Haunts & Jaunts: Southport Spring Festival

Southport Spring Festival 2017

Southport High Schools Indoor Percussion performs.

   Small town Americana retains firm ties to the past, yet at the same time continues to open its door to the influences of a large bordering city. Welcome to Southport!

   Southport was established in the early 1830s, becoming one of the first Marion County communities to incorporate into big brother Indianapolis in 1853. In 1969 the small town made the decision to be an excluded city within, the then, Uni-Gov proposal consolidating Indianapolis and Marion County governments. While now just lying on the southern edge of Indianapolis, Southport continues to retain a unique perspective and individuality.

   May 13, the annual Spring Festival, was an exhibit of what small town in Indiana can offer in the way of food (carnival style), jewelry, apparel, crafts, music, children activities and various services. A troop of clowns wandered the closed Derbyshire Road as Southport Police officers and Explorers mingled and rubbed shoulders with the public. The weather was ideal. The slight chill of the morning was replaced quickly by the warmth of the sun. Sweaters and jackets came off. And the crowds arrived.

Firehouse Subs, from left, Dani Young, Jim Guilliford and Kylen Stevens.

   My wife Laura and I manned a shift at the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) booth, giving out information on how to handle emergencies, and to hopefully recruit future team members. The Kettle Corn booth next to ours produced a constant cadence of popping corn while directly across from us was tempting baked offerings from the Southport United Methodist Women’s Mission Projects. I settled for a deep fried Twinkie and smiled contently while watching folks stroll by. There were the squeals of children scampering about the playground and arcade games, plenty of dogs of all variety being led on leash and lots of smiles.

   I visited with old friends from the Perry Township Historical Society and stood mesmerized watching the Southport High School Indoor Percussion “Time For Swing” perform. (I also play drums – probably to the chagrin of my neighbors). Laura shopped for jewelry and drank Lemon Shake-ups. Our shift ended. I went home to cut grass. Laura stayed a while longer.

   The Southport Spring Festival started with humble origins in May of 2014. Each year it has grown larger in scope; an open air venue with an eye directed towards the future. Much like the town of Southport itself! And 2018 will be no different. If you missed it, there’s always next year.

Bring in the clowns! Photo by Laura Hinton