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Bicentennial festival spans 4 days

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

The Fayette County Bicentennial starts Thursday, is organized into themed days, and will be centered in Roberts Park. Organizers are inviting one and all to come and spend time at the activities, and to eat and celebrate the county’s history.

All of the activities are free. Headquarters is in the Red Cross building, south of the pavilion, where souvenirs can be purchased and information about the activities is available, including tickets for free ice cream on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday is Pioneer History Day; Friday is Youth and CHS Agriculture Day; Saturday, Whitewater Valley Railroad Day; and Sunday, Ice Cream Social Day. There are free concerts each day; Civil War re-enactors; the Armed Forces Day Parade on Saturday; and many historical displays and programs.

Free nightly patriotic entertainment in the amphitheater will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday with the Singing Policeman Daniel Rodriguez. Friday is the high energy World War II-era big band group, Tom Daugherty Orchestra. Saturday evening’s concert will consist of performances by several local youth bands. A jazz band will perform Sunday afternoon.

To get students involved, the Bicentennial Committee asked each school to take a time period and make a display. Those will be on exhibit in the John Miller Community Center.

“They did a lot of research on these,” Mike Sparks, Bicentennial co-chair, said. “They’re all great and you can tell different people did them so they’re done differently, but they’re all good. We hope it finds a permanent home somewhere after the Bicentennial.”

Residents in each township have dug up nearly forgotten history and each will have a display in the Miller Center. 

More school art displays will be in the James Roberts Memorial Building.

Civil War re-enactors will show soldiers’ lives during the war, including daily cannon firings near the Longwood Covered Bridge.

An area decorated with 10,000 American flags became a popular spot during the 2013 Connersville Bicentennial. The flags will return west of the Miller Center for the county bicentennial.

Friday is Youth and Connersville High School Ag Day with activities throughout the park.

The Fayette County Farm Bureau has worked with the committee and Local TV3 to interview farm families on video to tell the story of agriculture in the county. The videos and a picture gallery will be in the Roberts Park pavilion Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Farm Bureau county president Steve Walker said farm equipment will be on display near the pavilion, including a one-row planter from the early 1900s.

Farms owned by the same family for at least 100 years will be honored Sunday afternoon.

For those who just can’t wait to get fair food at the Fayette County Free Fair, some of those same of those vendors will be at the Bicentennial including Ullery’s homemade ice cream and the walleye booth.

Take in a free ice cream social all afternoon with Ullery’s homemade ice cream. Pick up a free ticket at the Red Cross building.

Concerts will be on the newly enlarged amphitheater stage with upgraded LED lighting. Sunday’s closing ceremony and stage dedication will follow the jazz band.

All activities in Roberts Park unless otherwise listed.

8 a.m., Flag raising, Courthouse

9 a.m., noon, 6 p.m., Cannon firing near Longwood Bridge

9 a.m., Historic Cemetery Tour, from Fayette Co. Historical Museum, 200 W. 5th St.

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Historical Museum open, 200 W. 5th St.

10 a.m., Native American history by Larry Keller, Roberts Building

11:30 a.m., Elders Luncheon, Miller building

2-3 and 5-6 p.m., Railroad excursions

2 p.m., Historic Cemetery bus tour, from museum

After school, Civil War games, Roberts Park Shelter 3 

7 p.m., Daniel Rodriguez concert

All Day: 10,000 flags display, headquarters of agriculture display at midway area, Civil War re-enactment near Longwood Bridge, Key Defense WWII display in Roberts Building, township displays in Miller building, geo-caching.

The Connersville News-Examiner will print daily Bicentennial schedules.

Parking and access

Parking for Bicentennial activities will be available from the old Kmart parking lot along park road, with two Everton Lions Club shuttles taking visitors throughout the park with stops at the headquarters, amphitheater, Civil War camp, Miller Center and the Roberts building.

Handicap parking will be between the Red Cross building and the swimming pool. The shuttle will pick up people there. Golf carts will be available to shuttle people from that area. Call 765-309-5717 for shuttle pick up.

Vehicle access will be limited in the park to help with safety of those walking from event to event. Traffic to the handicapped parking should enter the south driveway off Park Road. Other traffic should enter from 30th St.