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Last updated on Friday, April 18, 2014
(ORLEANS) - For the past 45 years, the Orleans community has celebrated the blooming of the dogwood trees.
This year's 46th annual Dogwood Festival, sponsored by the Orleans Chamber of Commerce will begin April 25 with a number of pre-festival type activities.
Then the festival's main events run April 30 through May 4.
Lew and Georgia Tetrick will serve as the 2014 Orleans Dogwood Festival Parade Grand Marshals. The parade will roll through downtown Orleans May 3 at noon.
In the-mid 1960s, the Village Improvement Society (VIP), and other community groups under the direction of Elizabeth "Bill" Wheeler, began planting the town's famed dogwood trees along the town streets, in Congress Square and around the town's three historic cemeteries.
Then in 1965, the town celebrated its Sesquicentennial, which was hugely successful. Following the Sesquicentennial, local leaders needed to find a new focus. Kate Noblitt envisioned an annual festival based on the blooming of the dogwoods. Her effort led to the annual festival and Orleans being named to Dogwood Capital of Indiana.
So each spring, Orleans residents are joined by former residents and other area citizens in marking the Dogwood Festival. The fickle spring weather sometimes plays havoc with events. But every year since 1968 there has been a festival.
The Dogwood Festival has been named as one of Midwest Living Magazine's top flowering festivals in the Midwest.
This year's festival theme, "Come Home When Dogwoods Bloom," invites former residents far and wide to help Orleans gear up for its 200th birthday and plans underway to mark the town's bicentennial next year.
Pre-festival events this year will include the annual Orleans Town-Wide Yard Sale on April 25-26. The Dogwood Horseshoe Tourney is set for April 25, 1 p.m. at the Orleans Airport with Dave Mathers serving as the event chair.
The 2014 Dogwood Queen Contest and the announcement of Dogwood Citizen of the Year will be made during ceremonies planned for Saturday, April 26, 6 p.m. at the elementary school.
The Dogwood Horseshoe Tourney is also set for April 25, 1 p.m. at the Orleans Airport with Dave Mathers serving as the event chair.
Lea Ann Jones and Stacy Elrod will chair the Little Miss Dogwood pageant which is slated for Sunday afternoon, April 27 starting at 2 p.m.
The Orleans American Legion Post is once again sponsoring the carnival with Brady Amusements which will be set up and run the entire week downtown as in the years past.
The longtime festival Phi Beta Psi Style Show & Salad Supper returns on Tuesday, April 27 at the elementary school.
While the festival's schedule will look a little different with some events moving to different days to reflect the new schedule changes being introduced this year, festival goers will still find a number of old favorites. Returning events include the popular silent auction, photo contest, euchre tourney, student art show, gospel sing, pet parade, arts & crafts in the park, Kiwanis Breakfast, and WUME's lip sync.
The UMC ham & bean Supper, Dogwood art walk, Orleans Cub Scout Rain Gutter Regatta, and Kiwanis Bubblegum Contest will also all return to the festival lineup.
Randy Clark is once again serving as parade chairman and is now accepting entries for the event. Lew and Georgia Tetrick will serve as grand marshals leading off the Noon time parade down historic main street on Saturday, May 3rd.
Entertainment lineup for the main festival stage begins on Wednesday night, April 30 and will include performances by the OES/OHS Choir, OHS Pep Band, Kirby Stailey, The wildly popular Pet Monkey Band, and Sweet Water.
What would any Hoosier gathering be without good food. Dogwood patrons will be able to enjoy a variety of beloved carnival type fare on the midway. The Orleans Band parents Food Stand will be located in usual spot on the one-way. In addition the Orleans United Methodist Church will serve up their delicious ham & beans supper complete with homemade desserts. Kiwanis Club members will feed hungry festival goers breakfast on parade day.
Arts and crafts, and other vendors are expected to be set up in the park area beginning April 30 through Parade Day May 3rd. Brandon and Nikki Deckard are taking care of lining up vendors for those four days.
More event details, entry forms for the various events, vendor applications, and event chairmen contacts are now available on the festival's website, www.orleansdogwoodfestival.com. The Orleans Dogwood Face Book page is also being updated weekly with new information for 2014.
Chamber representatives recently learned that Coca-Cola as agreed to be one of the festival's main corporate sponsors this year. "We certainly appreciate Dean Jones and the Coca-Cola folks for stepping up and helping us to keep the festival going," said Executive Director Robert Henderson.
Henderson said other than a small handful of generous corporate benefactors the only annual operating monies the festival receives is the 10% of the net profits of those groups, or organizations who traditionally sponsor money making events during the Dogwood days.
Festival planners will meet to finalize any last minute details on Tuesday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Orleans Town Hall. All event chairmen and anyone interested in helping with this year's festival is urged to attend. Supporting organizations are also asked to have a representative present at this meeting.
"Come Home When Dogwoods Bloom"
Friday, April 25 (Pre-Festival Events)
Saturday, April 26
Sunday, April 27
Monday, April 28
Tuesday, April 29
*Both the Orleans Christian Church and Orleans United Methodist are designated emergency type shelter areas during festival week in the event of severe weather or other type of emergency.
First Aid-Orleans 1st Responders (South side square).
Dogwood Headquarters, festival, area visitor info etc. (Orleans Chamber, north side of square)
Wednesday, April 30 (Official Opening Day)
Thursday, May 1
Friday, May 2
Saturday, May 3
Sunday, May 4 (Official Closing Out)
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