Pioneer Festival entertainers focus on music, with a little magic thrown in

Hammer dulcimer artist Bob Hart leads off two full days of entertainment during the Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 and 24.
Hammer dulcimer artist Bob Hart leads off two full days of entertainment during the Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 and 24. Photo provided.

Eleven performers will provide non-stop entertainment for two days during the Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 and 24.

In addition to the stage shows, the festival will also be populated by wandering musicians and will feature multiple shows by two Huntington North High School groups — the Varsity Singers with its Civil War-era show and Masque and Gavel with its melodrama that proves good always wins out over evil.

Fort Wayne-based artist Bob Hart kicks off the festival on Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. Hart builds as well as plays the hammer dulcimer, a stringed instrument played with mallets. The dulcimer is thought to have originated in the Middle East about 900 AD and spread throughout the world.

Jenny Lane, the duo of Jenny and Lane Laffoon, has more than 30 years of musical experience and a repertoire that reflects America’s cultural heritage. Jenny Lane will perform both days of the festival at 11 a.m.

Ivory West, a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Pierceton with a rootsy guitar and jazzy vocals, is on stage Sept. 23 at 12:30 p.m.

Sunny Taylor featuring Colleen Phillips, based in Fort Wayne, brings an hour of folk-alt rock tunes to the stage on Sept. 23 beginning at 1:30 p.m.

South Bend-based Mar-ty Miles has a playlist that includes folk rock originals and acoustic interpretations of favorites by other artists. He performs Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.

Uptown Blue, a bluegrass band from Kentucky, closes out the day on Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. The band plays modern, traditional and original bluegrass music.

Singer-guitarist Jamie Olinger performs for his hometown of Huntington on Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. Olinger’s sound includes country, folk and gospel.

Following the weekend’s second performance by Jenny Lane, the Roanoke Rounders take the stage Sept. 24 at noon with bluegrass and old-time music.

Jim Barron, who began perfecting his magic as a 10-year-old at Hamilton Elementary School, brings his magic and comedy show to the festival on Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. When he’s not performing magic, Barron is part of the morning team at Fort Wayne radio station WBCL.

Grace Minnick, a singer-songwriter from Fort Wayne, has a folk-pop sound that incorporates elements of blues and jazz. She performs Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.

Oferle is a family band from Fort Wayne performing modern country and modern pop. The band is the final entertainer of the festival, performing Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m.

All entertainment is free after paid admission to the festival.

The Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hier’s Park and the Huntington County Fairgrounds, in Huntington. A nondenominational worship service will be held Sunday at 9 a.m.