you, from the bubbling, insanely hot melted tin to the finished, cooled product. I would love to get his various toy soldiers. Our boys would love those–and I know they would last.

Candlesticks, Cloth, and Chance Meetings

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana: The Tinsmith

Also: I finally got to meet Indiana author Mari Barnes in person! She was also attending the festival and after (years?) of Facebook and Twitter interaction, I just about ditched the boys at the candlemaker so I could rush over and say “Hi!”

I love that about our small towns. No matter where I am, chances are I will bump into somebody I know. Also, thanks to the candlemaker. She had the old pot of melted candle wax and let kids grab a string and make their own candle. For free. Bonus! Our boys absolutely loved it. They have both proudly placed their candles in their rooms in such a way as to show them off.

But that wasn’t it. The arts and crafts table held children’s crafts and was headed by none other than my high school photography teacher “Mrs. Miller!” While I wouldn’t expect her to remember me after, um, a considerable number of years, she did once ask me for a copy of one of my images.

It felt pretty good at the time, especially because I referred to it as my “award winning photo” even though it never won any awards (probably because I never did enter it in a contest!). It’s kind of a nice feeling to think that I nurtured that early interest and didn’t let it die.

Life Along the Aukiki River

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana

Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana: The Collier Lodge

If you are looking for a fun, family friendly festival that’s inexpensive to enter and for a good cause (restoring Collier Lodge), please give the Aukiki River Festival in Kouts, Indiana a chance.

Bring Indiana history to life and have a great time in the process. We really look forward to this brilliant festival. It’s small enough that you don’t feel like the kids have to be glued to your side, yet big enough to make it a worthwhile destination. Maybe we will see you there!

Follow along with the latest news on the Aukiki River Festival Facebook Page.

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!

Aukiki River Festival
Across from: 1097 Baum’s Bridge Road
Kouts, IN 46347

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About the Author:

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little Indiana.com. More than a website, Little Indiana is a book, "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" (IU Press) awarded first place in the "Best in Indiana Journalism for a Nonfiction Book" by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Little Indiana is also a bi-monthly newspaper column in a local paper and a PBS segment on the former Emmy award-winning program, "The Weekly Special."

One Comment

  1. Mari Barnes September 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    If it hadn’t been for little Indiana, I wouldn’t have known about the Festival. I was great! I learned a lot and I won a prize (that never happens). My hat tips to all involved in staging such a wonder. And your pictures are awesome, as usual.

    Mari

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