Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

September 7, 2012

Bonneyville Mill Festival this weekend

BRISTOL — Bonneyville Mill Celebration turns 30 this year. This old-time country fair on Saturday and Sunday offers up crowd favorites — a variety of musicians, vocalists and dancers and plenty of crafts and food.

For most of the 3,000 visitors to this two-day celebration, one event will be completely new.

“I’ve been around since day one of the festival,” said Clint Yeager owner of Bonneyville Carriage and Wagon Rides. “We had a pony pull at the first celebration.

Yeager helps with the celebration and other Bonneyville Mill events and provides tram rides from the parking area to the festival site. He was instrumental in bringing the pony pull back to Bonneyville.

“Just last year I went to one along State Road 4,” Yeager said. “My family and I, we just laughed and laughed and had a great time.”

Yeager introduced a few people at the Parks Department to the event.    

“Do you think I’m right?” asked Yeager after the ponypull ended. “Everyone agreed — it was a lot of fun!”

Yeager isn’t quite sure how many teams will show up. There are no entry fees, prizes or advanced registration.

“Word gets around, it’s a pretty popular event,” Yeager said. “We may have as many as 20 teams. These guys just do it for the fun of it.”

The three classes are divided by pony height, 34 inches and under, 38 inches and under and 42 inches and under. Pony teams pull cement blocks on a steel sled.

“These animals are real athletes,” Yeager said. “They train every day and pull about every Saturday.”

The pony pull begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday only.

Each day begins with an early bird pancake and sausage breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. No admission is charged for visitors who arrive before 9 a.m. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., admission is $3 per person or $7 per carload.

Food offered throughout the day includes ham and beans, fresh roasted corn, homemade pies and authentic homemade root beer.

Crafts and demonstrations include spinners and weavers, basket makers and wood workers. Many of the crafts are for sale as are variety of handmade items from area vendors. Fresh, locally grown produce is for sale at the Celebration’s Farmer’s Market.

Like any old-time fair, Bonneyville Mill Celebration has many children’s games and activities including rope making, pioneer toys, candle dipping, panning for gold, sack races and tug-o-war.

Musician, vocalists and dancers take to the stage throughout the two-day festival. New to the celebration is At Eaz Quartet, an a cappella quartet with a combined 40-plus years of singing barbershop harmony in Sweet Adelines, International. At Eaz performs on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Other entertainment includes The Heartland Country Cloggers, The Strung Up String Band, Drop the Dawg, The Gustafson Zook Family, Small Potatoes, Suite Strings, Red Tail Ring, Michiana Shape Note Singers and The Goldmine Duo.

Bonneyville Mill, the oldest continually operating grist mill in Indiana, is open both days of the event. Cornmeal, buckwheat and whole wheat flour ground fresh at the mill is on sale. Free tours and grinding demonstrations are given throughout the weekend. The gift shop will also be open.

The celebration is 2 ½ miles east of Bristol on C.R. 131, south of Ind. 120.

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