Falling in love with fall

The telltale signs of fall have settled over Johnson County.

The air is getting crisp. The oppressive humidity of the summer has lifted, and the sky is a crystalline blue. People are out enjoying the last few weeks of pleasant weather before Indiana winter sets in.

And in communities throughout the county, new events and beloved traditions will bring neighbors together to celebrate the autumn season.

From parades and baking contests to live music and community meals, organizers have lined up a full slate of activities for people of all ages at this year’s fall festivals. Churches, civic organizations and towns themselves have worked together to create events that people of all interests can enjoy.

“(Fall festivals) bring out the community together and bring a lot of people to town,” said Holly Johnston, events and programs director for Franklin Parks and Recreation. “It’s a fun thing to do at the end of the year before the weather gets too cold.”

With so many options during the coming weeks, it can be difficult to determine where your priorities should be. To help navigate the festival lineup, the Daily Journal has captured some of the best features this year.

1. Open Mic Night

When: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. FridayWhere: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 114 Lancelot Drive, FranklinWhat: Do you have a talent that you’re dying to share with the world? Can you sing, play an instrument or write poetry? The organizers of the annual festival at St. Rose of Lima Parish want to see you up on stage. For three hours, festival-goers can hop on stage and be the star they’ve always wanted to.

2. Seldom Surreal

When: 8:30 p.m. to midnight Sept. 26Where: SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church, 5901 Olive Branch Road, GreenwoodWhat: For many people, the 1960s and ’70s were the pinnacle of music. Bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Cream dominated rock in ways that still resonate today. The members of Seldom Surreal feel those ripples, and amplify it in the music they make. Specializing in the rock and soul of the Vinyl Era, the band touches on everything from Sam Cooke to Crosby Stills Nash & Young to Steely Dan.

“We try to make sure there is plenty of danceable material to keep our audience engaged, and we make sure everyone is engaged,” said drummer and vocalist Carl LoSasso.

3. Festival food

When: Various times at each festivalWhat: Like any tradition, the county’s fall festivals are tied closely to good food with friends. Each area event will host food vendors, but some of the most popular stands are the ones offering special meals. SS. Francis and Clare will feature a new fried chicken meal, while St. Rose of Lima is doing a hog roast. The Lions Club will fry up fish at the Franklin Fall Festival, and Bargersville and Edinburgh will both serve up barbecue and other treats.

4. Community baking contest

When: 11 a.m. Oct. 3; winners announced at 2 p.m.Where: Franklin Fall FestivalWhat: Every year, the organizers of the Franklin Fall Festival challenge Johnson County bakers to come up with their most creative, most delicious food item, all while using a specific ingredient. This year, that key item is raisins.

Prizes will be given for best bread, pie, cake, miscellaneous and overall champion. Individual winners received $20, while the overall champ gets $50.

“It’ll be interesting to see how many different things you can make with raisins,” Johnston said.

5. Heritage Day

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 3Where: Johnson County Museum of History, 135 N. Main St., FranklinWhat: The Johnson County Museum of History brings its collection to the public during its annual Heritage Day. See what life was like in the pioneer days of Johnson County, and talk to a Civil War soldier about their service. Volunteers will demonstrate how to make apple butter and apple cider, and re-enactors will show how blacksmiths and whittlers made everyday items by hand.

6. Hay rides

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 3Where: Franklin Fall Festival, Monroe and West Court streetsWhat: Just like bonfires, roasted marshmallows and picking out pumpkins, hay rides seem to go perfectly with autumn. New to the Franklin Fall Festival this year will be wagon rides throughout downtown Franklin, offered by the Humane Society of Johnson County. Children and adults can climb up on the old-fashioned cart and take in the city at a leisurely pace.

7. Parades

When:9 a.m. Saturday, Nineveh Heritage Festival11 a.m. Saturday, Edinburgh Fall Festival

Noon Saturday, Bargersville Harvest Moon Festival

1 p.m. Oct. 3, Franklin Fall Festival

What: A good parade has the ability to bring the entire community together. School bands will perform their Sousa marches and other popular music. Local organizations will decorate floats, tossing candy to anxious kids on the curbs. Police and fire officials will blare their sirens and flash their lights.

“The parade is always the biggest thing in our festival. I don’t know what it is that brings the whole town out, but it always does,” said Lynne Hess, events coordinator for the Town of Bargersville.

8. Gospel night

When: FridayWhere: Edinburgh Fall FestivalWhat: The joyful sounds of worship will take over the Edinburgh Fall Festival, with an evening devoted solely to gospel music. Local churches will send their choirs, praise bands and other musicians to express their faith through song. The performances are free.

“We had a few churches who wanted to sing, so we thought we’d have them all together in one night to sing gospel,” said Tracy Beier, events coordinator for the Edinburgh Parks and Recreation.

9. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3Where: The Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., FranklinWhat: Millions of readers have fallen into the magical world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. The initial movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” went on to gross $317 million in the U.S. Now, it’s back on the big screen at the historic Artcraft Theatre to get people in the Halloween spirit. Tickets are $5 for adults and teenagers, $4 for students, seniors and military veterans, and $3 for children 12 and under.

10. Cruise-in

When: 5 to 10 p.m. FridayWhere: Downtown BargersvilleWhat: Lovers of Cameros, Corvettes and Chargers will get their share in downtown Bargersville during the Harvest Moon Festival’s inaugural cruise-in. Check out the classic cars and muscle-bound engines of some of the greatest automobiles to hit the road.

11. Midnight Fire

When: 6 to 10 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Bargersville Harvest Moon Fall FestivalWhat: Country music with an edge is the specialty of this five-piece band hailing from Greenfield. Inspired by the music of Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brooks and Dunn and Garth Brooks, Midnight Fire weaves driving rhythm and fiery guitar into the country sensibilities that is their foundation. The band will be the headliner of the Harvest Moon Festival.

12. Flash mobs

When: Random times Oct. 3Where: Franklin Fall FestivalWhat: Don’t be surprised if a dance number breaks out in the midst of the fun at this year’s Franklin Fall Festival. Le Rose Dance Studio will be out and about throughout the day, putting on surprise flash mobs displaying their fancy footwork. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the areas best dancers doing the unexpected.

13. The Finicky Pickers

When: 7:30 p.m. FridayWhere: Nineveh Heritage FestivalWhat: With a pair of guitars and a love for the classic rock and country of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, Troy Adams and Jason Knight created their own band, the Finicky Pickers. Get in a country kind of mood with their all-acoustic sets during Nineveh’s premier yearly festival.

Bargersville Harvest Moon Fall Festival

When: Friday to Sunday

Where: Downtown Bargersville

Features: Commercial service vendors, kiddie rides, beer garden and Mallow Run Winery, craft booths, food vendors

Scheduled events


  • 5 to 10 p.m.: Cruise-in


  • Noon: Parade
  • 1 to 4 p.m.: Southern Bridges
  • 4:30 p.m.: Pie-eating contest
  • 6 to 10 p.m.: Midnight Fire


  • 2 to 4 p.m.: Just Us Band

Information: townofbargersville.org

Franklin Fall Festival

When: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 3

Where: Downtown Franklin


  • 8 a.m. to noon: Farmers market, corner of Jefferson and Jackson streets
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Downtown street fair; community entertainment
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Kid’s zone, West Court Street; Heritage Day, Johnson County Museum of History
  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Humane Society of Johnson County hay rides, Monroe and West Court streets; caricatures, West Court Street
  • 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Lions Club Fish Fry
  • 11 a.m.: Entries due for raisin baking contest at Jefferson and East Court streets
  • 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Kids activities, Monroe Street
  • 1 p.m.: Parade
  • 3 to 4 p.m.: Silly Safari
  • 2 and 7:30 p.m.: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Artcraft Theatre
  • 7 to 10 p.m.: Tastes Like Chicken

Information: frankinparks.org

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church Fall Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 114 Lancelot Drive, Franklin



  • 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Kings of Columbus fish fry, prize raffles, 50-50 cash raffles and pull tabs, open mic night, beer, wine and snacks


  • Noon to close: Family fun activities open, including bounce houses, inflatables, cake walk, bungee jump and rock climbing; kids carnival games; hog roast; beer and wine garden; prize raffle, cash raffle and pull tabs
  • Noon to 4 p.m.: BINGO
  • 4:30 p.m.: Outdoor Mass
  • 6 p.m.: Live music; euchre tournament; youth and adult bean-bag toss tournament
  • 8 p.m.: Raffle winners announced

Information: saintrose.net

SS. Francis and Clare Fall Festival

When: 5 p.m. to midnight Sept. 25, noon to midnight Sept. 26.

Where: SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church, 5901 Olive Branch Road, Greenwood

Features: Petting zoo, $15,000 cash prize raffle, silent auctions, carnival rides, grilled foods, beer garden, Monte Carlo and more.

Scheduled events:

Sept. 25

  • 5 to 8 p.m.: Fish fry dinner 
  • 5 to 9 p.m.: Art after Dark indoor art fair
  • 5:30 to 7 p.m.: Sax Guy
  • 8 p.m. to midnight: So They Say

Sept. 26

  • Noon to 7 p.m.: Art in the Park outdoor art fair
  • Noon to 9 p.m.: Art after Dark indoor art fair
  • 1 to 3 p.m.: Greenwood Community Band
  • 4 p.m.: Life Teen Mass
  • 5 to 8 p.m.: Fried chicken dinner
  • 5:30 p.m.: Mass
  • 8 p.m. to midnight: Seldom Surreal
  • Midnight: Mass

Information: ss-fc.org

Edinburgh Fall Festival

When: Through Saturday

Where: Downtown Edinburgh

Features: Midway on Main Street carnival rides, face painting and food;

American Legion Post 233, 500 Memorial Drive, will host its annual fish fry from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Dr. Mark Smith and Edinburgh Family Dentistry will collect donations for the Edinburgh Cheer Fund and the Edinburgh Food Pantry. Everyone is asked to bring canned food items, toiletries, toys and gifts to donate.

Edinburgh United Methodist Church, 107 W. Campbell St., will have a kids pavilion, ribeyes, a potato bar and bake sale, junior high girls’ Bible study, collect food, a three-point shooting contest and an ice cream social.

The Edinburgh Lions Club, 112 S. Walnut St., will serve from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Outdoor garage sale, crafts and a farmers market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the MainSource Bank parking lot.

The parade will start at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Steve Hollenbeck Sports Complex and end at East Side Elementary School.

The queen will be crowned during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Who So Ever Will Community Church fish fry at the church 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Nineveh Heritage Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Nineveh Road and County Road 750S

Activities: Local and regional entertainment, kids games, silent auction, historical displays, and vendors.

Scheduled events


  • 4 p.m.: Jim Young
  • 6 p.m.: Brady Rund
  • 7:30 p.m.: The Finicky Pickers


  • 9 a.m.: Parade line-up west of the fire station
  • 10 a.m.: Performances at the corner by the Indian Creek High School band and dance team
  • Prizes given for Best Decorated Kids “Anything on Wheels” Entry and Best Pet Entry
  • 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Fish fry at the Nineveh Masonic Lodge
  • 11 a.m.: Car show at the post office
  • Noon: Gold Dust Band
  • 12:30 p.m.: Beanbag toss tournament, entry $20 per team
  • 2 p.m.: Canvas & Cupcakes! presented by Kira Brant of Kira’s Cottage. $15 for first family member/$12 for additional family members.
  • 4 p.m.: Dessert auction
  • 5: p.m.: Silent uuction closes
  • 5:30 p.m.: Jeff Caplinger & Friends puppet show

Information: ninevehheritagefestival.com

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.