highlight of the weekend
entering its 47th year
Helen E. McKinney
CANAAN, Ind. (September 2011) Even though
the Pony Express did not run its route though Indiana, riders will carry
mail from Canaan to Madison during the Canaan Fall Festival. In its
47th year, one of the festival highlights is to preserve an important
piece of history.
The original Pony Express route ran from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento,
Calif., said Roger Mills. Mills is one of six re-enactors who will be
recreating the first mail carriers journey.
A Civil War re-enactor with the 19th Kentucky Cavalry, this will be
Mills third ride carrying mail from Canaan to the Madison post
office. Mills is organizing the riders this year, and it will be the
first time they are in period dress.
As a re-enactor, he has participated in re-creating train robberies
and has taken pack trips in Colorado and worked with horses in Alaska.
will liven up the Pony
Express Ride this year.
The original Pony Express began before the Civil War and
lasted only 18 months. Most riders were 18 years of age and under, the
youngest being 9 years old. Riders would ride 75 miles, changing horses
every 15 miles.
This year, the ride should be more entertaining, said Mills,
56. Riders actually have to be sworn in to carry the mail, which they
place in a locked leather pouch. The public has until Saturday morning
to get their mail postmarked with the Pony Express cancellation stamp,
The 47th annual Canaan Fall Festival runs from Sept. 9-11. The 45th
annual Pony Express Mail Run will be made on the afternoon of Saturday,
Sept. 10, and re-enactors will be camped on-site all weekend by the
community center. We plan to have a replica corral on site,
said Mills, along with hitching posts, stables and equipment. Children
get even get their photo made with a pony and ask questions of the re-enactors.
Mills, who lives in Austin, Ind., said this is a way of keeping
history alive. Its a glimpse into the past. I have a lot of respect
for the riders. Its a way to honor them.
The Canaan Fall Festival takes place right in the middle of Canaan,
said Carolyn Hankins, who coordinates the Pony Express ride and works
on getting the postmark approved from the U.S. Postal Service in Indianapolis.
Included in the family oriented festival will be a parade at 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 10, a pie baking contest, regional entertainment, frog-jumping
contest, old fashioned games, inflatables, artist exhibits and the Littlest
Papoose Contest on Friday evening.
For this years special pictorial stamp, several people where asked
to draw it. Jeremy Miller of Madison drew a horse that was chosen, and
Hankins added the appropriate wording to the cancellation stamp. Hankins
has been postmaster at Canaan since 2004.
Planning the Pony Express ride part of the festival is a big undertaking,
she said. Its such a part of history.
Gayle Ferris has been president of the Canaan Restoration Council, the
organization that puts on the festival, for the last 47 years.
For more information on the Pony Express
Mail Ride, contact Carolyn Hankins at (812) 839-4600. For more information
on the Canaan Fall Festival, contact Gayle Ferris at (812) 839-4770.
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