Sandburg Summer Stage

7 actors in colorful shirts and blue jean overalls act on a stage
Flat Rock Playhouse apprentices performing Carl Sandburg's "Rootabaga Express!"

NPS Photo

2024 Season

Rootabaga Express!
Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:15 am.

June 13 - July 27 (no plays July 4 & 6)

Thursday June 13 & Saturday June 15
Thursday June 20 & Saturday June 22
Thursday June 27 & Saturday June 29
Thursday July 11 & Saturday July 13
Thursday July 18 & Saturday July 20
Thursday July 25 & Saturday July 27

Carl Sandburg created his own version of American fairy tales when he published Rootabaga Stories (1922) and Rootabaga Pigeons (1923). He replaced the European fairy tale cast of princes, princesses, castles and kingdoms with icons American children would recognize -- taxi-drivers, movie actors, skyscrapers, prairies and automobiles. Rootabaga Express! brings the stories of the Five Rusty Rats, Bimbo the Snip and more to life.You'll meet new characters and journey farther into the Village of Liver and Onions and Sandburg's imagination than ever before.

The 30-minute plays are appropriate for all ages and held weather permitting in the amphitheater (check our Facebook page in case performances are moved to the garage near the Sandburg Home or cancelled for severe weather). These shows are supported by the Flat Rock Playhouse and the Park Store, operated by America's National Parks.

Young visitors who attend the plays can earn a limited edition Rootabaga Junior Ranger badge. Rootabaga Ranger activity sheets will be available at the amphitheater. Once completed, kids can get their Rootabaga Ranger badge at the amphitheater, Sandburg Home, or farm.

Arrival and Parking
Please visit our Parking page for more information.
Visitors who need transportation assistance may pick up the free Shuttle which loops through the Main Parking lot approximately every 20 minutes beginning at 9:40!


Apprentice actors from the Flat Rock Playhouse have performed adaptations of Sandburg's works for park visitors since 1974. Using Sandburg's own words from his collections of children's stories, poetry, collected music, biography of Abraham Lincoln and his own autobiography, the performances provide visitors with a sense of the scope of his work and imagination. Sandburg was an expert storyteller, and easily wove important messages of fairness, empathy and social justice into his writings. Whatever play you are able to attend you will walk away with a smile on your face and a better understanding of the legacy of Carl Sandburg.

Read a Rootabaga Story!

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    Last updated: June 6, 2024

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    81 Carl Sandburg Lane
    Flat Rock, NC 28731


    828 693-4178

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