The Glorious Fourth at Conner Prairie: Smoke Balloons, Muster Cakes, and Patriotism for the Whole Family

Have you ever wondered where the American Independence Day traditions came from? Surely there’s a historical context behind all the red white and blue bunting, the extravagant parades, the multicolored spectacle of fireworks, and the face painting? Well, as every Fishers, Indiana resident knows, there’s only one Fishers attraction that functions something like a time machine. What better way to discover the roots of the Fourth of July than to head to the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, the bastion of everything 19th Century in Fishers, Indiana. This year for the Fourth of July, Conner Prairie will be hosting its Glorious Fourth event, bringing every citizen of Fishers back to the 1800’s to experience how Americans celebrated their independence in those days: you might be surprised to find out it wasn’t so different from the bunting and parades we have today.

Promotional video for the Glorious Fourth Independence Day celebration at Conner Prairie Living History Museum in Fishers, Indiana


There’s tons to do for Fishers children and their adult counterparts at the Glorious Fourth celebration at Conner Prairie. Indianapolis sports lovers can see where America’s past time got its start by playing a game of 1800’s style baseball. Ongoing events throughout the day include a Science Lab on windmills at the Welcome Center, a scavenger hunt and a mock signing of the Declaration of Independence near the Balloon Kiosk (kids can put down their own John Hancock on one of the most important documents in American history), a watermelon seed spitting contest, a hands on construction project of a pottery shop, and fun with baby animals at the Animal Encounters Barn. But besides these ongoing activities, the day is chock full of scheduled events, each different from the one before it.

Video of fireworks going off during a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra during the Fourth of July at Conner Prairie Living History Museum in Fishers, Indiana


The White River Guard will be running militia drills near the Golden Eagle Inn, starting at 10:00 a.m. Fishers children can also gather ’round the Storytelling Cabin for traditional Lenape legends at 11:30. Participants in the Glorious Fourth can fire a blank round from a Civil War era rifle, sample a few of Mrs. Curtis’ muster cakes (otherwise known as “Election Cakes”), explore the Trackless Forest with fur trader Duncan McKinnen, take part in the singing of patriotic songs and a reading of the Declaration of Independence in the grove behind the school house, do si do through a barn dance, make candles, earn familial respect by dominating the sack race, hit a bulls eye at the Tomahawk Throwing Contest, or even launch a smoke balloon, the 1800’s version of fireworks.

Video of Dave Smiley (from the Smiley Morning Show in Indy) firing a Civil War era rifle at Conner Prairie; guests at Conner Prairie’s Glorious Fourth event in Fishers, Indiana can also fire a rifle


The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performing at Conner Prairie in Fishers, IndianaFor a true Fourth of July celebration in traditional historical style, visit the Conner Prairie Living History Museum this Monday, July 4, 2011 for their Glorious Fourth party, which will take visitors back to a time when America had only recently freed itself from the shackles of British rule. Indianapolis music lovers can stick around after the Glorious Fourth for a patriotic edition of Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, in which the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will be performing the “Star Spangled Symphony.” There’s something for everyone at the celebration of United States independence and history that is the Glorious Fourth. Tickets to this Indianapolis event are $14 for adults, $13 for seniors over 65, $9 for Indianapolis children ages 2 to 12, and free for members of Conner Prairie and kids under 2. For groups of ten or more, tickets run $10.50 a person for adults and $7 for kids and teenagers. Don’t just go to the standard Fourth of July parade in your small town’s downtown area (unless it’s downtown Indianapolis‘ Fourth of July celebration, which is well worth it): go back in time with Conner Prairie for the Glorious Fourth.

Conner Prairie Living History Museum Presents the Glorious Fourth
Monday, July 4, 2011 from 10:00 to 4:30
Tickets: $14/adults, $13/seniors, $9/children 2-12, FREE/members;
Tickets for groups of 10+: $10.50/adults, $7/youth
Event Homepage

Conner Prairie Living History Museum
13400 Allisonville Rd
Fishers, IN 460238

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