(CROTHERSVILLE) - Take an old-fashioned flag waving 4th of July picnic, combine it with all the yummy food of a family reunion, sprinkle in some clowns, a carnival, live music and a contest or two and you have all the ingredients for the Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival.
Since 1976 the Crothersville community has held a patriotic festival the second week-end in June near Flag Day.
This year's festival begins Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Crothersville Community School grounds.
"This is the 37th year for the annul patriotic salute tagged as Indiana's Most Patriotic Festival," festival organizer Sherry Bridges said. "Our community takes pride in honoring veterans and Old Glory."
There will be a variety of festival food ranging from pork burgers, barbecue sandwiches, crab cakes, walking tacos, waffle dogs, ice cream floats, lemon shake ups, elephant ears, funnel cakes, deep fried Twinkies, apple dumplings, shaves ice, alligator and shrimp on a stick, Amish homemade ice cream and caramel apples.
Fiesta Carnival will begin tonight with a special ride promotion, Bridges said.
Always a crowd draw, the baby contest will begin Thursday evening's activities with registration at 4 p.m.
The contest has been moved to the main gymnasium with some new categories for youngsters from birth to 48 months.
A most patriotic boy and girl will be judged. Marshall Memories Photography will be donating prizes for the boy and girl winners of the Most Patriotic category.
Cost of each entry is $5 and parents can enter their child twice; in their age group and in the most patriotic. Winners will be announced on stage at 6 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m., the Red, White & Blue Festival Princess coronation will take place on the festival stage.
The patriotic opening ceremony will be featured on the festival stage at 6:30 p.m.
"It is always an honor to see the number of community members who turn out to pay tribute to our veterans," Bridges said.
The Festival Talent Show featuring area talent will begin at 7 p.m. emceed by Robert Becker of 96.3 WJAA.
Also at 7 p.m., the Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1083 will hold a cakewalk.
Following the talent show, the country rock band Hillbilly Rush will close the evening's activities.
On Friday, the evening's entertainment will be entirely local. At 5 p.m., the Lasting Hope band will perform. At 7 p.m., Brian Fink will take to the stage and Southern Comfort will close out the evening beginning at 8 p.m.
The Country Kickers will perform at 6 p.m. and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Auxiliary will hold a cakewalk at 7 p.m.
The Indiana Blood Center will take part in this year¹s festival seeking donations from festival visitors from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is a goal of 37 pints, one for each year of the festival.
Saturday's activities start early with the FFA serving breakfast at 6:30 a.m.
Registration for the three-on- three basketball and volleyball tournaments begins at 7:30 a.m. with play for both beginning at 8 a.m.
The volleyball tourney will be played in the main gymnasium and the 3 on 3 tourney will tip off in the auxiliary gymnasium.
The 5K Run/Walk starts at 8:30 a.m. in front of the main entrance to the school.
The pie contest is open to all pie bakers in the area. Pies can be registered at 10 a. m. in the lobby of the gymnasium. Winners will be announced at 3: 45 p. m. and the pies will be auctioned off with the money going to the Youth for Christ Outreach of Crothersville Methodist Church.
The Pet & Bike Parade will make its way down Preston Street at noon also. Children are encour-aged to decorate their bike or bring their favorite pet.
The Monday Night Special Band will be on the stage at 2 p.m. bringing country music from the 1940s and 1950s followed by the Stars & Stripes Line Dancers at 3 p.m.
Crothersville's Ed Hall Sr. will be the RWB Parade Marshal this year for the parade which begins at 4 p.m. from Bard Street.
Following the parade, the modern country band Taking Root will perform. Common Ground will perform bluegrass at 6 p.m. Brett Turner and 84 Beacon Street Band will follow at 7 p.m. Closing out the festival will be Down Grade Band playing old rock and roll.
Throughout the festival, the Antique Farm machinery Show will take place along Howard Street.
New this year is a petting zoo. Children of all ages will enjoy up close llamas, miniature donkeys and horses, a baby camel, micro pig and pigmy goats to name just a few.
Also the world's smallest buffalo, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records will be at the festival. Youngsters may purchase a cup of feEd for $1 to feed the animals.
"We encourage the community to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy the events of the festival and to visit with family and friends," Bridges said. "Community festivals require an incredible amount of work in organization and preparation. We have a large contingent of local volunteers who have put in a lot of hours since last year's festival to make sure all our festival visitors have a good time."
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