The 52nd annual Fort Vallonia Days, featuring plenty of food, fun and more, will make its return this weekend after a year’s absence because of the pandemic.
“We are very excited to bring Fort Vallonia Days back for year 52,” said Amanda Lowery, secretary of the festival committee and its publicity chairwoman. The festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Lowery said visitors to Vallonia can expect many staples from years past, including the Driftwood Township Fire Department famous fish sandwiches, but there are some new additions as well.
Because the Joe Jackson Hotel at 2420 S. Main St. has undergone some renovations since the last edition of the festival in October 2019, Fort Vallonia Days merchandise will no longer be sold in a trailer in front of the historic structure.
Souvenir merchandise such as the annual Fort Vallonia Days crock, apparel and koozies will now be available inside the hotel, built in 1914 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With the help of the Jackson County Commissioners, the Fort Vallonia Days Association was able to receive $207,000 from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Those funds were used to help complete a renovation project that had been in the works for years.
Lowery said some new food trucks including Spanky’s, Kovener’s Korner and Rolling Pig Pen plan to set up shop.
While Vallonia only has a population of 388, it swells to about 30,000 each year during the festival.
The list of activities is lengthy and includes a pumpkin decorating contest with entries due between 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, the Mick Gray Memorial Trail Ride and Wes Hartley Memorial Muzzle Loading Shoot are scheduled for 9 a.m.
Registration for the baby contest starts at 9 a.m. in the Vallonia gymnasium, and it will begin at 10 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. the pumpkin decorating contest winners will be announced.
On the Fort Vallonia Days stage, Stars and Stripes Cloggers will perform at 11 a.m. Saturday, while the live band u4ia will play at noon and 2 p.m. leaving time from the parade at 1 p.m. Brownstown’s Dane Darlage will take to the stage at 3 p.m., followed by western dancing with the Country Kickers at 4 p.m. and karaoke with Tee Jay Entertainment at 5 p.m. The tomahawk and knife throw will start at 2 p.m.
Going into Sunday, there will be the annual community church service in the Vallonia Gymnasium. Vallonia Methodist Church serves as the host for the service.
At 11 am. registration for the team cornhole tournament will start with the competition beginning at noon. The horseshoe pitch begins at 12:30 p.m., with registration starting at noon.
The 5K run and walk presented by the Brownstown Exchange Club is at 1 p.m. with registration beginning at noon.
At 1 p.m., there will be a baking contest in the Vallonia gymnasium.
On the festival stage, Sparkles and Spurs Country Western Dancers start at noon and the Brownstown Central High School show choir will perform at 1:30 p.m., Preston Carter is playing classical solo guitar at 3 p.m., and drawings are set for 4 p.m.
For details about the contest and other activities, visit fortvalloniadays.com.