Doors: 10:00 AM Starts: 12:00 PM - FREE! cover
10:00AM-4:00PM- CHILI COOK OFF (GROVE STAGE)
NOON-12:45- DOVETAIL (KUNKEL PLAZA STAGE)
NOON-1:15- NORMAN TAYLOR (MARKET STREET STAGE)
1:00-2:15- MAD MEN (KUNKEL PLAZA STAGE)
1:30-2:30- DE-JAM (MARKET STREET STAGE)
3:00-4:00- ERICA EVEREST (KUNKEL PLAZA STAGE)
3:00-4:00- JEFF CALVIN TRIO (MARKET STREET STAGE)
4:30-5:30- FULL HUNDRED (MARKET STREET STAGE)
5:00-6:30- BROTHER JOCEPHUS AND THE LOVE REVIVAL REVOLUTION ORCHESTRA (GROVE STAGE)
4:30-5:30- EVA KATHERINE (KUNKEL PLAZA STAGE)
6:00-7:15- ALL MIGHTY SENATORS (MARKET STREET STAGE)
6:00-7:15- TIMELESS BAND (KUNKEL PLAZA STAGE)
7:30-9:00- JAH WORKS – (GROVE STAGE)
7:45-9:00- MARTINI BROS (MARKET STREET STAGE)
8:00-9:00- MICHAEL ANTHONY SMITH & THE THEIVING GYPSIES (KUNKEL PLAZA STAGE)
“Kipona”, as traditions say, is a Native American term meaning “sparkling waters”. The term was used by regional tribes to describe how the waters rippled over the rocks in the portion of the Susquehanna River where John Harris had his ferry.
Since the turn of the Century, Labor Day has always been a time of celebration in Harrisburg, although the term Kipona was not coined until 1916. The first record of a special event occurring on Harrisburg’s Riverfront was in 1901 when the Harrisburg Athletic Club traditionally scheduled their largest state rival game on City Island. In that year, Harrisburg defeated Norristown 2-1 in 10 innings, with third baseman Harvey Taylor driving in the winning run.
Organized canoe races and a lighted-boat regatta were first recorded in 1904 and continued through 1923 when Kipona was cancelled due to financial reasons. It was the Labor Day after the 1936 St. Patrick’s Day flood that Kipona made its comeback. Needing a community morale boost after the flood and during the Great Depression, the Harrisburg Business Men and the Harrisburg Parks Department reintroduced Kipona to Harrisburg. A committee called the Harrisburg Kipona Club scheduled many event including canoe, speedboat and sailboat races, swimming races, a concert by the American Legion Band, a parade of athletes, decorated canoe and boat parade, and, of course, the grand finale fireworks. The 1936 Kipona was so well received that it has endured ever since.
The City of Harrisburg spent $1,500 on the 1936 Kipona and it drew 45,000 people. Today, the City of Harrisburg does not spend any tax dollars on Kipona and it draws over 300,000 people from all over the country. Still produced by the City of Harrisburg’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Enrichment, 2008’s Kipona uses corporate sponsorship dollars to produce what is believed to be America’s Largest Inland Waterfront Festival.
In 1927, historian George P. Donehoo stated, “The Kipona, it is urged, should be perpetuated as a Harrisburg institution, not only for the pleasure of the people of the city and the surrounding country, but also as an inspiration for the further development and adornment of the riverfront and river basin. It can be made a source of civic improvement as well as a unique civic institution.” Today, we still agree.