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Monroe County Fall Festival begins today, features Education Day on Friday



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People pet a snake on a man's head at the 2018 Monroe County Fall Festival in Ellettsville, Indiana. Education Day at the 2019 festival is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Marci Jane Lewis Park in Ellettsville. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

It’s that time of year again for the Monroe County Fall Festival and, with it, Education Day. With the festival set to start the third Thursday in September, Education Day is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Marci Jane Lewis Park in Ellettsville.

Originally known as Kids’ Day, Education Day works with state education standards to provide a fun learning experience for children outside the classroom in an engaging, hands-on approach, according to the Monroe County Fall Festival website. 

The day offers a wide variety of STEM activities and programs designed to make learning fun, including an interactive demonstration of medical devices sponsored by Cook Medical, a smoke house and fire truck run by the Ellettsville Fire Department and bow shooting with Backwoods Adventures.

Community integration is a large part of the message behind Education Day, said Holly Netherly, chairperson of Education Day and vice president of the festival.. 

“I think all generations can learn from each other,” Netherly said. “Can’t we all learn something every day?” 

Netherly said she expects about 1,300 kids from local elementary and home school programs to attend. 

“Everything at Education Day is completely free,” Netherly said. 

She said the experience is free because of the efforts of donors, sponsors and volunteers.

Education Day is part of the long-standing tradition of the Monroe County Fall Festival, with on-and-off appearances since 1935. Since 2006, however, festival president Diana Choate said it hasn’t missed a year.

The festival runs Thursday through Saturday and features events such as live performances from local choirs, bands and a parade. 

This year’s theme is “harvest the fun.” That, Choate said, is the goal.

“It is to make sure that every family and everybody who comes has a good time,'' Choate said.

Choate said she is looking forward to many aspects of the festival, including live pony rides. She also said she has set aside an area for local school groups to create stands or attractions to fundraise, a resource she said she hopes receives more attention this year.

“It has always been based on being family friendly and wholesome,” Choate said. “You can bring anyone from a toddler to a grandma.” 

A full list of activities, sponsors and other important information about Education Day and the festival can be found on the Monroe County Fall Festival website and the Education Day Facebook page. 

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