The 49th Annual Hope Heritage Days this weekend transforms the Historic Hope Town Square into one big, sweet-smelling smorgasbord.

Pork tenderloins. Smoked turkey legs. Creamy chicken and noodles. Coney dogs. Fried fish.

That should help to make any festive foodie hungry to support some of the event’s 20 nonprofit area organizations or agencies, some of which generate nearly all their annual budget from Heritage Days’ food sales. In fact, festival visitors’ food-vendor spending normally tops the six-figure mark in a strong year, according to organizers.

“I would say the food probably is the No. 1 attraction for people,” Randy Sims said.

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Sims, president of the festival and bandstand division of sponsor Heritage of Hope, has been coming to the celebration since its first year in 1967, a time when he remembers the popular Dr. Hope Medicine Show, then presented by Mel Clouse, as a favorite part.

“He was a knockout for doing it,” Sims said.

Barb Johnson remembers her first Heritage Days volunteer role as unfolding in 1967, when she helped serve hot dogs and soft drinks at the event’s only food booth, except for the Hope Moravian Church’s funnel cakes.

The church will retain a presence at the event this year. The Rev. Andy Kilps, church pastor since 2014, will be dressed as Hope minister Martin Hauser, who founded the church and the town in 1830.

His modern-day presence seems fitting, since Heritage Days generates something of a religious zeal among some of its devotees.

Music also serves as an integral part of the schedule. Genres range from gospel to country to rock to Motown. Not to mention the folk-pop sounds of local quintet Cottonpatch, set to perform at noon Sunday. That time slot almost guarantees a generous-sized group of listeners shortly before the parade, according to the band’s Dale Fear, who plays 12-string guitar.

“We always have a good crowd and a good time,” Fear said.

The 90-minute, 20-song set list will include tunes from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and America. Either before or after the performance, members usually make time for a stop at food booths. Fear’s favorite pick is usually tenderloin.

Thousands will line the streets of Hope to watch the Heritage Days parade go by, starting at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The number of entries in this year’s parade is up, with more than 50. Among the entries are antique cars and firetrucks, clowns, horseback riders and horse-drawn carriages, Pastor Andy Kilps of Hope Moravian Church in character as town founder Martin Hauser, a bicentennial float, the Dr. Hope Medicine Show, Bartholomew County and North Vernon Shrine Clubs and Hauser High School Marching Band and Color Guard.

Hope Heritage Days will recognize as parade grand marshal Mike Deckard, president of Deckard Tool & Engineering in Hope, located on the Hope Town Square. Deckard’s business has been operating since 1977, and he has been active in restoration efforts on several buildings he owns on the Hope Town Square.

The event also includes plenty of shopping among other vendors offering art work to clothes.

The schedule


6 p.m.: Night Owl Country Band on the band stand.

7 p.m.: WYGS Gospel Sing featuring The Kingsmen Quartet at Hauser High School

8:30 p.m.: 9 to 44 at the band stand.


9 a.m.: Heritage Classic Cross Country Meet at Town Square

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Yellow Trail Pioneer Village , Jackson Street

11:30 a.m.: Heritage Classic Trophy Ceremony, bandstand

Noon: Wildcare Inc. animal rehab presentation, bandstand

12:30 p.m.: Kiddie Tractor Pull sign-up begins (heats begin at 2 p.m.),

Pioneer Village

12:30 p.m.: Dr. Hope Medicine Show, Jackson Street

5:30 p.m.: CatFish Davis funk and blues, Main Stage on Jackson Street

7 p.m.: Mac Trotter country music, band stand

8 p.m.: Motown Sounds of Touch, Main Stage on Jackson Street

9:30 p.m.: Fireworks, Jackson Street


9 a.m.: Worship service, band stand

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Yellow Trail Pioneer Village, Jackson Street

Noon: Cotton Patch soft and folk rock, band stand

2:15 p.m.: Parade flyover in memory of Bill Hammerstadt

2:30 p.m.: Parade, reviewing stand

3:30 p.m.: Tune-O-Matics classic rock, band stand

Information: Visit

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.