The culminating celebration of Rush County’s Bicentennial took place on Saturday, September 17th. The day was filled with festivities and fun as thousands of people flooded into the Rush County community to celebrate 200 years of its success and progress. From the Willkie Days Parade (Chamber of Commerce), Rushfest Downtown Festival (Chamber of Commerce), Covered Bridge Dinner (Heart of Rushville), Youth Art Show (Optimist Club – over 200 entries), the Willkie 5 in 50 Covered Bridge Bike Ride (United Fund – over 400 participants) to the Bicentennial Concert featuring Eddie Montgomery (Heart of Rushville/Riverside Park – over 5500 attendees), Rush County was alive with record-breaking celebrations.
“We are forever thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our people,” comments Mayor Mike Pavey. “We are further committed to capitalizing on this momentum and ensuring that Rush County continues to lead the way in rural Indiana for the next 200 years.”
The morning began with the third annual Five in 50 Bike Ride. It started in Rushville and included 12-mile, 24-mile, and 50-mile routes. The route took bicyclist through the five historic covered bridges and five Rush County towns. The Bike Ride had record-breaking attendance with over 400 riders participating. At 10 AM, the Bicentennial parade began with much celebration and excitement. Awards and $200 checks were presented by the Rush County Chamber of Commerce based upon creativity, historic heritage, and patriotism. Winner are as follows:
Mayor’s Choice – Rushville FFA
Chamber of Commerce’s Choice – Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy Cadets
Creative – Rushville FFA and Rush-Shelby Energy
Historic – Henry Henley Library in Carthage and R.L. Coon Excavating Inc.
Patriotic – Rush County Heritage and Rushville Elks
Following the Bicentennial Parade, RushFest was in full swing. Main Street was flooded as thousands shopped the vendors and enjoyed the charm of Rushville’s historic downtown. The Kidz Zone with activities including outside games, Touch-a-Truck, bounce house, obstacle course, and face painting were a smashing success. Thousands shopped local and supported businesses through the Bicentennial Bargain Days program. At 6 PM, over 5,500 people gathered at Riverside Park Amphitheater for the final concert of the Bicentennial Concert series and the Friends of Fred Food Trucks. Following Tyler Booth and Molly Hatchet, headliner Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry took center stage as we celebrated Rush County and showed why our town is “Something to be Proud of.”
Bicentennial Celebrations were coordinated by the Rush County Bicentennial Committee (Chairman Brian Sheehan) and financed from dozens of sponsoring organizations. Gold donors (+$10,000) include the City of Rushville, Rush County Government, Rush County Community Foundation, Rush County Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Park, and Emerson-Copeland. For a full list of sponsors, please refer to the Bicentennial Website (rushcountybicentennial.weebly.com).
While Bicentennial Celebrations may be slowing down for Rush County, they are not stopping. The City of Rushville Parks Department is in the process of finalizing details concerning the planting of 200 trees for Rush County’s Bicentennial. Commemorative Rush County Bicentennial prints and ornaments will be available for purchase as the Christmas season approaches. Rush County’s Bicentennial celebration has been record-breaking in nature and signifies a renewed commitment toward the growth and development of the county.