Support from members celebrated at annual Member Appreciation Day

More than 1,200 Conner Prairie members attended the annual Member Appreciation Day Saturday.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

Conner Prairie wouldn’t be nearly as awesome without its more than 7,000 members. To celebrate their support and say thanks, the museum hosted its annual Member Appreciation Day Saturday. More than 1,200 members enjoyed a free picnic lunch provided by corporate sponsor US Foods. After lunch, members enjoyed a host of games, activities and music. Young children also enjoyed making pinwheels as a craft activity.

“This was our fifth year honoring our members with Member Appreciation Day,” said membership manager Katie Ryan. “I have always thought of this event as Conner Prairie’s annual family picnic. It’s a great way to celebrate our families and say thanks for our members’ support.” Members also entered to win multiple prizes throughout the day, including family gift baskets, 1859 Balloon Voyage tickets, gift certificates and more.

Once lunchtime was over, members headed to the historic grounds where they threw a tomahawk in Lenape, enjoyed prairie nature, helped with farm chores and played games in Prairietown and joined the 103rd Regiment in Civil War Journey.

Noblesville artist creates whimsical image of animals flying in balloon for souvenirs

Artist Lesley Haflich of Noblesville created this image of Conner Prairie animals taking a balloon ride that is being used on souvenirs sold at the Conner Prairie Store.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

Noblesville’s Lesley Haflich has always loved to draw and paint. As an artist, she’s known for her vibrant and energetic impressionist oil paintings. At Conner Prairie, however, she’s known for creating the newest batch of souvenir designs that depict our 1859 Balloon Voyage experience.

In March, when the new outdoor exhibit and balloon backed by new corporate sponsor Reynolds Farm Equipment debuted, Conner Prairie Store Manager Elaine Molin approached Lesley to design a new print for balloon souvenirs.

“I put up a few paintings I had done of the Riviera Club on Facebook,” said Lesley, who was born and raised in Indianapolis and graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. “Elaine loved the color combinations I used.” Continue reading

Balloon pilot helps others soar to new personal heights

Eriel Etcheson (right) enjoys a host of thrills like motorcycle riding, sky diving and base jumping. That’s why she loves her job as a trained flight pilot aboard the 1859 Balloon Voyage experience.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

One day, a 5-year-old girl wanted to take a balloon ride for the first time with her mother. But once it came to actually boarding, the girl was scared. She didn’t think she could do it. Eriel Etcheson stepped up to the girl and reassured her.

“You never know what you are capable of until you try,” Eriel said.

She offered to take the balloon up to 20 feet and if at that point the girl was too scared, Eriel said she would land. But when they reached 20 feet, the girl wanted to go higher. So Eriel took her and her mother all the way up. “When that little girl got off her flight, she was on fire,” she said. “I was able to help her realize what she is capable of.” Continue reading

Interpreter set for move to England, pursuit of master’s degree

Interpreter Chris Kincaid will move to England on Sept. 6 and begin her master’s degree in food security and sustainable agriculture at the University of Exeter.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

Chris Kincaid has a passion for biology, particularly the natural production of crops and soil nutrition. “Right now I am reading a book about dirt for fun,” she said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me.”

Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in biology in 2013, Chris has planned to continue her education in hopes that one day she may become an agricultural researcher. On Sept. 6, she will move to England and begin her master’s degree in food security and sustainable agriculture at the University of Exeter in Exeter, England. Continue reading

Glorious Fourth: One great birthday celebration all day long at Conner Prairie

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

Today, the Fourth of July holds a special place in Americans hearts. It is a holiday filled with nostalgia: Family barbeques, sparklers, parades, ceremonies, patriotic outfits and of course fantastic firework shows.

The Fourth of July embodies the values that characterize this country and enlivens a spirit of liberty. There is no doubt that today an important day for U.S. citizens. But in the long list of holidays to be celebrated, this country’s birthday is often overshadowed by other holidays. Continue reading