News Column

Patriotic events span two weekends

June 27, 2014

By Debbie Blank, The Herald-Tribune, Batesville, Ind.

June 27--Anybody wanting to have a razzle-dazzle Fourth of July has 16 options, some right here and others a short drive away. In chronological order:

--A "We Remember" exhibit pays tribute to area veterans at the Batesville Area Historical Society Museum, 15 W. George St., reports publicity coordinator Anne Baran. Until Labor Day, visitors may view a collection of military uniforms and other artifacts; plus hand-assembled miniature replicas of planes, tanks and hand-painted miniature soldiers from the collection of Ken and Shirley Waldron. Hours are Thursdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Fridays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon.

--Musical theater fans can sing along to favorite patriotic tunes with the cast of "The Yankee Doodle" as they put viewers in the flag-waving spirit. The summer musical, presented by Rural Alliance for the Arts, will be performed Friday-Saturday, June 27-28, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 29, at 3 p.m. at the Batesville High School auditorium. "'The Yankee Doodle' is a perfect pre-Independence Day event," says producer Pam Cope. "Not only is it very entertaining, it also reminds us of the sacrifices made by our troops who have served in past and present conflicts."

--Saturday, June 28, will be patriotic from beginning to end at the Bluegrass at the Gateway Festival at Whitewater Valley Gateway Park, 19067 U.S. 52, Metamora. During the noon opening ceremony, Indianapolis vocalist Morgan Reese will sing the national anthem and Tim Kieffer, Batesville, Indiana Patriot Guard Riders Southeast Region senior ride captain, will speak.

After five groups perform twice in rotation, at 9 p.m. the silver-tongued Everett Green will read the Declaration of Independence, then sing "America the Beautiful." The evening will conclude with a patriotic video and fireworks. Part of the $14 admission will be used to support the Wounded Warrior Fund. Info: or 765-647-2541.

--The annual Oldenburg Firemen's Festival parade kicks off activities Saturday, June 28, at 1 p.m. The theme is patriotic, so "show us your red, white and blue," urges organizer Willie Ronnebaum. Participants must stop at the corner of Water and Werner streets to register, she reveals.

The procession will go west on Water Street, north on State Road 229, through the convent grounds and south on Pearl Street past the firehouse, where it ends. Plaques will be presented to the winners in seven categories: fire apparatus, float, classic vehicle, farm equipment, sport, equestrian and oddity. Right as the parade ends, the eating of fried chicken and roast beef dinners begins.

--Versailles Lake will mirror fireworks at 10 p.m. Thursday, July 3, at Versailles State Park. These are sponsored by the park and freewill donations that night. Free park entry goes from 7-10 p.m.

--On Friday, July 4, Batesville Christian Church members will host the eighth 4 on the 4th to raise funds for the Batesville Area Ministerial Association Food Pantry. After a one-hour registration period, walkers start at 8:15 a.m. and runners at 8:30 at the church, 1294 Columbus Ave. Entry fees are $20 for individuals and $40 for families. Trophies will go to the top two males and females and medals will be awarded to winners in eight age groups. A $100 cash award goes to a male or female who beats the course running records, found at, which also has registration forms. Participants can enter for door prizes by bringing cans of food for the pantry.

--The 14th annual Ripley County Chamber of Commerce Fireworks Night is July 4 at Ripley County Fairgrounds Park, Osgood. After the event opens at 5 p.m. with food and vendor booths. Centerline Band will entertain beginning at 7 p.m. A terrific fireworks display will be presented at dark. Info and free booth space: director Amy Thomas, 812-689-6654.

--The Eureka Band will perform a free, all-American one-hour concert at the Liberty Park bandstand July 4 at 8 p.m. Listeners may want to bring chairs or blankets.

--Of the Saturday, July 5, Metamora Firemen's Festival, Steve Collier, one of 12 volunteers, notes, "Nowhere else on Independence Day weekend can you step back in time and shop in historical buildings, ride a canal boat and train and watch the stone-ground cornmeal or flour being made at the grist mill as well as enjoy a day and evening of fun-filled events."

The fest with its pulled pork dinners, beer garden and mechanical bull begins at 3 p.m. at the station, located south of the Whitewater Canal at the village's east end. Lineup is there by 5:30 p.m. for the annual red-white-and-blue parade, which starts at 6. "Bring your trike or costume or your own float." There also will be classic cars, lawn tractors and horses. Well-known Cincinnati band Stagger Lee will perform a mix of classic rock, blues and country music from 8 p.m.-1 a.m., interrupted only by 10 p.m. fireworks, which the firefighters ignite. According to Collier, "Last summer it got rave reviews. This year it's going to be even bigger and better."

--Church on the Rock, 407 N. Township Line Road, will have its annual pitch-in cookout at 6 p.m.July 5 to coincide with local fireworks. "The public is invited to the free meal and then watch the fireworks from one of the best views in the area," says member Teri Barker. "We are adding some kids' games" to the fun.

--Hillcrest Country Club will offer a fireworks display July 5 to members that night at dusk, reports Kim Settles, food and beverage director. The community may watch from public areas.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

More area options --Canoefest is centered on the Whitewater River and Brookville Town ParkJune 27-28. On Friday, booths and chicken dinners start at 5 p.m. followed by the 6:30 p.m. classic car caravan, 7 p.m. princess crowning, 8 p.m. Old Guys Rock band and 9:30 p.m.Jesse Jay Johnson Band concert. On Saturday, the biathlon starts at 8 a.m., followed by 9 a.m. recreational canoe races, 4 p.m. Great Chicken Fry-Off, 5:30 p.m. Canoefest Idol finals, 8 p.m. JetSet GetSet concert and 10:15 p.m. fireworks. Info: --In Milan, organizations have planned three days of fun. The Milan Lions Fourth of July Parade begins on Independence Day at 10 a.m. on Main Street. Holiday eating experiences are impressive: July 3, 4-6 p.m., Milan Baptist Church ice cream social; July 4, 7-9 a.m., Milan Methodist Men's Breakfast; 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Milan Volunteer Fire Department chicken dinner; noon-9 p.m., Milan Veterans of Foreign Wars steak dinner. On July 5, after a 10 a.m. party at Daren Baker Memorial Park, fireworks are slated for dusk. Info: 812-621-8486 or Milan Lions Club on Facebook. --The nonprofit Whitewater Valley Railroad operates a Civil War train at noon July 4 from Connersville to Metamora (with a two-hour layover) and back again. "Be in the middle of the action as a Union Army detachment protects the U.S. government payroll while along the line a relentless group of Confederate soldiers ... plan and wait," reports the Web site Round-trip fares are $22 for adults and $14 for kids. Info: 765-825-2054. --July 5 is a big day at other Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties: Brown County State Park Abe Martin Lodge, Nashville, is the site for an Old-Fashioned Independence Day Celebration, 812-988-4418; Brookville-Whitewater Complex near Brookville will host a cornhole tournament, 765-647-2657; and Clifty Falls State Park, Madison, boasts a grillout from 7-10 p.m., s'mores at the fire pit, live music and fireworks, gate fees apply, 812-273-8885. Info: --For Hillforest Historical Foundation's annual fundraiser July 5, guests will enjoy a New Orleans-style party on the Veraestau Historic Site lawn from 6:30-10:30 p.m. with delicious dishes from the Bayou region, along with wine and live entertainment. The evening will end with a bang as Aurora fires off its holiday fireworks display. Tickets are $45 for Indiana Landmarks and Hillforest members; $50 for nonmembers. Reservations are required:


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