Here’s your chance to fan the flame of history — and to celebrate Hoosier history as exuberantly as a wild Indianapolis 500 finish.

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay — which celebrates the state’s 200-year legacy along a 3,200-mile, 92-county journey — passes through Bartholomew County on Sunday.

The idea is to light a fire of pride among Hoosiers and to illuminate a wealth of the state’s heritage. As the torch passed through southwestern Indiana mid-week, small groups of people, including elementary school students, lined streets in communities such as Ferdinand, Jasper and Celestine — and applauded.

Locally, celebrations are planned Saturday and Sunday in Hartsville; Sunday at Simmons Winery and 450 North Brewing Company; and Sunday at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza in Columbus.

In Hartsville, activities focus heavily on the historic, with an entertaining twist, from costumed characters such as Hope founder and Christian missionary Martin Hauser to a speaker playing the role of a Civil War surgeon, with help from local children as outfitted assistants.

“When we first started planning, we thought probably everybody would lean heavily toward historical events,” said Barb Johnson, one of the volunteers for the Hartsville weekend. “I know it has since taken kind of a different turn in some of the counties.”

In Columbus at the library plaza, the four-member Tim Grimm Family Band will be among featured entertainers. Grimm, a Columbus native, has long written and performed music relating to Hoosier history, including entire concerts devoted to the topic. Plus, he and his family currently are rehearsing for the Indiana Repertory Theatre musical he and his clan wrote, “Finding Home: Indiana at 200,” opening next month in Indianapolis.

“This (local celebration) fits in so perfectly with everything that we’ve been doing,” said Jan Lucas, Grimm’s wife and a longtime singer.

Their set list will include serious songs about Indiana figures such as World War II journalist Ernie Pyle to lighthearted numbers such as “The Indiana Food Song,” highlighting sweet corn, tenderloins and other state dishes.

The schedule

Hartsville Town Square

Saturday

11 a.m. — Fish fry begins and history booths open.

11:30 a.m. — Crafts and games begin.

Noon — Storytelling and re-enactors.

1 p.m. — Music in shelterhouse.

3 p.m. — Play parties for children.

4 p.m. — Music in shelterhouse.

Sunday

11 a.m.: Fish fry begins and history booths open

11:30 a.m.: Possum Glory Band.

Noon: Crafts, toys and games. Balloon man, make-a-torch activity and mini-relay for kids, re-enactors.

12:45 and 1:30 p.m.: Costumed Civil War surgery re-enactment program.

1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Hartsville tours via horse-drawn carriages, and Hauser Junior-Senior High School students portraying historic characters from the area.

2 p.m.: First Baptist presentation.

4 p.m.: Introducing torch bearers.

4:45 p.m.: Brass quintet.

5:15 p.m.: Estimated time for Bicentennial torch to arrive from Decatur County and pass by.

Where: State Road 46.

Simmons Winery/450 North Brewing Company

Sunday

2 to 5:30 p.m.: Food and beverages, pizza and bluegrass and folk tunes from the Banister Family Band, and children’s crafts.

5:45 p.m.: Bicentennial Torch is expected to pass by.

Where: 8111 E. County Road 450N between Columbus and Hope.

Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza

Sunday

2 to 6 p.m.: Food and family oriented vendor booths open.

2 to 8 p.m.: Steps Through Time history exhibit and Bart the Bicentennial Bison on display.

4 to 8 p.m.: Indiana’s Bicentennial Experience (Mobile Visitors Center) on Lafayette Street.

4:30 to 5:15 p.m.: Columbus City Band performance in front of First Christian Church on Fifth Street.

6 to 7 p.m. or longer if torch is delayed: Tim Grimm Family Band performance at library plaza.

7 p.m. or slightly later if torch is delayed:

  • Acceptance of Torch: Larry Kleinhenz, Bartholomew County commissioner
  • City Proclamation: Mayor Jim Lienhoop
  • Introduction of Bartholomew County’s torch bearers: Emcee and Republic columnist Harry McCawley.
  • Local DAR Chapter Children’s Choir performance
  • Cupcakes and balloons

Where: 536 Fifth St. in Columbus.

Bicentennial Torch Relay

Sunday

When: Arriving about 5:15 p.m. Sunday at Hartsville as it crosses the county line from Decatur County.

Route: 52 miles of Bartholomew County roads and streets, via 31 honorary torch bearers.

Culmination: Torch expected to arrive at Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.