If you are looking for just the right place to throw a swanky fundraiser or a wedding reception of any size, four new event venues opening in Johnson County promise they have just the right setting.

The southside long has been home to several banquet halls that can be converted to the style best suited for your civic group, wedding or anniversary shindig. But the new locations under construction or recently opened say they have unique features and are in demand.

The Sycamore at Mallow Run, which can seat more than 250 people in its largest room at the Bargersville winery, is booked on Saturdays nearly through the end of the year. East of Franklin, a barn that opened in June on a family farm is booked every weekend through November and is hosting business retreats and training events during the week.

Construction is finishing at the barn at Bay Horse Inn in the Center Grove area, where a family decided to turn its property into an event venue that has a wooded feel but can handle hundreds of guests. And a historic garment factory south of downtown Franklin is undergoing a massive overhaul to become an event venue that can host parties for 500 people, if not more.

“We knew there was a need for this,” said Karen Brandon, who handles marketing for Bay Horse Inn. “We knew we had something going on here.”

Each location says it is carving its own niche in terms of what brides-to-be, event planners, fundraisers and businesses are looking for.

At the Bay Horse Inn, you won’t share the Stones Crossing Road property with any other events going on at the same time. If you have your wedding or reception at Bay Horse, you get the feel of a destination wedding in Brown County or a wooded area, but the convenience of being close to home and interstates, for your traveling guests, Brandon said.

Most Saturdays through the fall are already booked, Brandon said.

If you pick the garment factory for your 2017 event, you can be assured that you’ll have plenty of space and lots of activities for your guests before or after your festivities, Billy Bemis said. The property is being redeveloped by Bemis Group with financial incentives from the city of Franklin.

“The size alone is the one thing we (the community) don’t have,” Bemis said.

People who come to the garment factory for a festival or event can pick from the downtown’s restaurants, shopping, historic theater and bars.

“They might otherwise not know that Franklin had those opportunities and amenities,” Bemis said.

Plus, the public has lots of interest in seeing historic structures revived and given new life, he said.

The Sycamore at Mallow Run can host wedding receptions, business presentations, galas and even answered questions about hosting prom in the spring. An entrance area is ideal for a cocktail hour. Another room can host showers or birthday parties, said Sarah Shadday, marketing coordinator for the winery on Whiteland Road.

The winery knew Saturday would be the most in-demand day to host events, and expected Friday would be a close second.

What the planners have learned since opening this summer is that more people want to host Sunday events, such as a brunch-style wedding, she said.

“We’re really pleased at the mix of events,” Shadday said. “That’s really what we wanted.”

The winery decided to add The Sycamore because of the growing demand in recent years to host more weddings. Operating the winery was the primary business. They spent two years visiting venues across Indiana and learning about the amenities and pricing, and focused in on offering a quality space for customers, Shadday said.

Jenny Mowrey had been going to event venues for 10 years when she delivers flowers she and her business partner arrange for weddings and anniversaries. She knew what she liked, and what she didn’t, about each space.

She built a barn with reclaimed wood, using old and new materials to create a unique space on a family farm on Hurricane Road east of Franklin that can host her farmers market, business events and wedding receptions. The Barn at Crystal Spring Farm opened in June and is booked every weekend through November, Mowrey said.

“This is on our farm,” Mowrey said. “It’s a beautiful backdrop for a wedding. You don’t need a lot of extra decor because it is beautiful.”

Backyard weddings are what prompted owner Amanda Cottingham to build a barn on her family’s property in the Center Grove area to create Bay Horse Inn. The facility has elegant touches throughout.

“It’s a beautiful experience away from anywhere else,” Brandon said. “It’s not your typical event venue you have to decorate.”

Author photo
Michele Holtkamp is editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mholtkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2774.