Welcome to Indiana’s Territorial Past, located in Vincennes and Knox County.

Indiana’s first city is the perfect getaway for history enthusiasts.

‘History’ Category

Weekend Happenings

Kickoff the Easter weekend at Bicknell’s Friday Night Flashlight “Eggstrvaganza” located at Northside Park in Bicknell. This FREE event is open to children ages 10 – 17 and will begin at dark around 8:30pm. Participants must bring their own basket and flashlight. Enjoy candy and prizes! For more information, please call 812.381.4583.

On Saturday April 20th hop on down to Gregg Park and join the fun at the Community-Wide Easter Egg Hunt! Children will be divided into four age groups, registration begins at 10:00am and the hunt starts at 10:30am. Register for great prizes and bring your camera for photos with the Easter Bunny! For more information please call the VPRD Office at 812.882.1140.

National Parks Week will be celebrated at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park on Saturday as well.  From 11am to 4 pm Park volunteers will be offering a variety of demonstrations throughout the day including historic weapons demonstrations, cooking, and many more. The day also serves as National Junior Ranger Day and Junior Rangers are invited to the park to complete the parks Junior Ranger activity sheet and earn a badge.

Weekend Happenings

STEP OUT TO THESE GREAT EVENTS THIS WEEKEND…

This last weekend of March features two family-friendly events you won’t want to miss.  On Saturday from 9:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday from 9:00am – 4:00pm, the Indiana Military Museum is hosting a living history event paying tribute to “The Great War”, WWI.  Hundreds of WWI artifacts will be on exhibit including a 100-yard re-created WWI trench, artillery, vehicles and living history displays. Battles will be re-enacted both days with representatives of Allied and German troops. FREE admission to outdoor events! Visit the Indiana Military Museum website for more information on the museum and upcoming events.

Also on Saturday, the rangers of George Rogers Clark and volunteers are providing the public with an opportunity to fly your kite into the sky at Kite Day! Participants are welcome to bring their own kites or make one at the park, kite kits are limited. Contact the park staff at 812.882.1776 extension 210 with any questions.

Come to see these impressive museums and what they have to offer!

Celebrating George Rogers Clark and his Accomplishments

Kick off the 240th anniversary celebration of the capture of British-held Fort Sackville by Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark, the public is invited to three events hosted by George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.

A program on early Vincennes financier, Francis Vigo will be presented by Dr. David Nichols on Friday, February 22. During the program, Dr. Nichols, an Associate Professor of History at Indiana State University will focus on Francis Vigo and the vital role that he played in Clark’s campaign. The presentation will take place at 6:30pm (ET) at the George Rogers Clark Visitor Center, 401 S. 2nd Street.

In 1779, Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark captured British-held Fort Sackville in Vincennes. The public is invited to take part in the experience of one of the greatest feats in the American Revolution on Saturday, February 23. During the Clark March, participants will have the opportunity to engage in the annually-held five-mile walk or 12-mile walk.  For more information and to reserve your spot on the buses for either walk, please contact the visitor center at 812-882-1776 x. 1210.
Also marking George Rogers Clark’s great victory, the rangers of George Rogers Clark NHP invite the public to tour the battlefield of 240 years ago. This program will be presented at 5:00pm (ET) on Saturday, February 23 behind the George Rogers Clark Visitor Center. Tours of the battlefield will be conducted highlighted by talking with different participants involved in the battle. A historic weapons demonstration will be included in the program.
The 240th Anniversary of the siege and the surrender of British Fort Sackville ceremony will be conducted 11:00am (ET) in the rotunda of the George Rogers Clark Memorial, 401 S. 2nd Street. The program includes the presentation of colors by the Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard, patriotic tunes being sung by Juliet Gilchrist of Vincennes University’s Music Department, and a presentation pertaining to the Clark Memorial by National Park Service Rangers Joe Herron and Jason Collins. The public is invited to the free event.

The Annual Clark Day Luncheon will follow directly after the ceremony at St. Francis Xavier/Old Cathedral Parish Center (106 S. Third Street). The cost of the luncheon is $13/person; a drink and dessert are included with the meal. For tickets, please call Dennis Latta at 812.726.5333. *Reservation deadline is Saturday, February 23, 5:00pm.

2018 Knox County Watermelon Festival

The Annual Knox County Watermelon Festival is this Friday and Saturday at Patrick Henry Square, Vincennes, IN. The festival is a free two-day event filled with contests, concerts, and of course, FREE watermelon! There will be food booths set up both days of the festival. Be sure to stop by either Friday or Saturday for a great family-friendly event!

The festival begins Friday the 3rd at 5:00pm and on Saturday the 4th at 9:00am. The schedule will proceed as listed:

Friday

5:00pm – Vendor Booths Open

  • Food and craft vendors will be lining the street both Friday and Saturday.

5:00pm – Carnival Opens

  • Bring your kids down to Patrick Henry Square for some kids attractions and carnival rides!

5:30pm – Miss Amazing Pageant

  • The mission of Miss Amazing is to provide an opportunity for girls and young women with disabilities to build confidence in a supportive environment. Come out and cheer these amazing ladies on!

7:00pm – Free Concert by Jared & Luke

  • Jared & Luke are a Knox Co. favorite! Be sure to stay for their show Friday night.

Saturday

10:00am – Baby/Toddler Contest

  • All babies are cute, but sign your baby or toddler up for the Baby/Toddler contest to kick off the festival Saturday morning.

1:30pm – 3:30pm – Free Concert by Heath Eric & Molly G

  • Heath & Molly present a professional, passionate, and authentic blend of Rock and Americana. You won’t want to miss this performance!

3:30pm – Seed Spitting Contest

  • Think you can spit watermelon seeds further than your friend? Bring your competition and spit those seeds as far as you can!

4:30pm – Pet Contest

  • Do you have the cutest pet in Knox County? Be sure to register for the Cutest Pet Contest! All proceeds go to the Vincennes Animal Shelter.

6:00pm – Miss Watermelon Pageant

  • The purpose behind this pageant is to award on deserving female high school student a one-time $500 scholarship for their chosen field. This scholarship is made possible by the Illiana Watermelon Association.

The Farbest Foods BBQ Grill Off will take place all day on Saturday.

  • Think you’re BBQ is the best of the best? Test your skills at the Farbest Foods Grill Off!

 

Also be sure to check out The Vincennes Brewing Co. this weekend! They will be releasing their Watermelon Wheat Beer that is made with melons from Mouzin Brothers and helped made by the Knox County Home Brewers Association.

For more information on how to enter these contests, check out the official 2018 Knox County Watermelon Festival page on Facebook, hosted by the Knox County Chamber of Commerce!

13th Annual Red Skelton Festival!

The 13th Annual Red Skelton Festival is this Saturday, July 21st at the Red Skelton Museum. Join us in celebrating the comedy genius that was Red Skelton. Festivities begin on Friday at 6pm.

Friday

6pm –

A VIP Meet and Greet Reception with Mrs. Lothian Skelton will be held from 6-7pm in the museum gallery including appetizers, iced tea and lemonade. The tickets can be purchased for $20 here, but hurry because only 60 tickets will be sold!

7pm –

The Red Skelton – America’s Clown Award will be presented to this years winner, Carol Burnett via video acceptance on Friday night at 7pm.

7:15pm –

A family friendly comedy show it to follow with John Pate. Through the years of 1991-1997, Pate performed with Red who called him “The funniest young comedian I know!” this performance is at The Red with $10 admission; $5 for kids 12 and under. You may get tickets for this show here!

Saturday

10am –

Begin the day off with a Beginner Balloon Twisting Clinic. You can register online for $10 here.

11am –

Be sure to get your seat for one of the funnest parades that Vincennes has to offer! The parade will run down Main Street and finish up at the Red Skelton Museum.

11:45am –

Storyteller, Stephanie Holman, will be presenting “Red Skelton: Good Night and May God Bless.” at the Lab Theater.

12pm –

Enjoy stage performances with the Clowns and Camp Kids directly after.

1pm –

Do you love donuts? Join in on the Donut Eating Contest at the Outdoor Stage.

1:30pm –

Catch John Pate in action again for Remembering Red at the Lab Theater.

2pm –

A crowd favorite, the Bath Tub Race will take place on Red Skelton Boulevard.

3pm –

The day ends with the Clown Band Performance on the Circle at 3pm. The museum will close shortly after, at 5pm.

You may purchase a festival button for $5, which is good for museum entry on Saturday the 21st.

Vincennes Rendezvous

The 42nd Annual Rendezvous will be held next weekend on May 26-27, 2018. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the American Revolutionary War period! This year’s theme is the French Marines. All of the old favorites are back including Creek Fried Potatoes, the Amazing Budabi Brothers jugglers and more!

New this year is a French citizen of Vincennes camp who will portray the early French of Vincennes. This will also include some French Marines who were the military force on the frontier. Vincennes founder Sieur de Vincennes was a French Marine officer and a statue will be dedicated in his honor on Saturday at 2pm on the Riverwalk located at 1st and Main Streets.

Battle re-enactments will be held on Saturday at 1pm and 4pm and on Sunday at noon and 3:30pm.

The ever popular candlelight tours of Grouseland and the Vincennes State Historic Sites will take place on Saturday evening.

Two day advance buttons can be purchased at the Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce and local banks. Buttons also serve as a pass for shuttle service to the State Historic Sites and Grouseland during the event.

For more information visit, https://www.spiritofvincennes.org/

Six More Weeks of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which means we can expect six more weeks of winter weather.  To help you pass the time we have put together a list of Winter Activities to consider.

Visit 1972 for laser tag, video games, rock climbing, foot darts, and more!  Admission is charged.

Bundle up and hike the trails at Ouabache Trails Park or take a stroll on the Riverwalk.

Take in a production at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center or other local theater.

Visit the Red Skelton Museum and you’re sure to leave laughing.  The fully interactive Museum explores Red’s life and career as well as American Comedy.

Warm up with a coffee drink at I’Mpressed Coffee Shop.

Take a swim at the YMCA during open swim times.  Membership is required, visit their website or app for swim times.

Feed your creative side at one of the downtown art galleries.  Exhibits are changed regularly and many pieces are available for sale.

Check out a new book at the Knox County Public Library.  Stay and read or cuddle up with the book at home.

Brush up on your Indiana history by touring our local historic sites, George Rogers Clark NHP, Grouseland, and the Vincennes State Historic Sites.  George Rogers Clark has free admission.

Meet a friend at the newly opened Vincennes Brewing Company or Windy Knoll Winery for an adult beverage!  Must be 21 to visit either location.

Tour the Indiana Military Museum for look at military artifacts spanning the Civil War through current military engagements.

Ladies can get some retail therapy shopping downtown at several of the new boutiques and some of their old favorites too!

Stop by the Visitors Bureau, 779 South 6th Street, to pick up 2018 Indiana Festival or Travel guides and explore our great state!

US Mint Quarter Ceremony in Vincennes

The United States Mint will release the 40th quarter in the America the Beautiful collection.  A ceremony marking the coin’s release will be held at the Riverfront Pavilion, 102 North 2nd Street, Vincennes on Tuesday, November 14th at 10am with a coin exchange immediately following.  The Indiana quarter features George Rogers Clark and his men crossing the flooded Wabash.  Clark’s daring surprise capture of the British Fort Sackville is considered one of the greatest feats of the American Revolutionary War.  The capture successfully limited British control of the region and was instrumental in the subsequent establishment of the Northwest Territory and American expansion west of the Appalachians.  This is the second quarter celebrating Indiana released by the US Mint in recent years.

A Coin Forum will be held by the United States Mint the evening before the ceremony on Monday, November 13th at 6pm at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Visitors Center.   The park is located at 401 South 2nd Street in Vincennes and features a massive granite memorial located on the former Fort Sackville.  The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm.

 

Sieur de Vincennes

The significance of the French influence on Indiana is that Sieur de Vincennes was commissioned to build a trading post on the Wabash River.  About 1730 he found a perfect place where many Indians crossed the river, the old buffalo trace.  This area became increasingly important to New France in keeping their connection to Louisiana open and keeping the British and their Indian allies out.

The Piankeshaw Indians also followed Sieur de Vincennes down the Wabash River and lived next to his trading post.  The fort that surrounded his house and barracks was completed in 1732.  His first daughter was also born that year making them the first family of this post.  Sieur de Vincennes is also responsible for the first European settlers coming here to settle.  The first Catholic parish in 1734.

The Fort he built was the beginning of the city that would be named in his honor.  The city of Vincennes, would become the site of Fort Sackville where Hamilton surrendered and where the George Rogers Clark Memorial is today.

A local group is raising funds to erect a statue in honor of Sieur de Vincennes.  Postcards like the photo above and prints of the early Wabash River are being sold at the Visitors Bureau and other locations.  Individuals wishing to make a donation should be made payable to the VHAS-Statue and mailed to the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, P.O. Box 487, Vincennes.

 

Weekend Happenings

Begin your weekend on Friday morning by walking with a George Rogers Clark NHP Ranger down the Riverwalk.  The walk begins at the GRC Visitors Center at 10am.  Hear stories of George Rogers Clark and William Henry Harrison, landscapes and more.

On Saturday shop the Farmers Market for local produce, baked goods and more.  The market runs from 8am to 1pm at the Riverfront Pavilion.  The Vincennes State Historic Sites have a new exhibit on display at the Old State Bank, “Art for the Nation, WWI.”  The exhibit is open on Saturday from 9am to 1pm.  Wrap up the day with a concert at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. Rheas of Life, Family of Musicians will perform at 7:30pm.  The concert will also feature special guest appearances by Diana Steckler-Sacino, Melissa Merida, Dave Parman, Susie Jackson and Angela Cooper.  Tickets are $10/person and may be purchased by calling the Red Skelton Museum at 812.888.4184 or at the box office.