In the Spotlight with Terra Brantley (2022 Salamonie Summer Festival)
WARREN, Ind. (WPTA21) - An annual event in Huntington County is quickly approaching, and it’s known to triple the population in the town it takes place. With a theme of ‘Homemade Happiness’, the 55th Salamonie Summer Festival takes place July 1-4 in Warren. You’ll see ‘Salamonie’ often throughout 21Country — according to the Indiana DNR, the term is derived from the Native American word “O-sah-mo-nee”, meaning “yellow paint” (harvested from plants along the river).
“Tons and tons of people from all around come to town,” organizer Donna Beavans told WBOI’s Terra Brantley, “they come back home for the festival — it’s a big celebration.” Describing the festival as the town’s ‘claim to fame’, the parade chair Beavans says there were 90 entries last year, consisting of tractors, antique cars, and community groups. “A lot of people are like, ‘oh my gosh! That’s a lot of tractors in the parade.’” Beavans added. “But you know what? That’s people from around here, and that’s their life. It’s worth it!”
As far as watching the parade — it begins Friday, July 1st at 7 p.m. “The first float that will be coming through is the USS float,” she said, speaking of veterans who will be celebrated. “These are older gentlemen that were on the ship — the USS Salamonie ship. So we honor all of them by putting them in the front of the parade, they come from all over.”
In addition to that parade, events over the holiday weekend include free concerts, a flea market, games, contests, fireworks -- plenty of fun for the family. Cheryl DeWeese is the festival chair. “We have a lot of things for the kids. We call it family fun freeway on 2nd street. It’s some games and things for the kids,” she shared. “We have lots of food venues and an antique tractor pull.”
DeWeese says their annual firework show at Tower Park, happening Sunday night, is one of the best around. And making it all come together behind-the-scenes, is almost a full-time job. “I’m already thinking about next year,” she said. “My committee’s great. We just work good together.”
You can find extended discussion on the 2022 Salamonie Summer Festival on WBOI.org, as well as more information and updates on the event’s Facebook page here. DeWeese ended with this: “I just hope everybody comes to the neighborhood, that they come to the festival. It’s just a big deal — one of the biggest around!”
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