Sun Fights Back as Rocky Ripple Art Festival Tries to Close Out the Summer

The sun beat down on the Rocky Ripple Festival in Hohlt Park last Saturday as artists of all kinds came to display and sell their art.

Going on 18 years, the Rocky Ripple Festival is dedicated to closing out the summer with a celebration of local artists and musicians, with entrance completely free of charge.

The day also marked the 90th anniversary of Rocky Ripple’s incorporation as a town.

Proceeds from raffles, food, booth space and activities were given to the Rocky Ripple Parks Endowment Fund to finance the festival and the community.

Upon entering the festival, attendees were greeted by a barrage of colors, from a purple bus to a blue haired boy shoveling sand out of a giant mound.

Without a cloud in the sky, temperatures ranged from the mid-80s to the low-90s as the sun shined on cars parked in the lawns of Rocky Ripple residents.

Six bands filled the hot air with folk, rock and country music, including the Silver Dollar Family Band and Sunny Meade.

Festival MC Tracy Fouts, on stage with Tim Brickley and The Bleeding Hearts as she reads off the winners of the raffle.

Festival MC Tracy Fouts, on stage with Tim Brickley and The Bleeding Hearts as she reads off the winners of the raffle.

“I thought the bands this year were particularly notable,” Dhyana Raynor said. “For that the fact that at least one member of [each] band was either a Rocky Ripple resident or a property owner in Rocky Ripple.”

Raynor was the Festival Coordinator of the event, and has been involved with the festival since 2004.

“At that time I was interested in bringing artists to the festival, who were just a handful of artists. I think, maybe, 12 artists.”

This year’s festival hosted over 80 artists.

As each musician finished their turn, the next was introduced by Tracy Fouts, the MC of the festival.

“This is actually my fifth year volunteering,” Fouts said. “My first year as the MC for the festival, but I have done raffle tickets in the past.”

The raffles, which gave out gift cards to local restaurants, could be purchased for $3 for one ticket, or $5 for two.

Fouts has been a resident of Rocky Ripple for 22 years.

“I've definitely seen more in the way of community participation both in Rocky Ripple and outside of Rocky Ripple. Our booths, our food court, we didn't have a food court before.”

Attendees had their choice of all sorts of food and beverages, whether it was alcohol from the Broad Ripple Brew Pub or Ice Cream from Lick Ice Cream.

“I was hoping it would be warm enough for the Ice cream vendor to have a good day,” Raynor said. “Because we have had some weather in September where it's been on the chilly side.”

A maze of booths housed 76 different artists of all different media, all trying to sell their art.

“Art should be something that is presented,” Fouts said. “What we'll do is we'll allow you the avenue to purchase something if you see it from one of our vendors.”

Painted gourds, homemade soup, electronic flowers in jars, and painted cutouts of Indiana were among the various forms of art found at the festival.

Brenda Jalaie’s selection of photography for sale.

Brenda Jalaie’s selection of photography for sale.

Within the maze sat Brenda Jalaie.

“I have a booth of photographs or items made that include my photos on them,” Jalaie said. “This is something I do for fun, like a hobby for me.”

Photographs of classic cars, Disney World, and downtown Chicago were among the many subjects that made up her rows of photography.

“This is me in photoprint. My life that I'm living, the places that I go, the thing that I'm seeing as I’m seeing them.”

Jalaie is a part-time art teacher at Zionsville Community High School.

“This is a chance for me to kind of be myself and be a person that isn't tied to being a mom or being a teacher, but just be something people don't really recognize.”

Jalaie will be showing her work again at the Monument Circle Art Fair on Oct. 7.

“The turnout this year has been phenomenal,” Fouts said. “Usually it takes a while for it to build up, but I have seen in the past years where the crowd gets big quick, but by the end of the evening, it's a huge crowd.

“Next year, I'd like to bring in a reggae band,” Raynor said. “To my knowledge, Rocky Ripple Festival has never had a reggae band.”

“We can definitely grow this as more and more people come and more and more get the word out,” Fouts said. “It's gonna grow it, but the space is then gonna become a concern.”

“If they can control the weather and make it not so hot, that would be awesome,” Jalaie said. “But you can't do that. So it is what it is.”

The festival is expected to return in September next year.