BY AMY LYNCH
PHOTOS BY JEREMY HOGAN
In the quaint southwestern Indiana town of Ferdinand, the Rosenvolk German Medieval Festival honors the region’s proud culture and heritage with music, storytelling, demonstrations, costumes, authentic German cuisine, and artisan vendors.
The third annual Rosenvolk Festival (this year Oct. 20 to 22) distinguishes itself as a
German Renaissance faire (most other Renaissance faires are English in theme). Catherine and Daniel LeBlanc conceived the event; the couple originally met at a Renaissance festival in Ontario, Canada 17 years ago. “We moved to the United States for the sole purpose of starting a Renaissance festival,” Catherine said. “However, when we landed in Dubois County into a very German community, we wondered if a traditional English festival would fly here.”
When a homeschooling group LeBlanc participated in several years ago expressed interest in wanting to organize a fundraising event, she knew she’d found the opening she’d been waiting for.
“One of the mothers said, in no uncertain terms, that it had to be a German Renaissance festival, and that’s how the event evolved,” she explained.
Rosenvolk translates to “people of the rose,” a name inspired by a friendship Catherine’s mother shared with a German family in her Canadian homeland.
“My mother was very fond of roses,” LeBlanc described. “While she was alive, we’d have 20 rose bushes of different varieties growing on our property at any given time.”
Impressed with the beautiful Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, home to the Sisters of St. Benedict, LeBlanc approached the property to ask about the possibility of holding the Rosenvolk event there. The festival took place on the campus grounds the first year and will continue at the 18th Street Park in Ferdinand this fall. In 2019, the faire will move again to a new permanent Dubois County location in order to accommodate its increasing attendance. LeBlanc estimates Rosenvolk will welcome between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors this fall.
“As we grow, we’re going to evolve into a full German Medieval village we’re calling Grunwald with a 50-room castle hotel, a jousting arena, and a non-denominational church for weddings,” she said.
Among this year’s Rosenvolk highlights, visitors can expect to enjoy interactive games and activities, full-contact jousting featuring four-time national champion Shane Adams and his Knights of Valour troop, mounted archery, blacksmithing demonstrations by Butch Sparks, and apothecary presentations from Jennifer Plumm. Douglas Resenbeck, a Jasper native, is slated to bring his “A Fool and His Family” performance to the faire all the way from his home in San Francisco.
“During his time in California, Douglas and his family have been performing at Renaissance faires throughout the state,” LeBlanc said. “He’s so excited to be joining us this year! His act is based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales with a fun and unusual twist.”
Oakley the Faerie, Ezarauck the Dragon Wizard, Lady Violet, and other costumed characters will be on hand to entertain young guests, and food vendors, craft beer and mead will be available to help guests keep up their strength.
This year, LeBlanc brings culinary historian Josh Emmons on board with the goal of eventually launching an old-world mill and culinary school on the permanent Rosenvolk site.
A selection of craft vendors proposes plenty of opportunities to take home interesting souvenirs such as handmade candles, soaps, jewelry, leather goods and stained glass. The Masquerade Ball takes place on Saturday night with music by the Forgotten Clefs, an ensemble from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music; dance instruction; and games common to traditional Royal Court “masques” of the past.
The festival concludes at 6:00pm on Sunday, October 22.
“There are a lot of wonderful festivals around our area, but the combination of people coming to the event in Medieval and Renaissance garb, the entertainment, the music, and
the vendors make Rosenvolk a uniquely fun interactive experience,” LeBlanc said.