Coming up starting Jan. 2, our 2016: Year in Review


Staff Report
The year 2016 was packed full of action and new experiences at Conner Prairie, from opening Treetop Outpost with its four-story tree house in July and setting an all-time attendance record for summer camps to welcoming the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay to our grounds and entertaining more guests at Headless Horseman than in any other year in the festival’s 33-year history. Starting Jan. 2, we’ll take a month-by-month look back at 2016 at Conner Prairie. Check back then and relive the year that was.

Deadline Jan. 6 for ages 10-18 to apply for 2017 youth volunteer program


Youth ages 10-18 can apply to be a Conner Prairie youth volunteer during the 2017 season now. The deadline to apply is Jan. 6.

Staff Report
The deadline for ages 10-18 to apply to serve as youth volunteers in Conner Prairie’s popular youth volunteer program in 2017 is Jan. 6.

The program teaches youth ages 10-18 personal development skills in a hands-on, immersive and fun environment. Youth volunteer in both historic costumes and modern clothes throughout the museum’s historic grounds, indoor experiences and more. Youth also volunteer at special events that Conner Prairie stages throughout the year. Continue reading

Inside suit, longtime volunteer marvels at children’s reaction, imagination


Volunteer Sandy Horner has portrayed the Gingerbread Man at Conner Prairie’s Gingerbread Jamboree for 12 years.

By Hannah Kiefer
At Conner Prairie’s Gingerbread Jamboree program, the Gingerbread Man isn’t a man at all. It’s longtime volunteer Sandy Horner, who has played the character from the very beginning.

About 12 years ago, Sandy began participating in Gingerbread Jamboree and before there was a Gingerbread Man costume, she was the cookie lady who greeted children in the program, pointing to a cardboard cutout that was the Gingerbread Man.

One year, the museum’s costume department created the Gingerbread Man costume. Then Sandy got a call asking her to be the one inside. Continue reading

Women’s volunteer group raises record $100K to support Conner Prairie


The Conner Prairie Alliance, a women’s volunteer group that since 1982 has raised funds to support the museum. raised a record $100,000 this year.

Staff Report
Sixty-one days. It took the Conner Prairie Alliance just 61 days to raise $100,000 this year to support the museum in the new year.

The woman’s group of nearly 100 volunteers surpassed the $1 million fundraising milestone last year by raising $85,000. This year’s total is a record for the Alliance, which formed in 1982. Three years later, the group opened the Apple Store at Conner Prairie and utilizes the time and talents of its members to operate the store each September and October.

The store sells hand-dipped gourmet caramel apples, cider slushies, fresh popcorn, apple pies, gifts, candy and many other treats. Continue reading

New Santa: Real role is to bring hope, joy to families, relieve stresses

blog1Ty Stover plays the role of Santa this season at Breakfast with Santa and Dinner with Santa.

By Hannah Kiefer
For Ty Stover, Conner Prairie’s new Santa, playing Santa isn’t just a job, it’s a passion. He first began portraying Santa in 1992, driven into the role by his memories of Santa visiting his family’s Christmas party every year.

“Seeing the happiness that he brought to the family and laughter has stuck with me my whole existence,” he said. For many years, he worked as Santa for various performing arts organizations. But in 2002, he began doing appearances as his “IndySanta” outside of that work.

“I realized that this allowed me to be who I thought Santa was,” he said. “There’s not anything wrong with other people’s interpretation of Santa. It’s just that I now had control over what I was asking people to believe.”

Continue reading