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Hope Heritage Days unfolds as something of a feast for the senses.
You will find the aroma of homemade, grilled pork chops to bean soup wafting through the town square from food booths.
Rhythmic bluegrass tunes will drift from the band stand.
Children’s laughter will echo from the pioneer village as they learn to walk on wooden stilts.
Gospel sing featuring Medora Pentecostal Church Choir, Destiny and Red Roots, 6:15 to 9 p.m., Hauser High School gym
Bluegrass Jamboree, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Possum Glory Train, 8:30 to 10 p.m., bandstand
Car Show, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Community Center of Hope
Clowns of Mill Race Center, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., the square
Yellow Trail Pioneer Village, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jackson Street
Justin the Artistic Horse with painting demonstrations, 12:45 p.m., Jackson Street
UTOPIA Wildlife Rehabilitators demonstration, 12:15 and 1:15 p.m., bandstand
Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull Sign Up, 1:45 p.m. (sign up at 12:15 p.m.), Jackson Street
Country singer Verlan Brock, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., bandstand
Rock singer Larry Crane, 6:30 to 8 p.m., main stage (rain location Hauser High School gym)
Country act One Night Rodeo, 8:30 to 10 p.m., main stage (rain location Hauser High School gym)
Fireworks, 10 p.m., main stage
Worship service, 9 a.m., bandstand
Vinyl Harvest, noon to 2 p.m., bandstand
Biplanes fly-over, 2:15 p.m., reviewing stand
Parade, 2:30 p.m.
Blues-rock of Gordon Bonham,
4 to 5:30 p.m., bandstand
God and Country Rally with gospel groups the Woodsmen and Inspiration By Faith, 7 p.m., Hope Moravian Church on Main Street
“Hope always has strongly embraced its heritage,” said Larry Simpson, who is leading marketing efforts for the 46th annual three-day event, Sept. 27-29, on the town square on Main Street. “And we’re very proud of our pioneer spirit in our corner of Bartholomew County.”
He uses that to partly explain why thousands still flock to the celebration of the 2,132-population town’s past and present.
This year’s theme is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” which sprang from the kinship that people in Hope feel with the nearby communities of Clifford and Hartsville, whose fire departments have been selected as grand marshals of the 2:30 p.m. Sunday parade.
“Parades in some communities are not always what they used to be,” said Lori Robertson, manager of the Hope Area Welcome Center, which is helping to promote the festival. “But this one still draws a huge crowd.”
Organizers and promoters hope part of the throng for the event will be spillover from the Mill Race Marathon occurring Sept. 28.
Some Heritage Days’ officials have made sure that race participants know of the festival and its schedule.
“We’re hoping they will be willing to come and check us out,” Robertson said.
Simpson has been working with marathon organizers to cross-promote the events.
“We feel like this can be great family fun,” he said.
Hope Heritage Days functions as much more than that.
Last year, the traditional gathering generated $140,000 for nonprofit organizations — churches, schools, and social service agencies — operating 18 food booths, said Simpson, also a member of the Heritage of Hope board, which oversees the event.
“It’s definitely money well spent,” Simpson said.
This year, the popular Yellow Trail Pioneer Village, the event’s big nod to history and heritage, has been moved closer to the square along Jackson Street, festival coordinator Randy Sims said.
“It will be much more visible,” he said.
There, people can watch a blacksmith and tinsmith work, or even compete in sack races.
For those seeking more modern entertainment, the musical schedule offers everything from rock tunes by Seymour native Larry Crane, formerly of John Mellencamp’s band, to the country flavor of One Night Rodeo.
“On (Sept. 28), we expect the square to be absolutely packed,” said Chuck Caldwell, a member of the entertainment committee.
Plus, the Sept. 27 music schedule opens with offerings from gospel to the hybrid bluegrass of homegrown Possum Glory Train, making its third festival appearance in the past few years.
Group leader and banjo player Arnold Ellison of Hope mentioned that the ensemble hopes to play older, traditional tunes such as “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” as well as alternative-country act Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.”
“We hope our songs are both comforting and fun,” Ellison said.
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