Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n19)
Rocky Ripple Festival and a little history - by Mario Morone
posted: Sept. 15, 2017
The annual Rocky Ripple Festival will be September 23, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This family-friendly event is free and a celebration of the arts for all ages.
With over 80 artists, six bands and an eclectic and wide variety of hands-on creative activities, the Rocky Ripple Festival is a casual day of fun and entertainment in a 6-acre park. The location is Hohlt Park, 840 W. 53rd Street, near Butler University across the White River Canal. Free street parking and free safe/secure bicycle parking are available with Pedal & Park.
In an interview with Festival coordinator Dhyana Raynor, she mentioned that her involvement with the festival began the year after moving to Rocky Ripple in 2001. "At the time it was a small event with about a dozen artists." Raynor who has loved and supported art most of her life, was inspired to get involved. Rocky Ripple resident Steve Hurt, a musician and sound technician offered to find bands and provide music for the festival.
"With each year, the festival has grown and expanded. A professional stage and tent replaces the original, ground level wooden platform. There is now a food, beer and wine court. The creative children's activity area has become a destination spot for families. There is much more. You'll just have to come to the festival and experience it yourself," Ms. Raynor mentioned.
"This year is especially significant," she said. "It marks the 90th year of Rocky Ripple as an incorporated town. To celebrate this historical year, each band will feature at least one Rocky Ripple musician."
Rocky Ripple resident and artist coordinator Megan Wright believes that her town is a unique community. "Per capita, it probably has more artists and musicians than most neighborhoods. The unique personality of the Rocky Ripple Festival grows out of the personality of the residents."
Raynor totally agrees. "It's an eclectic community. Going over either of the two bridges into Rocky Ripple, is like entering a time/energy warp. Listen to the theme song from The Twilight Zone (1962). Ok, so maybe I have an overactive imagination, but we do have bumper stickers that say 'Two ways in. No way out.' and 'I'm not lost. I live here.' that you can buy at the Rocky Ripple Community Association (RRCA) booth."
Be near the stage at 11 a.m. to hear singer songwriter Maren Huelsman, a young Rocky Ripple musician, kick off the festival. The bands, in order of their performance are: Philadelphia Phil (unique blend of blues), Americana (western and swing), Silver Dollar Family Band (handcrafted Americana), Andra Faye and Scott Ballantine (blues and jazz), Sunny Meade, David Linder and friends (acoustic roots), Tim Brickley and the Bleeding Hearts (high energy rock) and 3:1 with John Byrne (diverse high energy festival party music).
Food, beer and wine vendors include La Chinita Poblana, Punch Burger, Pita Pit, Wilson's Sweet Corn, LICK Ice Cream and the Broad Ripple Brewpub.
New festival events his year are a shaded ground stage for kid's interests, visiting Nigerian dwarf goats, witches from the Children's Museum Haunted House, and Trip (Butler's bulldog). The popular bubble bonanza, art station, face painting, bean bag toss, hooping, and hair spray color are returning.
The Rocky Ripple Festival continues to be a free event thanks to the generous sponsorship of local businesses and organizations. Key sponsors are Blue Herron Construction, Broad Ripple Brewpub, the Great Frame Up (612 N. Delaware and 62nd and Allisonville Road) and Good Earth. Additional support comes from the Meridian Hills Coop Nursery and Kindergarten School, the Riviera Club, the Children's Museum Guild and Global Gifts. More information is available at: https://www.facebook.com/RockyRippleFestival/
The RCCA provided some history about their area. RCCA has been in existence since November 12, 1948 when the first organizational meeting was held in the home of Mrs. William Smith. It was voted on to call the group the Ladies Auxiliary of the Rocky Ripple Volunteer Fire Department. Their purpose was to assist the firemen and the volunteer fire department morally and financially. The first order of business was to raise money through a bake sale to buy a hose for the fire department.
By July of 1950, a town hall had been built by local residents with money and support from the Ladies Auxiliary. Through the next four decades, the Ladies Auxiliary raised money to fund the volunteer fire department as well as provide social events for the residents of Rocky Ripple. By the end of 1989, and with the dissolution of the Volunteer Fire Department, the Ladies Auxiliary adopted new bylaws on February 6, 1990 and renamed the organization the Rocky Ripple Community Association.
In March of 1998, the Community Association incorporated for the purpose of becoming a Not for Profit organization in order to apply for grants, increase revenues and thus be able to provide additional support to the Rocky Ripple community. As indicated by the mission statement, the Rocky Ripple Community Association's mission is to provide social, cultural, recreational, and educational services to the Town of Rocky Ripple and its residents, and in so doing strengthen the bonds of civic unity and provide for the common welfare of all residents.
The annual festival is hosted by the RRCA, a not-for-profit organization and produced entirely by volunteers. All proceeds support the parks in the town of Rocky Ripple, a "community within the city."