By Chris Bavender
Nickel Plate Arts will coordinate three separate events from 11 am to 5 pm June 18 — the Maker Faire, the St. Michael’s Strawberry Festival and a Juneteenth Celebration.
“Nickel Plate Arts is contracted by the City of Noblesville to coordinate arts and culture activities within the Noblesville Cultural District,” Nickel Plate Arts Executive Director Aili McGill said. “As such, we work collaboratively with St. Michael‘s Episcopal Church to build our arts and culture components around their long-standing Strawberry Festival. We also work to bring together groups that want to celebrate Juneteenth and have offered them a featured space towards the center of our festival setup. ”
The Maker Faire offers handmade items by artists and artisans.
New this year is a section for Kid Entrepreneurs, made possible by a Hamilton County Community Foundation grant to support the development of resources and opportunities for those under 18 to show off and sell their handmade items.
Also on tap is the fourth annual Strawberry Festival, an event McGill said endures because of “the dedication of the St. Michael‘s Episcopal Church volunteers and our community‘s eagerness to enjoy a tasty treat on a hot, summer Saturday. ”
“The St Michael‘s team has boiled the process of serving 2,500 plus strawberry shortcakes down to a science, so the experience is fun, laidback and very delicious, ”she said.“ St. Michael‘s had to take a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown, but in 2021, they ensured success by adding a pick-up lane, which allowed people to work through the line more quickly and limited the amount of social contact required to participate. That pick-up lane worked so well that they‘ve decided to keep it for 2022. ”
For the second year, there will be Juneteenth activities on the Square. McGill said it was a goal identified by the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and something that no one else was doing in downtown.
“We decided that we needed to be a conduit to celebrate this holiday and to help tell the important history of Black culture in Hamilton County and Noblesville,” she said. “Indy Music and Wellness, Noblesville Diversity Coalition, the Hamilton County historian, Roberts Settlement, Be The Change Indy and Freetown Village are all contributing something to our Juneteenth celebration, so it will be both informative and really fun. ”
Visitors can also enjoy interactive live music from 11 am to 3 pm in the North Alley, actors from Freetown Village will be interacting with guests and reading the Emancipation Proclamation, The Fishers Maker Playground will be coordinating hands-on activities in the East Alley and demonstrating some of their tools, and the Hamilton County Artists’ Association will have plein-air painters set up in the South Alley, painting live, as well as a canoe from the White River Canoe Art Project, which artist Walt Thacker is painting for permanent installation by the White River Alliance.