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Fri, Oct 31, 2014 06:08 PM
Issue of October 29, 2014
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The Native American Color Guard, above, stands at attention as one of the opening presenters at the 15th annual World on the Square Saturday in downtown Corydon. Photos by Alan Stewart

'World' could come to an end

Drizzle didn't keep festival-goers away

August 13, 2014 | 09:07 AM

A membership drive by the Ku Klux Klan in Corydon in 1999 helped start Community Unity, a grass-roots group of citizens who developed a plan to unite the community in a spirit of peaceful conflict resolution. A year after the KKK's visit — which was deemed a failure — the first World on the Square took place on the square in downtown Corydon, with the goal of encouraging children and youth to respect and appreciate people with diverse backgrounds.

Fourteen years later, despite a steady drizzle that was followed by steamy temperatures after rains gave way to sunny skies, Community Unity's goal was still shining bright as hundreds of people visited several booths, watched a variety of presentations and ate ethnic food at Saturday's 15th annual World on the Square.

Julia Meyer, 4, the daughter of Chris and Lindsey Meyer, uses an umbrella to avoid rain while watching bagpiper David Stewart perform on the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand.
Karolyn Mangeot, who co-chaired the first WOTS, said she was amazed at the crowd that turned out despite lousy weather conditions.

"I think that's a tribute to the parents and their willingness to bring their kids out," Mangeot said. "I spent the entire time handing out passports and prizes, and I'm always stunned at how seriously kids take learning and learning about other countries."

To start the day, bagpiper David Stewart squeezed out a few selections, then the Native American Color Guard presented colors. Other entertainment that followed included Raqia Middle Eastern dance, a demonstration by Rick Haines' Harrison County Tae Kwon Do School, Bomba y Plena dance and Salsa Rhythms.

Children were able to visit different booths "around the world" and learn facts that could be written on a passport. Once the passport was complete, children received a prize.

"I even had kids come up and say that the people in the Ethiopia booth weren't there, so they weren't able to write down what the native language there was," Mangeot said. "The most exciting thing about World on the Square is that kids are really enthusiastic about learning other cultures."

Another popular spot were wooden cutouts where children could get their pictures taken in various costumes and receive a free photograph. Due to printer trouble Saturday, photos are being kept at the Blaine H. Wiseman Visitor Center in downtown Corydon and can be picked up during normal operating hours. There also were games from around the world and art projects for children to complete.

Those who visited Saturday may have experienced the final World on the Square. The festival is not slated for 2015 due to a 10-month renovation on the square and organizers are having difficulty finding people willing to help organize the event.

"I think what will determine if there's one held in 2016 is if people come forward as planners. We have enough volunteers from Corydon Presbyterian who set up the tents and volunteers on the day of World on the Square, but it's the planning and the publicity that has largely been the same people for all 15 years," Mangeot said. "The square is going to be closed next year, and we just feel like that's the perfect space to hold it. I think it would be a wonderful project for a spirit club from one of the high schools or something. We'll just have to see. We just know that we can't do it again. We'll have to see where it goes from here.

"It's just amazing to look back and think that the kids who came to the first one are probably in college or working. I think we've made a difference. From the horrible storm in 2011, to it being hot or pouring rain, people keep coming back."

Twitter: @TCD_alan

  1. print email
    idea for the next WOTS
    August 14, 2014 | 12:33 PM

    Instead of doing it on the square in the future how about you do it at the fair grounds so that way there is more room for the families and more parking available and if it rains there is shelter under the grandstand and in the buildings this is just an idea for in the future.

    Zachary Miller
  2. print email
    August 14, 2014 | 12:44 PM

    I was caught under the grandstand at this year's Harrison County Fair when it rained. While it provided some protection, it was not dry under there.

  3. print email
    World on the Square
    August 17, 2014 | 10:45 PM

    Seems this town gets something good, like World on the Square, and something happens to end it. The same can be said about the Old Settlers Day - when it first started and it was educational and fun for adults and kids. There are several other events that have fallen by the way side, too.
    Corydon, you want more tourists and ways to generate money for the area, then do something positive about it.

    Cheryl Proctor
  4. print email
    August 18, 2014 | 01:53 PM

    "Seems this town gets something good, like World on the Square, and something happens to end it."

    Yeah, it's that the people who head it run out of steam because no one else wants to step up and lead. If there's one thing I've learned from living here it's that 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work, and the 90 percent who don't help out are eager to enjoy the free ride.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email