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Conner Prairie launches 'adult series'



Sausage making is just one of the hands-on workshops and classes offered in Conner Prairies Prairie Pursuits series.
  • Sausage making is just one of the hands-on workshops and classes offered in Conner Prairie's Prairie Pursuits series.

Both the Children's Museum and Conner Prairie have been expanding their adults-only programming lately. You may have seen, for instance, Dan Grossman's piece about roaming the Children's Museum during Adult Swim a few weeks back.

But I think Conner Prairie gets takes the prize for quantity (we'll leave you to judge quality) with the introduction of two series of programming designed for visitors who have achieved the age of reason: Prairie Plates, comprised of three catered, many-course dinners; and Prairie Pursuits, consisting of classes in disciplines both old-timey (sausage making, forge welding) and newfangled (iPhone photography).

Contact 776-6006 or head to for more information. Prairie Plates events are for 21+ patrons, and we'd suggest checking in with the folks on the Prairie for information about age restrictions for Prairie Pursuits events.

Conner Prairie promises additions to the schedule as time goes by, including a progressive dinner through 1836 Prairietown with Neal Brown and a whole-hog butchering workshop with Chris Eley from Goose the Market.

Here's the current events lineup, taken from the press release:

Prairie Plates

Joseph Decuis Dinner at the Chinese House
April 10, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
$150 (tax included)

Join the chefs of Joseph Decuis, a farm-to-fork restaurant in the Fort Wayne area, for a four-course, sit-down, Wagyu tasting dinner matched with fine wines at Conner Prairie's Chinese House, an oriental-themed house rumored to be a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Cash bar available for additional drinks.

Chef JJ on the Covered Bridge
May 2 and 3; doors open at 6:15 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m.
$75 (tax included)

Indulge in a four-course dinner on Conner Prairie's covered bridge in the 1863 Civil War Journey experience area, prepared by Chef JJ and his Big Green Bistro. Join us Friday, May 2, or Saturday, May 3, for a long-table dinner as Chef JJ cooks up his modern takes on classic American cooking. Enjoy music and also interact with Conner Prairie's skilled interpreters, who will be in costume for the event. For tickets, go to Ticket price includes admission, family-style dinner and one drink. Cash bar available for additional drinks.

Prairie Plates at Sunset
June 19, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
$50 (tax included)

Watch the sun set over Conner Prairie as you enjoy small plates from Goose the Market, ciders and meads from New Day Meadery and desserts from Sugar. Tour the historic Conner House, stroll through our heirloom garden, and discover the colors and fibers used in the Loom House. Once the sun has set, you are invited to explore the beauty of the night sky with the help of high-powered telescopes and mission specialists from Spaceport Indiana (subject to weather). Cash bar available for additional drinks.

Prairie Pursuits

Forge Welding
March 22, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
$130 and $120/member

Join Conner Prairie's own expert blacksmith, Nathan Allen, to learn the basics of forge welding in a coal forge. Participants will learn fire control and fluxes, chain link welding, bunch welding and lap welding. Previous blacksmithing experience preferred but not required. All tools and materials will be provided.

Sausage-Making with L.E. Kincaid & Sons
March 29, 1pm to 4pm
$60 non-members/$55 members

Learn the ins and outs of sausage-making with Dave Rollins, owner of L.E. Kincaid & Sons Meat Market. Guests will grind, mix, stuff and cook several modern and historical recipes. Whoever said "it's better not to know how sausage is made" never tried this fun and engaging workshop!

Draw Like Clark, Audubon and Darwin: Flora and Fauna Illustration
April 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The 19th century was a time of exploration and discovery! William Clark (of Lewis and Clark), John James Audubon and Charles Darwin helped unlock the secrets of the natural world through their journals and sketches of flora and fauna. Indianapolis Art Center instructor Bianca Mandity will lead participants on their own expedition through the historic areas of Conner Prairie. She will show participants how to draw on location using historic, rare animal breeds, local wildlife and plants as their subject matter.

April 12, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 4, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
$72 and $60/member

Join local photographer and iPhoneography expert, Rad A. Drew, in this four-hour workshop where participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of iPhone photography. Explore the possibilities of your phone and learn how to use a host of apps to create remarkable images. Drew will guide those attending through a simple, yet effective approach that allows participants to see what can be done, watch how it's done and then practice those same skills. After the initial learning session, the group will tour the Conner Prairie grounds and photograph on-site, applying all the newly acquired skills.

Basket Weaving
April 12, 9 a.m. to noon
$60 and $55/member

Get your artistic juices flowing in Conner Prairie's textile studio. Learn basic basket weaving techniques by weaving and sewing a simple pin-cushion basket. This is a great class to learn elementary skills in both basket weaving and sewing. All tools and materials included in the cost of the workshop.

Survival Skills
May 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$60 and $55/member

Channel your inner Bear Grylls or Katniss Everdeen and discover how the wisdom of yesterday's pioneers can help you survive the wild of today. Learn how to build a shelter, find water, forage for food and make fire in this unique six-hour workshop. This training will keep you from getting voted off any island or help you survive a zombie apocalypse.

Abstract Landscape Painting with the Indianapolis Art Center
June 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
$60 for all guests

Using the stunning landscape of the natural prairie lands as a muse, students will create their own works of abstract art in the style of a famous abstract artist. Examples include: Van Gogh, Soutine, Wolfe Kahn and Fauve. Students will also get a short art history lesson about the artist and the movement they represent with skilled instructor Kerri Ammirata.

Fun in the Forge
June 7, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$95 and $90/member

Be a blacksmith for the day! Learn to heat metal in a coal forge and shape it on an anvil. Participants will have the opportunity to complete several simple projects, such as barbeque skewers, a flint and steel fire starter (with instructions on how to use it) and a dinner bell. All tools and materials will be provided.

Arts and Armsmaking Workshop
Oct. 5-10
Various times and costs

Conner Prairie's hands-on workshops provide you a rare opportunity to work closely and directly with some of the nation's best craftsmen. Small class sizes in well-equipped facilities will allow you to develop basic to advanced skills in everything from horn work, engraving, axe forging, leather work, knifesmithing and more. All materials are included in the class price; tools are provided for some classes. For classes, dates, times and cost, please visit


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