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Planning Continues For Upcoming 50th Annual Orleans Dogwood Festival
Updated February 6, 2018 8:28 AM | Filed under: Event
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(ORLEANS) - Planning continues for the upcoming 50th Annual Orleans Dogwood Festival. Festival planners have been meeting monthly since last November to make preparations for this year's special homecoming celebration.

Dates for the Golden Anniversary of the celebration of the blooming of the dogwood will be April 20-28. Festival organizers have announced the general theme for this year's festival will be, "Celebrating the blossom for a season-Celebrating the memories for a lifetime."

New offerings will include a 50th Anniversary Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre for the last weekend. A special Postmark celebrating "Indiana's Dogwood Capital" will be offered on the opening Saturday, April 21st at the Orleans Post Office. And other commemorate type souvenirs will be available to help celebrate the town's trademark blooms including t-shirts, hats, notecards, magnets, keychains and pins.

A very limited number of the 2018 Orleans Photography Calenda that was created in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Dogwood Festival remain available for purchase. They are $12 each from J & S, Orleans Antiques, Sprigler's Deli and Orleans Town Offices.

Orleans Chamber officials are calling for citizens past and present to assist in planting 50 new Dogwoods early this spring throughout the town to commemorate the occasion. Trees will be made available for purchase in advance through Lawnmoore. The original plantings of white, pink and red trees began in the mid to late 1960s by what was once known as "Operation Dogwood," Sadly a number of the trees have died out and/or been removed over the years and presently in real need of replacement.

Chamber representatives are also hoping community members will come forward in the next few weeks with any type of memorabilia and memories from the past 50 years for a special historic display. Some of the items being sought include any good photos from early festivals, past queens, parades and souvenirs through the decades. Individuals having items they are willing to loan for display purposes are asked to contact Robert Henderson at the Orleans Town Offices.

Kick off events will include a reunion of all former Dogwood Queens, past general chairpersons. Contact info is needed for past Dogwood Queens and should be submitted to the Chamber office, (812) 865-9930. Ashley Cowan is chairing this year's newly combined Dogwood Pageants with Eileen Gilbert as her Co-Chair. This year for the first time ever both the Little Miss and Queen Crowning will also take place on a single day on Saturday April 21st at Orleans Elementary School. Contest details will be available from the festival website soon and both the Orleans elementary and high school principal offices and/or by contacting Knight at (812) 653-0255.

Opening weekend ceremonies will also include a special community event featuring entertainment from some very special celebrity guests to be announced very soon.

The 50th Annual Dogwood Parade will be held on April 28th at 2 p.m. and will include a number of anniversary surprises. Spectators will be treated to a visit from the Monkey Business monster truck, Circle Sidewalk Stompers Clown Band, and area Shriner units. The civic and business community are being encouraged to participate in the Golden Anniversary Celebration by entering and participating in the Parade this year. Parade Chairman Randy Clark and Co-Chair Neil Blanton have issued a challenge for everyone to come out and be a part of this special once in a lifetime celebration of the trademark of Orleans.

The popular Dogwood Baby Contest is back this year and set for April 22nd at a location the Orleans High School cafeteria. Also returning is the Orleans Chamber's Silent Auction scheduled for April 26-28 at Unity Hall.

The popular Dogwood Pedal Bike Ride will be returning to this year's festival line up as well. The ride is set for the morning of April 22st. Ride details are now available Dogwood Pedal link found on the dogwood website.

The Orleans American Legion will once again provide the midway, Brady's Amusement, which will set up and operate the entire week as in the past. Advance Sales of Bracelet Tickets will be announced by legion members soon.

Other festival favorite highlights include the Town-Wide Yard Sale, Phi Beta Psi Styles & Salads, quilt show, photo contest, euchre tourney, student art show, gospel Night in the park, and arts & crafts fair in the park.

The UMC Ham & Bean Supper, Dogwood Art Walk, Cub Scout Rain Gutter Regatta, and will also all return to the festival lineup.

Vendor applications are now being accepted for arts and craft type vendors to be set up in the park during festival week. Jenny Hopper and Brandon Deckard are again serving as chairpersons for that event.

The next regular Dogwood Committee meeting will be Tuesday, February 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the Orleans Town Hall Community Room. All event chairmen and/or supporting organizations are urged to attend and/or have a representative present for the planning session so a schedule of events can be finalized.

To stay up with all the latest Dogwood 50 happenings, entry forms, event chairmen contacts are available on the festival's new website,

The Orleans Dogwood Festival Face Book page is also being updated regularly with new information for 2018.

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