In Cass County, there are really four good reasons for sponsoring and attending an event in its second year.
The Chief Logan’s Port of Living History Festival at France Park that begins today offers young people an entire day devoted to history education about the place where they live, first and foremost. Second, the festival represents an appropriate use for France Park, the only county-owned park, and a space that reflects the ethnic history of Italians baking bread in outdoor ovens to a French Canadian fur trader who settled just west of the park. Third, it celebrates the heritage of the community and puts its development over the course of the 18th century into perspective. And finally, it gives the community a festival — something it has struggled to sponsor, support and maintain as a part of community identity.
Cass County parks officials deserve credit for pushing this concept forward and committing to it for at least another year. That is not always an easy thing to do. In Tippecanoe County, a much larger community built the Battle of Tippecanoe Outdoor Drama Theater to tell the story of the era portrayed here this weekend. It flopped. That facility is now used for more modern purposes.
Yet history lives on through events such as Canal Days in Delphi and the Trail of Courage and Red Bud Rendezvous in Rochester. It is time for Cass County to be in league with its neighbors and to support the efforts to cherish local heritage.