2010 Aukiki River Festival
to pre-Aukiki River Festival webpage
Aukiki Festival brings today into contact with
August 29, 2010
BY CHARLES M. BARTHOLOMEW , POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT
PLEASANT TWP. -- Perfect Saturday weather, popular historical
demonstrations and not too many mosquitoes made the Kankakee Valley
Historical Society's third annual Aukiki River Festival the most
A sign on the side of the old Collier Lodge building that read HELP
SAVE THIS BUILDING greeted festivalgoers with the purpose of the all-day
event, the restoration of the last standing hunting club from the days
of the Grand Kankakee Marsh.
"Aukiki" is an Indian name for the river. "I'm sure
it's bigger than last year. We had over 2,000 people then," said
society member Mary Hodson in the last hour.
She wore a vintage 1930's dress and hat with a feather as a Chicago
cousin of lodge owner Flora Collier, who was portrayed by Rosie Nelson
Jay Gordon, 11, of Valparaiso, was among the throngs of children who
were drawn to the hands-on activities, including Native American crafts
She was was all smiles after besting a male competitor in the
tomahawk throw. "He said, 'I can't believe a girl beat me,' "
Re-enactors' tents stretched twice as far into the woods along the
river as last year.
A special addition this year were members of the 42nd Indiana
"That's a bullet probe," regimental surgeon Mike Fowler of
New Palestine said to a curious visitor inspecting his medical
"Two-thirds of Americans who died in the Civil War succumbed to
diseases, mostly diarrhea and dysentery. The medicine cabinet here is
stocked with the 52 drugs used by the Army," he said.
University of Notre Dame anthropologist Mark Schurr drew his own
crowd while at work in the three-foot-deep "unit" he and
volunteers had dug in July during their seventh summer of excavation at
the southeast corner of the lodge.
"We went down one more level today. I think we've got the
eastern edge of the cellar of the log cabin. We found some pottery from
the 1840's and some brass straight pins, and this looks like burnt
plaster," he said, rubbing a powdery substance between his fingers.
The star of the show was John Dillinger's Tommy gun, displayed (but
not fired) by Porter County Sheriff David Lain, who motored over to the
festival in Jim Lambert's 1934 Ford from the film "Public
Enemies" after riding in the Kouts Pork Festival parade.
Aukiki Festival brings
history to river valley
By Susan O'Leary Times Correspondent | Posted: Saturday, August 28, 2010
KOUTS | Lucy, a 10-year-old black
, napped in the shade of the trees lining the
on Saturday at the third annual Aukiki Festival.
A re-enactor and Lucy's owner, Jude Rakowski explained the importance
of dogs in the lives of the Indians who once made the area their home.
"A lot of people have dogs and they are interested in Native
Americans, but they may not have made this connection," said
The annual festival -- named after the American Indian name for
the Kankakee River -- highlights the history and culture of
, archeological excavation in the area, and the restoration of the 1898
Collier Lodge at Baum's Bridge south of Kouts.
John Hodson, president of the Kankakee Valley Historical Association
that organized the fest, said the event has experienced some growing
"We thought last year was a hit," said Hodson, directing
overflow parking after the main lot filled at noon. "I knew we were
going to do well. ... but be careful what you wish for."
Hodson said this year's festival expanded to include the Civil War
"General Lew Wallace kept a steam launch and a houseboat about
100 yards from here," said Hodson, explaining the Civil War
Seth Nichols, of
, demonstrated blacksmithing, while James Dumas smoked bluegill and
venison over a wood fire pit. Mother and daughter team
and Cindy Deardoff sold homemade soap and maple sugar candy.
Porter County Sheriff David Lain displayed the 1934 Ford featured in
the movie "Public Enemies" and John Dillinger's Tommy gun.
Pam Rymanowicz and James Lay, of
, stopped at the festival on a camping tour around
"I'm looking for cast iron cookware," said Rymanowicz, who
heard about the fest after camping at
"It's nice to see a little festival like this," said Lay,
who held Jack Russell terriers Jack and Skip and a black lab, Molly, at
the end of a leash.
28, 2010, 8:34 pm
took the family out about 2:30 this afternoon and it was ....WONDERFUL!
It was kind of like a miniature Feast of the Hunters Moon.
Thanks much and I look forward to spreading the word about it.
shows how the region's early residents lived
September 13, 2010
BY JANNA ODENTHAL,
A Potawatomi woman placed her belongings on a deerskin hide in front
of her wigwam. She prepared to trade beans, gourds, syrup and other
items for the clothing and conveniences offered by fur traders who
passed through her territory.
This historic re-enactment at Collier Lodge, the site of a continuing
archaeological dig, was videotaped by a group that visited the site
during the recent Aukiki River Festival, along the
south of Kouts. They will be writing documentaries to be compiled into
Club Muse Media Magazine, a production of the not-for-profit Family
Folklore Foundation. The videotape and magazine will be available to the
public this fall.
The fur traders arrived in their birch bark canoes, bringing with
them ready-made items from town. They checked their traps for coyote,
skunk, fox, raccoon, beaver and other animals whose fur was a commodity
on the East Coast.
Darlene Martinez of
studied history in college. She said she is a visual person and enjoyed
watching history come alive.
"It's amazing how much work women had to do back then,"
said. "It would take an Indian woman two weeks to make a shirt.
When they traded with the French, all they had to do was trade for a
shirt instead of skinning the hide and everything."
Terry Haas of
, portrayed a French voyageur that day. A black kettle hung from a
tripod of branches over the fire near his campsite. He placed his canoe
on its side and stretched canvas across it to form a tent. He wore a
workman's bonnet, a linen shirt, a black silk scarf, a leather pouch, a
knife, leggings and a breechcloth. He carried a drinking cup made of
wood to dip into the river.
Steve Leite of
portrayed a man who used the Collier site as his hunting grounds. He
placed a lead bullet in a patch of cloth and rammed it down the barrel
of his flintlock gun. He poured gunpowder from his horn to an area
beneath the flint stone to catch the spark when it struck against a
metal plate. The resulting explosion propelled the bullet toward its
"Soldiers in a battle had to fire three times per minute. A
hunter doesn't have those concerns," Leite said. "He's not
firing on command; he just has to make an accurate shot. When I aim, I
don't have a time limit."
Meg DeMakas is president of the Family Folklore Foundation.
She said the film and magazine should be available around Halloween.
Julie Larson of
brought her son, MacKenzie, 12, and sister, Mallory Demoff.
"Last time Dr. Meg had an outing like this, I had such a great
time," Larson said. "I liked learning something new about
history. I liked learning about the duck hunter and that kind of
information that falls through the cracks."