Bonjour! This past weekend, my family and I attended Indiana Bastille Day, an amazing free family event that was held right in our hometown.
We ate crepes, participated in the French Revolution (well, okay, the Fishers RenFaire actors participated and we watched on with appreciation), learned a bit about French culture and history, and got to know our neighbors, local police force, and firefighters.
In an inspiring mix of global and local cultures, we saw a marionette show, learned about the game petanque, and were impressed by the many talents of our area’s local artisans that were on display. We discovered some new-to-us local businesses and we made some new friends.
What does a small town in Indiana have to do with the French Revolution, you ask? Well, admittedly, not much at first glance. But, here’s the most wonderful part about all of this: Indiana Bastille Day is a lesson about what can happen when friends and neighbors come together.
You see, Indiana Bastille Day began just a few short years ago as a celebration in a local couple’s backyard. The wife is from France and the family held a Bastille Day event at their home to share French culture with their friends and neighbors.
The event caught on and grew. And grew. And grew!
There is a YouTube video here with co-founder Calvin Hendryx-Parker from 2011 that explains a bit about how Bastille Day came to Fortville, Indiana if you’re interested in hearing the back-story.
This small town embraced the idea and, once people started coming together with their input and resources, this event became a local festival which drew an estimated 4,000 people this year thanks to the hard work of community volunteers, local businesses, and groups.
Isn’t that wonderful? Vive le Fortville!
What started as a gift from this family to their friends is now a gift from this small town to our state.
Judging by all of the smiles I saw, I think it is a gift that is very appreciated.
I think my favorite thing about going to Indiana Bastille Day was that, even though there were thousands of people there, the festival has kept true to its backyard roots. Neighbors calling out greetings to each other, families spread out on blankets (the grown ups sipping wine, the kids eating beignets and crepes), kids flying kites and riding bikes, lots of laughter and joking, and a very laid back and relaxed atmosphere in which we got to transport ourselves to France for an evening.
It just goes to show that some pretty fantastic things can happen when communities work together.
Local folks, do you want to know more about Indiana Bastille Day? Ready to mark your calendars for next year? Check out the Indiana Bastille Day website here.
And how was your weekend?