News and Tribune

Clark County

October 18, 2013

Autumn on the River features small-town feel, plenty of fun

Helicopter rides return to Bethlehem festival after a hiatus

BETHLEHEM — All the staples will be there, along with a few surprises.

The 21st annual Autumn on the River will have all of the things that have made the festival a success — food, vendors, live music and a parade. But returning after a hiatus is the chance to see it all from hundreds of feet in the air.

Helicopter rides will be available for $30 per rider at this year’s festival, which will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. But don’t expect any carnival rides at Autumn on the River, said festival committee co-chair David Abbott.

“It’s a small-town atmosphere, and we keep it that way. We have no carnival rides. We want to keep it small,” Abbott said. “People come down — we call it the biggest family reunion you’ve ever been to. Everybody comes every year. Everybody loves to come down.”

Saturday’s events will kick off at 10 a.m. with a live auction, with proceeds benefiting the restoration and maintenance of Bethlehem’s historic three-room schoolhouse, built in 1927.

Veterans will be acknowledged in a tribute ceremony at 2 p.m., and a parade will take place at 2:30 p.m. with veterans playing the role of grand parade marshall, Abbott said.

As always, Autumn on the River will feature live entertainment and plenty of vendors. More than 65 vendor booths will be open for business on the festival grounds.

Starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, the three winning musical acts from Bethlehem’s summer concert series will take the spotlight during a three-hour set of live entertainment. On Sunday, the Marlinaires will take the stage at 2 p.m. for another three-hour set, capping an inexpensive weekend of entertainment.

“We want people just to come down with a little money,” Abbott said. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to come to our festival. Get you something to eat and sit and listen to music all day.”

A dessert auction will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with all proceeds going to the New Washington High School Scholarship Fund in the name of Dan Waterfill, the founder of the Autumn on the River festival. Waterfill died the day after Autumn on the River concluded last year.

To get to the festival, head north on Ind. 62 and take a right on Bethlehem-New Washington Road. The festival site is eight miles down the road.  

 

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