Kosciusko’s celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday just weeks away

Kosciusko’s celebration of Indiana’s bicentennial is about three weeks away.

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay route through Kosciusko County has been finalized, entertainment and food vendors are planned, deadlines for the art and essay contests have been extended, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the big weekend celebration Sept. 29 through?Oct. 1.

Kosciusko Celebrates Indiana’s Bicentennial begins Sept. 29 with the torch relay. It begins at about 9:45 a.m. at Warsaw Community High School and ends at Lakeside Park in Syracuse, said Chair Diane Wulliman.

The first person in Kosciusko’s part of the torch relay, Barb Martz, will carry it one lap around the track. She will then hand it off to Jeff Shriver and the entire Tippecanoe Valley High School football team, who are carrying it in honor of the late Scott Bibler. Akron Elementary School also is bringing its fourth-graders, and Mentone Elementary may bring its fourth-graders. Sacred Heart School is bringing all of students.

Wulliman said since it’s beginning on the WCHS football field, there will be plenty of seating and parking for the public.

“We’ll have someone from Warsaw, someone from Valley say a few words, and we’ll have this official lighting ceremony for the start of the day,” Wulliman stated.
Shriver will take the torch to the school drive entrance at Ind. 15, with the Valley students following behind him. He will then pass it on to Rita Price-Simpson in an antique car, and she will carry it to the train tracks on Buffalo Street just through the intersection at Winona Avenue.

Torch bearers then will carry it along Buffalo Street to Center Street, right on Center to Indiana Street, left on Indiana and past the Old Jail Museum to the celebration at Central Park.

The Bicentennial Experience, which is a traveling museum for Indiana’s 200th anniversary visiting all of the state’s 92 counties, will be at Central Park from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 29. It is free and open to the public, Wulliman said.

“When the torch comes into Central Park, the American Legion Honor Guard will be carrying it for Bob Litchenwalter. They will be carrying the colors and the torch into the ceremony,” she said.

The celebration will include a couple of songs, Mayor Joe Thallemer saying a few words and an essay contest winner reading their essay. Wulliman estimated that would take about 10 minutes before the torch moves on.

The torch will travel up Ind. 15 to Leesburg, cut across Armstrong Road to Ind. 13 and cut through North Webster and Syracuse. At Lakeside Park in Syracuse, Willie 103.5 will offer free chilly dogs while supplies last to the public.

The state caravan then will transport the torch from Kosciusko to Noble County. The caravan has seven or eight marked vehicles in it, Indiana State Police motorcycles and will be traveling at about 40 mph, she said.

Wulliman said there will be yard signs along the route so people know which way it is traveling.

Volunteers for the torch relay are still being sought to help at each torch exchange along the route, as well as at WCHS, Central and Lakeside Parks. Volunteers also are needed for the block party Sept. 30 downtown Warsaw and at the fairgrounds Oct. 1. Wulliman said anyone wanting to volunteer can email in200kos@gmail.com.

The free “Decades of Music” program at Grace College’s Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 and will feature area bands and choirs. Anyone who wants to sing as part of the program can pick up the music at Latte Lounge or Presby Preschool. Paula Bowman, committee member, said they will be singing songs about Indiana and music by songwriters from Indiana.

“There are over 900 singers scheduled, junior high, high school, instrument and vocal,” Bowman said. The performers will be from four local high schools and Lakeland Christian Academy, as well as Lakes Area Community Choir and Band, the Optimist Singers, Symphony of the Lakes and Sacred Heart.

“Whether you belong to a group or just like to sing, we’d love to have you,” Bowman said.
Martin Becker is coordinating that program.
On Sept. 30, downtown Warsaw is hosting a block party with music and food vendors from 5 to 9 p.m. On the two stages of entertainment will be No Fun?Intended, Indian folklorist Michael Jacobs, Hometown Heroes and the Syracuse improv group Main on Main.

There also will be homecoming events in Syracuse Sept. 30.

All events are at the fairgrounds Oct. 1, starting with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. There is a $5 charge for the breakfast.

Registration for the family bicycle ride is at 7:30 a.m., with registration for the motorcycle ride at 8:30 a.m. There is no cost for the rides.

The quilt show opens at 9 a.m.

The parade line-up also is at 9 a.m. on West Center Street, Warsaw, with the parade beginning at 10 a.m.

Bowman said they still need parade entries.  Parade participants can fill out an entry form at the website at www.2016kosciuskocelebrates.com.

Food vendors open at 11 a.m., the same time the Classic Car Cruise-In registration begins. The antique tractor show and displays and kids activities also begin at 11 a.m.

Bingo starts at 12:30 p.m., which has a minimum charge. The corn hole tournament also starts at 12:30 p.m.

Live entertainment starts at 1 p.m. around the fairgrounds.

Beard contest judging starts at 1 p.m., with the egg toss at 1:30 p.m. The pie and ice cream, with a minimum charge, begins at 2 p.m. as does the vintage base ball game.
NASA’s program “The Journey to Mars Begins Here” starts at 4 p.m., with the balloon glow at dusk.

The grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1 for Janice Ann, and Miss Kitty’s Revenge is at at 7:15 p.m. Headliner Jason Michael Carroll then performs at 8 p.m.

“All the music is free. Some of the games are free. You can donate to any of the organizations that are sponsoring (activities),” said Bowman.

Deadline for the “Why I Love Indiana” art and essay contests have been extended from Sept. 6 to Sept. 21, Wulliman said, as more entries are needed. Entries should be submitted to Latte Lounge, Paula Bowman, 108 N. Buffalo St., Warsaw.

Winning entries of the art contest will be awarded prizes. Winning essays will be read at bicentennial events Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

For the art contest, entries should be in drawing, painting (chalk, pastel, etc.) or photograph form. Categories are kindergarten to third grade, fourth through eighth grade, ninth through 12th grade and adult.

Categories for the essay contest are: kindergarten to third grade, three to four sentences; fourth through eighth grade, 300 words or less; ninth through 12th, 500 words or less.
All entries will be displayed at the festival Oct. 1. For more information, email in200kos@gmail.com or visit the website at www.2016kosciuskocelebrates.com.