The Celebration Continues: Day 31

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, BOONE COUNTY, HAMILTON COUNTY (October 13, 2016) – It was day thirty-one of the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay on its 3,200-mile journey across the state. The torch relay is the most far-reaching event of the Indiana Bicentennial celebration and will touch all 92 Indiana counties. Today’s festivities in Montgomery, Boone & Hamilton Counties, were coordinated by local organizing committees comprised of community leaders and volunteers.

School kids from across Montgomery County’s 4th grade classes were gathered at the Crawfordsville Courthouse for a lively celebration to kick off the day. The festivities included songs from the local school band, choir, and gathered students who held foam torches in honor of the bicentennial celebrations.

Other highlights included a presentation of colors from the American Legion post 72 honor guard, the honor choir from Hoover Elementary sang a fun song entitled, “Indiana, that’s where I belong,” and the Crawfordsville High School Pride squad brought the crowd to its feet with a choreographed dance to “Going Back to Indiana” by Hoosier native Michael Jackson.

The crowd was then let in on a project the City of Crawfordsville has been working on for the past few months – a 100 year time capsule that will be filled with nearly 400 photographs of activities that have taken place throughout 2016, a year long journal, and a variety of symbolic trinkets for the next generation to discover about life in Bicentennial year of our state. It will be buried next spring.

A list of torchbearers was then read including Montgomery County Commissioner Phil Bane, local teacher Suzanne Gephart, longtime community volunteer Dale Petrie, Vietnam Veteran William Rossok, youths Jack Reimondo and Jonathan Schronce, local school nurse and student advocate Christine Amidon, and Wabash College representatives Bill Doemel and Professor Emeritus David Hadley.

The parting words to the community was a reminder that the only thing that separates us from our forebearers is time.

The second county of the day was Boone, which was organized on April 1, 1830 and is home to 12 Civil Townships: Center, Clinton, Eagle, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Marion, Perry, Sugar Creek, Union, Washington, and Worth.

Jane Hammock, the County Coordinator led the caravan on the 33 miles she and the local organizing committee laid out for the county’s 25 torchbearers through Dover, Lebanon, Whitestown, and Zionsville.

Those who carried the flame for their community included Cliff and Nancy Beelsey of Shannondale on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, President of the Historical Society Nancy Busenbark, and Executive Director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission Perry Hammock and his wife Chris, a local school teacher, who rode in their vintage Triumph complete with the newly minted racing #200 in honor of the occasion.

Zionsville Police officer Joshua Chapman then carried the torch through a local celebration taking place at Lincoln Park, where he was greeted with a round of applause from the crowd for his work and dedication of his fellow officers.

As the flame met the Hamilton County team at the Zionsville Presbyterian Church for the official hand off, Renée Stanley, Deputy Director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission reflected, “As a life-long resident of Boone County, I was so excited to be part of the caravan for the torch relay today. My heart is in Boone County, so it was wonderful to see everyone who came out in cities from A-to-Z to advance the torch and it was really really rewarding to see all of children that came out to celebrate Indiana’s birthday.”

Hamilton County kicked off with Toby Stark, executive director of Chaucie’s Place taking the torch to University High School, where students were on hand to cheer for coach Larry “Bud” Wright, Indiana’s winningest high school football coach in history. The torch then traveled through Carmel, making its way to the Monon Trail.

On the Monon, Albert Chen walked in front of a Chinese Dragon before handing off to Michelle Corrao, an advocate for ending sexual violence. Corrao carried the torch to the first of five “Celebration Stations” in the county, at the Carmel Palladium. The ceremony included an orchestra and the cast of “The Nutcracker.”

The torch then headed north to Westfield, where Vietnam Veteran carried the torch onto the Union Bible College lawn for the second celebration. He handed off to 11-year old Food Network star Sabrina Richard in front of a throng of excited Hoosiers.

Richard’s leg started the journey toward Fishers and Conner Prairie. At Conner Prairie, members of the history park were out en masse to see the torch take a ride on the property’s famous 1859 Balloon Voyage. Today also marked the opening of Conner Prairie’s annual Headless Horseman festival.

The next celebration was at the Fishers Town Hall, where sixth-grader Grace Wechsler rode in a motorcycle sidecar to deliver the torch to a lawn full of Fishers residents who came out to celebrate. Fishers police officer Troy Fettinger then took the torch on a “Pint Cycle” with a group of friends before the torch headed for its final celebration of the day in Noblesville.

The cauldron was list at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Noblesville by Hamilton County Historian David Heighway with excited Noblesville residents in attendance.

On October 15, 2016, you’re invited to Hoosier Homecoming from Noon – 5:00 p.m. on the Indiana Statehouse Campus. Hoosier Homecoming is a free, family-friendly event celebrating Indiana’s 200th birthday. It is also the grand finale of the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay. The torch will be used to illuminate an everlasting light for Indiana that will serve as an homage to the state’s first 200 years and an inspiration for generations of Hoosiers to come. The everlasting light will be part of the new Bicentennial Plaza on the west side of the statehouse.