HOPE – It’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time whenever Bartholomew County’s second largest incorporated community celebrates the nation’s birthday. 

From the cake walk in the shelter house to the sack races near the playground in the town square, Hope’s Old-Fashioned Independence Day is known to bringing smiles to the young — and a warm feeling of nostalgia to the not-so-young. 

Other activities brought back from the past for Friday’s event included an apple pie baking contest, watermelon seed spitting competition, a water balloon toss and a tug of war. This year, the monthly Cruise-In Car Show was incorporated into the celebration. 

Culinary delights such as funnel cakes, lemon shake-ups and desserts were provided by a number of Hope-area nonprofit organizations. That includes the Yellow Trail Museum, which not only sponsors the celebration itself but offers relief from the heat with $1 ice-cream floats and a air-conditioned building. 

Another popular feature is the Kids’ Parade around the town square, which includes decorated bikes, tricycles, strollers and wagons. The event is traditionally capped off with an impressive fireworks display that is set off on Jackson Street, west of the town square.