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Riley Festival 2009 Starts Tomorrow

The Riley Festival is reputed to be one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in all of Indiana. It’s coming around again, starting October 1 and going through the weekend, ending October 4, Sunday, at 4:00 PM. This year’s Riley Festival is the 40th annual occurrence, so if you attend, you’ve hit the bigtime. Admittance to the festival is absolutely free. See schedule below for hours and events.

The colorful, children-friendly party is set in Greenfield, Indiana, just twenty miles to the east of Indianapolis. The Indy suburb of Greenfield and its big brother, Indianapolis, both have reason to claim the beloved Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, as their own. Riley grew up in Greenfield, but lived in the Lockerbie neighborhood of Indianapolis as an adult.

 

For children in the Indianapolis extended region, the Riley Festival is one of the best of the many Indianapolis fairs and festivals. Part of the reason is the history of Riley’s poetry, which included, of course, “Little Orphan Annie” (the model for the famous Raggedy Ann doll). Riley’s homespun approach was by and large aimed at children, though he is well-known and well-loved by adults and kids alike.

Be sure to catch the famous “Children’s Parade of Flowers,” at 1 pm on Friday, beginning at the Riley Statue downtown. Hordes of happy Hoosier tykes from nearby towns get together to create this color- and smile-filled parade.

Riley Festival 2009 Schedule with Featured Events and Activities

Thursday, October 1: 5 pm – 9 pm

  • Largest Pumpkin winners on display at the Courthouse lawn
  • 5 pm – 6 pm: Pumpkin Decoration Contest (register at the Fire Station)
  • 5 pm – 8 pm: Ongoing hay rides
  • 5 pm – 9 pm: All booths will be open
  • 6 pm – Opening Festival Ceremonies in the entertainment tent
  • 6 :30  pm – 7:30 pm: Banjo Buddies in the entertainment tent

Friday, October 2: 9 am – 9 pm

  • Largest Pumpkin winners on display at the Courthouse lawn
  • 5 pm – 9 pm: Free entertainment in the entertainment tent
  • 9 am – All booths will be open
  • 9 am – dusk: Living History Encampment on the 4-H Fairgrounds
  • 9 am – 4 pm: Antique Engine and Tractor Show (4-H Fairgrounds)
  • 1 pm – Children’s Parade of Flowers (starts downtown at the Riley statue)
  • 4 pm – 8 pm: Ongoing hay rides
  • 5 pm – 8 pm: Burgers and more at the Bradley United Methodist
  • 5 pm – 8 pm: Ongoing entertainment, including a poetry reading contest (Presbyterian Church)
  • 8 pm – Laser Light Spectacular

Saturday, October 3: 9 am – 9 pm

  • Largest Pumpkin winners on display at the Courthouse lawn
  • 7:30 am: Riley Breakfast at Park Chapel Christian Church
  • 7 am – 9 am: Registration and Riley 5K Run and Riley 5 K Walk
  • 9 am: All booths will be open
  • 12 noon – 9 pm: Ongoing free entertainment at the entertainment tent
  • 9 am – dusk: Living History Encampment on the 4-H Fairgrounds
  • 9 am – 4 pm: Antique Engine and Tractor Show (4-H Fairgrounds)
  • 11 am – Riley Festival Parade

Sunday, October 4: 9 am – 5 pm

  • Largest Pumpkin winners on display at the Courthouse lawn
  • 9 am – 1 pm: Living History Encampment on the 4-H Fairgrounds
  • 11 am: All booths will be open
  • 1 pm – 5 pm: Free ongoing entertainment at the entertainment tent
  • 1 pm: Ducky Derby at the Courthouse

Note: There is a shuttle service to and from the fairgrounds, at minimal charge.