I can still remember going to Symphony on the Prairie as a child. I remember the warm nights, lying on a blanket in the cool grass, the sounds that floated over thousands of people gathered to hear great music. More than 20 years later, not much has changed, with the exception that you can now fly 350 feet in the air on the 1859 Balloon Voyage to get a birds-eye view. Before I start talking more about cherished childhood memories and new stories as an adult, I will explain the set up for those that haven't yet experienced this. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has been playing at Conner Prairie since Symphony on the Prairie began in 1983 under a small tent with just a few picnic tables scattered around. The ISO now plays the music under an amphitheater on the bottom of a small grassy hill, and people can rent tables or bring blankets or chairs to sit on or they can sit on the grass. The shell is facing the west, so the sun sets behind it as the musicians play. There are speakers set up all around, so no matter where you are, you can clearly hear every note they play. I have gone twice this season, the first time a few weeks ago, on the Harry Potter night (I left the baby at home and went with 2 great friends). We got there right at 8, so we were closer to the top of the hill. We set up camping chairs and a cooler filled with drinks and snacks and since it has been a while since we could just talk- we ended up quietly chatting the whole time. It was a blast. I also watched the balloon go up and down, up and down, all night long but couldn't convince the girls to go with me. The next time I attended was this past weekend - several co-workers and our families gathered together at a table close to the front and it was a blast! Our little guy boogied to the music of Billy Joel while my husband and I relaxed in our chairs. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when the saxophone player came out into the crowd! Symphony on the Prairie still has several weeks left in this season - if you are a local, you have go, and if you are a visitor, this is a must on your to-do list. To wrap up - I can say was as fun to experience this central Indiana tradition now as it was in 1987. Only this time, I get to help my own child have those wonderful memories!
Marsh Symphony on the Prairie
Friday, July 31, 2009 by Hamilton County Tourism Staff