(BLOOMFIELD) - A Greene County planning committee is busy preparing for a king-sized Interstate 69 celebration on Oct. 20 that can be enjoyed by entire families and communities.
The Greene County Daily World reports that the Greene County site will be near the intersection of State Road 58/U.S. 231 junction with the new interstate highway.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is providing limited access to sections of the nearly completed I-69 for Community Day events at five locations of the I-69 corridor.
"I would like to see the entire county represented at this event," according Brianne Jerrels, Community Development Specialist in the Greene County Economic Development Corporation Office, who is leading the local effort.
Each location will feature family friendly activities.
"This is the first time INDOT has allowed public access of this nature on an interstate highway under construction and community leaders plan to take advantage of this special opportunity before the new corridor opens later this year," INDOT Vincennes District spokesperson Cher Elliott said.
In Greene County, there will be an opening ceremony at about 10 a.m. that will feature brief remarks by INDOT and county elected officials as well as the presentation of colors.
Among the local activities planned are a 5K run, classic car show, tractor rides, police K-9 demonstration, a chalk art contest, and tricycle races.
The K-9 demonstration will feature police units from Linton, Bloomfield, and NSA Crane.
Wacky the Clown will be making balloon characters for the youngsters and there will be a dance. There will also be a number of food vendors.
A variety of children's activities and games are planned, such as face painting and craft activities using locally produced Soy-Yer Dough, according to Jerrels.
Another highlight will be "Touch a Truck" which Jerrels explained will feature a variety of fire trucks, emergency vehicles, and military vehicles from nearby NSA Crane base. The vehicles will be there for youngsters, students and adults to learn more about.
Between 10 a.m. and noon, an Air-Evac medical helicopter will do a fly-in and its crew will be available to explain the capabilities of their craft.
Another highlight that will take place about 6 p.m. involves a mass group photo of the attendees who will be formed into an "I-69" design and photographed from one of the aerial fire trucks.
The local events, which will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., are all free, but Jerrels said attendees are asked to bring non-perishable canned goods or pet foods.
The canned goods will be donated to Greene County food pantries and the pet food will be given to the Greene County Humane Society for its sheltered animals.
Jerrels said a more exact schedule of events should be finalized in the next week by a committee of about a dozen people who are volunteering to head up this event.
More volunteers are needed to logistically make the event a success, she said.
"We only have one day to set up and tear down ... because the contractors are working six days a week," Jerrels said.
"I think this is kind of creating a legacy for the kids. They'll remember this for the rest of their lives that they ran on it or got their face painted on it or drew on it with chalk. They will remember that forever."
Similar events are planned the same day by the town of Odon near the SR 58 and new I-69 interchange; Daviess County, near the U.S. 50 and new I-69 interchange; Pike County, near the SR 61 and new I-69 interchange; and Gibson County, near the SR 64 and new I-69 interchange.
Gov. Mitch Daniels said there is plenty reasons for the communities located along the interstate, which is set to open before the end of the year, to celebrate.
"When the new interstate opens, it will connect numerous communities that have been underserved for decades," Gov. Daniels stated in a press release. "In my job, I have traveled all 92 counties and I know first-hand how important I-69 is to southwest Indiana. That's one reason why these Community Days will be full of celebration."
Anyone wanting to volunteer to help with the Greene County celebration can contact Jerrels at 847-4500.
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