(Photo: Cindy Seigle on Flickr)
Tiny Rising Sun in southeast Indiana has become a growing destination when it comes to arts, culture -- and beans. Located on the Ohio River Scenic Byway and the Indiana Wine Trail, the community has worked hard to develop its burgeoning artist community, assisted by revenue from the Grand Victoria Casino.
The town’s historic downtown features a variety of art studios and craft shops—even a harp maker—housed in restored nineteenth-century storefronts. The Pendleton Art Center, located in a former hardware store, anchors the community’s arts district. The Center features “First Friday” studio walks the first weekend of every month. In fact, between Movies on Main and Music on Main Cruise-In Concerts the second and third Fridays of warm-weather months, it’s hard to find a weekend when something isn’t happening.
(Photo: Paul McClure on Flickr)
Rising Sun packs a lot more into a small space, including the highly interesting Ohio County Historical Museum, located in the former Clore-Whitlock plow factory. Exhibits cover local history, industry, even natural oddity in the form of a stuffed two-headed calf born on an Ohio County farm in the 1980s. Heritage Hall, in the restored 1832 First Presbyterian Church, hosts frequent concerts, lectures, dinners, plays, and movies. Obviously, history means a lot to Rising Sun. When CVS closed the town’s only pharmacy, officials recruited a privately owned drugstore to open in a restored historic building on Main Street (below).
This weekend (Oct. 11 & 12), check out Rising Sun during the 26th annual Navy Bean Festival. Each year, the festival draws visitors from across the region for fall foliage and entertainment along the Ohio River. The two-day event features art displays, craft vendors, stage shows, rides and games for kids, and -- of course -- lots and lots of homemade bean soup and cornbread.
After more than 20 years, festival cooks have perfected the signature bean soup recipe. Lucky for the rest of us, they’re willing to share. Festival visitors can buy 1-pound packages of navy beans custom packaged with the tried-and-true recipe and a history of the humble legume.
About Hidden Gems Indiana
Each week Indiana Landmarks uses insider knowledge to highlight historic places worth a visit, from the quirky to the sublime: small towns, neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, parks, cemeteries, scenic drives, museums -- you get the idea. Learn more about Indiana Landmarks at www.indianalandmarks.org.