The Old Settlers' Days Festival in Salem Indiana dates back to September 29th 1875. On that historic day in 1875 Washington County residents first came together to celebrate the lives and contributions of their pioneering forefathers. At the initial Old Settlers' Days many of the original Washington County settler's were grey haired and elderly but many spoke at great length and with great passion about their earliest pioneering experiences in the county.
Our lives have changed greatly over the years and the Old Settlers' Days Festival continues to evolve as well. What remains constant however, is our festival is a celebration and tribute to the pioneering spirit of our earliest Washington County Settlers.
What would Old Settlers Days be if we didn’t mention all the amazing demonstrations and music happening at the village? Saturday and Sunday we have invited a number of musicians into the village including the Corydon Dulcimer Society, fiddlers, mandolin players and more. There will be a featured stage near the village for performers who wish to make use of it and as always the church is open for inspired music and improvisation. Please feel free to grab your instrument and head on down too as we would be glad to have you! Our Blacksmiths, soap makers, spinners, chair cainers, toy makers, fur trappers, gun smiths, frontier distillers, town criers, flint knappers, snake oil salesmen, storekeepers, yeomen farmers, scrimshaw artists, carvers and more are back this year to share our collective history with you as well as our town mayor George Beck and some new additions including our old time barber Spud Shocke and even an undertaker and doctor!
Join us Saturday evening at 7:00 PM for an intimate night of storytelling around the campfire. Jeremy Elliot and Alan Bishop as well as special guests will relate local bear stories, ghost stories and more! Have something you want to share? Please come down and let us know all about it!
Local instrumentalist Tom Rasley graced us last year with his stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” during our opening ceremony and will return this year to pay tribute to our country and the fallen hopes of the confederacy. Tom will deliver inspired performances of both “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Dixie” during the opening ceremony at the village starting at 10:00 am on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tom will also return to perform and intimate acoustic set highlighting his new album Heartland at the Depot at 2:15 on Saturday. Tom is a skilled instrumentalist who has played on over 65 recording projects and has toured 26 states and Canada as well Tom has taught thousands of players in his private studio and at guitar schools all across the country and was Director of the Norwich Guitar School and the National Guitar Workshop. For more information check out www.rasley.com
Copperheads and Peace Democrats to demonstrate their support of the South in the village!
The current chatter of the town is that a contingency of native Washington County Copperheads are planning to make their appearance and views known to the citizenry by flying flags and banners during our upcoming festivities. These “Peace Democrats” as they call themselves or “Copperheads” as they are better known amongst Union favoring Republicans count amongst themselves many notable members of our community who either wholly support the South in their mission to secede from the Union by right of the constitution or force of number (depending on whom one might ask) or at the very least appear to show some sympathy to the confederate cause.