Torch relay good way to enjoy state’s bicentennial

Did you know that Friday is Indiana’s birthday? Probably not. It turns 199, but more likely you’ve been hearing plans about the state’s bicentennial celebration next year.

That’s when the big party occurs. No. 200!

Guess what? You’re invited.

All 92 Indiana counties are making plans to participate in a celebration of the state’s heritage. But they also are planning celebrations of their own heritages.

Each county will participate in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay, in which more than 1,800 Hoosiers will carry the torch across the state. The torch will come through Bartholomew County on Sept. 18 when it makes a stop at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza.

The neat part about the torch relay is that you could be one of its carriers. About 20 to 40 local residents will be selected to carry the torch through the county — which turned 194 on Feb. 12. Nominations are being accepted, and the local bicentennial coordinator Lynn Lucas has received about 20 suggested names so far.

Carrying the torch will be a fun and unique way to celebrate the state’s and county’s heritages, so it’s worth your time to nominate someone who you think is deserving. If your person ends up as a torch carrier, they’ll have an interesting, lifelong memory.

One way counties are celebrating their heritages is with legacy projects. The state’s bicentennial commission is offering endorsements of 1,000 statewide events to help with their promotion. Bartholomew County has seven approved projects and three more in development. Those approved include:

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Mill Race Marathon Health & Fitness Expo

Spring on the Farm — 200 Years of Indiana History

Saturday Sampler programs

Vintage Spirits — History and Hooch of Bartholomew County

The Empire Strikes Back — A Bicentennial Celebration of Indiana Fashion

Bicentennial Hat Making

The county’s approved projects cover a wide range of local history, from its agricultural roots to modern efforts to promote health and wellness. These are projects supported by local organizations and volunteers and are intended as learning experiences for locals and visitors, so there’s plenty of ways to participate and gain a better understanding of the county’s heritage.

Next year will be an exciting celebration. Consider this your invitation to join in the fun.

Nominate torch carrier

More than 1,800 Hoosiers will be selected to carry a torch in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay, which begins Sept. 9 in Corydon. The torch will come to Bartholomew County from Decatur County and will tentatively stop at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza, 536 Fifth St., on Sept. 18. From there, the torch will move into Brown County.

To nominate a local resident to be a torch bearer:

  • Go to Indiana2016.org
  • Find “Signature Projects” from the menu on the left side of the screen, then select “Bicentennial Torch Relay”
  • Fill out the nomination form, then return it to the Columbus Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St., or email it to Lynn Lucas, llucas@columbus.in.us

About 40 nominations are needed in Bartholomew County. Nominations are due by Jan. 31.