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August 28, 2011

Sellersburg Celebrates! draws about 13,000 people

SELLERSBURG — Whether they’d been coming for years or made their first visit Saturday, families across Sellersburg and other communities checked out what this year’s Sellersburg Celebrates! festival had to offer.

This was the 22nd year for the festival. Sellersburg Celebrates! committee president Larry Quinn said the event has been forced to change locations twice to accommodate more people because the event has grown every year.

“This festival is built around this community,” Quinn said. “The town is very involved, the police is invested in working out the traffic and safety of the people and they’re happy to do it.”

Quinn said the committee registered 118 booths this year, many of them selling local arts and crafts or other goods. He said the inexpensive cost of setting up for Sellersburg Celebrates! attracts a lot of vendors, businesses and craftspeople.

But another draw for families in the area is the fair fare. With rides, corn dogs, funnel cakes and shows, Quinn said he thought this year’s attendance would come in somewhere around 13,000 to 16,000 people.

Chris Conte brought his family to the festival to check out games for his children and see what local businesses had booths set up.

“It’s jut so great,” Conte said. “The town dresses itself up and puts itself on display.”

Conte’s wife, Mary Ann, said she was glad to bring their two boys, Seth and Saben, to the festival.

“It just gives us something to do as a family,” Mary Ann said.

But some friendly competition also drew in a few folks. Troy Harrell said he’s been coming to Sellersburg Celebrates! for about 15 years. He participated in a corn hole tournament Saturday.

“I like coming out here for the games and it’s something I like to bring my boys to,” Harrell said.

Janet Compton found a spot to sit with her funnel cake. She said she had come years ago with her children, but hadn’t been back for about 10 years after they had grown.

“I think it depends who you come with,” Compton said. “When you’re with your kids, you get a look at the games and rides. But for the rest of it, I think it’s a great little community event.”

Local musicians also brought in crowds from across Southern Indiana. The Louisville Crashers played Saturday night and several teen groups working with Mom’s Rock School in Jeffersonville provided live entertainment all day.

Quinn said bringing outside acts can bring crowds, but using local talent brings crowds that stay for the event all day instead of just one concert.

Quinn said he was glad to have a good staff to help him put the event together. With a completely volunteer staff of 23 people, he said the event really came together to entertain families in Sellersburg.

“What you ask for, they give you,” Quinn said. “We all refer to it as the labor of love. We don’t get paid, we don’t complain and we’re happy to do the work.”

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