Dozens of county groups benefit from Pioneer Festival, co-chair notes

Dozens of Huntington County organizations - encompassing hundreds of individuals - benefit from the annual Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival, says festival Co-Chairman Jennifer Scalf.

"A lot of people don't realize that this is a fund-raiser," Scalf says of the festival, which is in its 37th year this year.

While the amount of donations sponsors are able to put back into community projects varies from year to year - and with the weather - Scalf says the 2011 festival brought in $21,458 in proceeds.

All proceeds are used to support historic preservation projects and organizations in the community.

More than $5,600 was awarded to Huntington County students in the form of scholarships, Scalf says, with additional funds contributed to the Miss Huntington Scholarship Program.

Several contributions benefitted programs of the Huntington County Community Schools, including a summer speech program, Varsity Singers, coloring books for all first-graders during Speech and Hearing Month in May and assistance to the speech and hearing departments at Andrews, Flint Springs, Northwest, Lancaster, Lincoln, Crestview, Riverview and Huntington North.

Community celebrations also received contributions, including the annual fireworks display sponsored by the American Legion and the Heritage Days parade.
Arts-related projects included the Hoosier Art Salon, Huntington County Children's Choir, Huntington County Historical Society, Huntington Junior Historical Society, LaFontaine Arts Council, Historic Forks of the Wabash, Pulse Opera House and restoration projects at the New Huntington Theater.

Contributions also went to a variety of agencies serving children, including the Boys & Girls Club, School Child Emergency Fund, the Head Start program through Huntington County Extension, the 4-H fair board, Kids Kampus, McKenzie's Hope, Youth for Christ and the Youth Services Bureau.

Residents with disabilities were served through contributions to the Altrusa Club for its Christmas party and Pathfinder Services.

Social service agencies benefitting from festival donations include the Council Against Domestic Violence, HAT (Huntington Area Transportation) and the Huntington County Free Health Clinic.

Contributions also went to Huntington County Emergency Management, Huntington Humane Shelter, Huntington City-Township Public Library, Relay For Life and the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary.
Agencies are invited each spring to submit requests for funding.

Festival sponsors are the Huntington County Junior Historical Society, Phi chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority and Friends of the Festival.

This year's festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23, at Hier's Park in Huntington. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, with a Sunday morning worship service at 9 a.m.