By BRADEN LAMMERS
A family event with more than 20 years of history in the region is back.
Sellersburg Celebrates! will celebrate its community festival for the 24th time starting Thursday, with events running through Sunday.
Although not much has changed for this year’s event, the annual festival is something that Larry Quinn, president of Sellersburg Celebrates!, said continues to draw crowds back each year.
“I think it still has a draw purely because its a family event,” he said. “That’s the reason why I’m a part of it. That’s the reason why I always tell people to come out.”
He said it is the kind of community festival where families can feel safe bringing their kids, dropping them off, and checking out some things on their own.
For the adults the things to check out include more than 100 food and craft booths and live entertainment throughout the weekend. For the kids, especially the younger ones, a petting zoo will return this year, which was an addition to last year’s festival.
“The petting zoo was a big hit last year with the little kids,” Quinn said.
For the teenage sect, an expanded area with carnival attractions and amusement rides will return. And for all ages, popular attractions like the balloon glow held at dusk on Friday night, the Sellersburg Celebrates! parade Saturday morning and a K9 show — which will be held several times during the weekend— will again be featured during the weekend’s festivities.
Among the earliest events is a mock car crash on Thursday staged by the Sellersburg Volunteer Fire Department that has also become a popular attraction. On Friday, the festival will host its annual luncheon with this year’s guest speaker former Marine Corporal Josh Bleill.
Bleill, a native of Greenfield, is a community spokesman for the Indianapolis Colts. The Purdue University alumnus joined the United States Marine Corps in 2004, and while serving in Iraq in 2006, was wounded and lost both of his legs.
After he returned to Indiana in 2008, Bleill landed a job with the Colts where he is able to share his story of courage and hope, according to a news release.
During last year’s event, Quinn said about 9,500 people attended the three-day festival. This year, he’s expecting a little bit higher attendance, especially with the Louisville Crashers playing Saturday night.
“We’ll probably be closer to 10,000 this year,” Quinn said. “We’re expecting a larger crowd.”
He added that for the Louisville Crashers show, because they are playing a limited number of engagements in the area this year and the band’s popularity, a larger area in the park may be opened for seating.
But the best part of the festival, at least for Quinn, is that it is a community event.
“The wonderful thing about Sellersburg Celebrates! is it’s still a family-oriented festival,” he said. “We really try and go out of our way to make it a family-friendly environment. It’s done as a labor of love.”
THE ART CONNECTION
An event that has long-coincided with Sellersburg Celebrates!, but has become a separate event, will also be held this weekend.
Art in Speed Park will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Along with the artists that will be offering their work to the public, the event will again feature live entertainment and a wine garden, featuring award-winning wines from Huber's Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, according to the festival’s website. This year’s art festival will also feature a Children's Art Workshop and a newly enhanced playground area.
For more information on Art in Speed Park visit artinspeedpark.com.