Smoked pork chops, parade entries, chalk art and live music could help attract area residents to Fountain City for Levi Coffin Days.

The 56th annual festival takes place from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, along and near U.S. 27. 

Highlights will include the parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, when Northeastern’s band, several youth organizations and a group of Jeep owners will proceed along the highway, plus food trucks, vendors, kids’ activities and live music.

Fountain City Lions Club organizes the event and again will grill smoked pork chops and thin-cut rib-eyes. Firefighters will offer homemade ice cream, and area businesses will offer treats such as roasted nuts, snow cones and kettle corn. 

Local bands will play throughout the weekend, with headliner Fire & Ice on Saturday night.

The sawdust dig returns both days, giving kids a chance to collect some spending money, or they can win prizes Saturday afternoon during a chalk art contest on the east end of Main Street.

Festival organizers are offering a scavenger hunt and prizes in cooperation with the Levi and Catharine Coffin House State Historic Site. More details can be found at the information booth in the middle of the festival area.

The festival pays tribute to the legacies of the Coffins, two abolitionist Quakers who provided transportation, shelter, food and clothing through the Underground Railroad to more than 1,000 freedom-seekers heading north. Community members contributed to their success, acting as lookouts to warn them when bounty hunters came to town.   

History Channel named the Coffins’ house at 201 U.S. 27 N. one of the nation’s Top 25 Historical Sites. In 2016, the Smithsonian named the interpretive center one of 12 new museums around the world to visit. 

Additional home tours are scheduled both days to accommodate festivalgoers.

The historic site opens at noon Saturday, which is delayed to accommodate the parade. Tours will be offered each half-hour beginning at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with the last at 4 p.m. Sunday’s tours will be offered at 10:30 and 11:45 a.m. and 12:30, 1:30, 3 and 4 p.m. Reservations are encouraged at 765-847-1691.

The festival happens to occur during International Underground Railroad Month, inspired by Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass escaping slavery in September.

The historic site offers a $2 discount throughout the weekend, reducing the regular admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and $6 for ages 3-17. No admission will be charged to pop into the interpretive center during the festival, but the only way to see the home is a guided tour.

In addition, the nearby Levi & Catharine Coffin Meetinghouse at 303 N. U.S. 27 will be open from noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Visitors can browse at no charge and hear volunteers discuss how the Coffins and other Quakers worshipped at that time. For more information, visit or call 765-962-4485.

A live performance, “To Do Right,” originally planned for 1 p.m. Saturday has been canceled. 

If you go

What: Levi Coffin Days

Where: Along and near U.S. 27, downtown Fountain City

When: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17

How to get involved: Applications from food trucks and other vendors will be accepted through Friday, and more information is available at or the Levi Coffin Days page on Facebook.   

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A version of this article appeared in the September 13 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.