Indiana Bastille Day in Fortville – July 13

Calvin & Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker, founders of Bastille Day in Fortville.

For the third consecutive year, a unique event known as Indiana Bastille Day is being held on Saturday, July 13, from 5:00-11:00 p.m. in Fortville’s Landmark Park. Bastille Day is recognized as the French national holiday and is celebrated much like the Fourth of July with fireworks, music, and food but with a Parisian feel. The event is presented this year by and organized by Six Feet Up, a Geist-based company owned by Geist residents Calvin and Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker in conjunction with Alliance Francaise. The event is a free family event that offers a taste of French culture right down to the temporary French street names.

Bastille Day is celebrated in France but is also celebrated in other countries. Typically, those celebrations are small groups of people who have some sort of ancestral or cultural connection to France. In fact, that is exactly how Indiana Bastille Day started. Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker moved to Fortville with her husband, Calvin, a native of New Palestine, after the couple met and worked together in San Francisco. Gabrielle grew up in Burgandy, France, a town the size of Fortville, and was feeling nostalgic for her hometown after the 2009 Fourth of July celebration. Her desire was for the couple’s young sons to experience some of her country’s traditions. Since they were not able to travel to France, they decided to create the event at home. The couple invited friends and neighbors to experience French cuisine, music, fireworks, and their back yard celebration swelled to a crowd of 70. The reaction was favorable and since they outgrew their home, the idea to share Bastille Day with the town was born.

Bastille Day historical actors are on hand throughout the day to enlighten attendees on the significance of this day in France.

Indiana Bastille Day’s humble beginning from a small back-yard crowd has grown steadily to attracting 2,000 people from as far north as Fort Wayne and as far south as Louisville, Kentucky, but has not lost the relaxed back yard feel. You will feel that you have stepped into the heart of a small town in France with the park setting as you stroll along the famous “L’Avenue des Champs Elysees,” taste French wines and Indiana beers, listen to an authentic French singer, watch a Petanque tournament, and enjoy a variety of French and American cuisine. There will be costumed performers who will provide a dimension of French history to the event. And if you speak the French language, they invite you to do so. There will be plenty of activities for young children including an opportunity to make a candlelight lantern and participate in the traditional lantern procession at dusk. The celebration concludes with a choreographed laser light show sure to please all ages.

Calvin shared, “I think this was the last thing that Fortville expected! But I think the thing that is important is that it is about the enjoyment of all things French. You don’t have to know the language to enjoy French food, play Petanque, or enjoy French music and the activities that are going on at the event.” The event provides local vendors as well to offer a variety of activities and experiences to blend both cultures.

The couple is so grateful for the partnership with the town of Fortville and has worked hard to create an event that all Geist-area residents will not only enjoy, but they will make a beloved family tradition for years to come. What once started as a desire to share Gabrielle’s heritage with their children has turned into a day for the entire community. Come to Bastille Day, enjoy your neighbors, and experience a bit of French culture. You won’t be disappointed. Check out the website for further details, click here.

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