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July 13, 2020

4/1/2020 2:03:00 PM
Sassafras festival victim of corona

The Sassafras Tea Festival and Civil War Living History has been sponsored by the Jennings County Historical Society annually since 1962. "It is unusual times," says Asher, festival chairperson. "The historical society's board of directors held on to the hope that the 59th annual event could once again announce the arrival of spring in Jennings County on April 25 and 26. However, with the seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic and mandated social distancing, which was extended to April 30, we had no choice but to cancel this year's event. The Civil War historians and first person interpreters are scheduled a year in advance for re-enactments in Indiana and other states. We couldn't hold the event at a later date since their schedules are already set for 2020. However, everything is on board for the 4th Saturday and Sunday in April 2021."

"Another aspect of the festival is the pie baking marathon and hot meals served at the museum. Not only is the tea festival the historical society's biggest history program, it is also the non-profit's biggest fundraiser to pay operating expenses for the museum, working blacksmith shop, 1882 Victorian pattern home and funding for history programs. "Cancelling the event is a huge deficit to our operating budget, but there was no other alternative at this time," explains Brad Bender, society President.

"We are all in this together and our priority right now is to follow the mandate and stay healthy until the pandemic passes."

Continuing, Asher announced the historical society is tentatively planning to reschedule the pie baking activity for later in the year.

Hopefully, the group will be able to proceed with its next event - the Town and Country Home and Gardens Tour which takes place the fourth weekend in June.

"We have a fantastic line-up of homes and gardens, which may include an historic barn. We are very hopeful that things will be on the upswing from the pandemic and life back to some kind of normality by then!"

For now, people can still indulge in "spring tonic."

The historical society has a lot of Sassafras roots and will have them available at the museum after April 30, Louise Malcomb, society Treasurer and her family donated roots from the family farm and long time volunteer, Dave Heilman, is donating a supply as well.

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