Planning for Orleans 2020 Dogwood Festival Continues

(ORLEANS) – The Orleans Chamber of Commerce has announced plans are well underway for the upcoming 2020 Dogwood Festival.  

This year will mark the 52nd anniversary of the celebration of the blooming dogwood, which is set for April 18-25.

Festival committee members met Thursday night at Orleans Town Hall to continue planning efforts for this year’s festivities.  General Theme suggestions for this year’s homecoming are still being accepted by the Chamber.  Those wishing to submit theme ideas are being asked to email them to by no later than February 15th. 

The individual submitting the winning theme submission will receive $100 cash prize, a t-shirt with their theme highlighted on it and a write up in the Orleans Progress Examiner.

The Orleans Dogwood Festival has been named by Midwest Living magazine as one of its Top Ten Flowering Festivals in the Midwest.  The town’s trademark festival has been featured in both Midwest Traveler and Southern Indiana Living magazines.

Back by popular demand will be the Dogwood Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre for Parade weekend Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26. The dinner show is in partnership with The Orange County Players.

The Dogwood Baby Contest is back this year and set for April 18th. Also returning is the Orleans Chamber’s Silent Auction scheduled for April 22-25 at Unity Hall.

Ashley Cowan is once again chairing the combined Dogwood Pageants with Eileen Gilbert as her Co-Chair. This year as in 2019 both the Little Miss and Queen Crowning will again take place on the same day, April 18th at Orleans Elementary School. As has become tradition, the 2020 “Mr. Dogwood” will also be named during the intermission for the queen crowning ceremonies. The pageant will begin at 5 p.m.

Committee members extended their congratulations to 2019 Dogwood Queen Montana Sullivan for being named 1st Runner Up in the recent Indiana State Festival Association’s Scholarship Pageant held in Indianapolis.  Sullivan is an 18-year-old Orleans High School Senior and daughter of Jeff and Megan Sullivan.

Montana Sullivan

The popular Dogwood Pedal Ride will be returning, but with a brand-new date. The ride this year is set for May 30th.   The change of date is as a result of feedback from participants and the hopes of much-improved weather for the event.  Approximately 200 riders or more are expected to participate.  Ride details are now available Dogwood Pedal link found on the dogwood website.

New and additional entertainment is being lined up for the Main Street Stage this year.  A new event will include “Meet the Author” sponsored by the Orleans Library with guest best-selling author Phillip Gulley (Harmony Series, and Front Porch Tales).

Best-selling author Phillip Gulley

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.

Other festival favorite highlights include the Phi Beta Psi Styles & Salads, Photo Contest, student art show, Pet Parade, Arts & Crafts in the park, and Kiwanis famous Creek Bank Potatoes.

The UMC Ham & Bean Supper, Dogwood Art Walk will also all return to the festival lineup.

The chamber is now accepting entries for the annual Dogwood Parade set for April 25th.  A Grand Marshal for this year’s parade is expected to be announced by month’s end.

Vendor applications are also being accepted for arts and craft type vendors to be set up in the park during festival week. 

More festival details, entry forms, event chairmen contacts are available on the festival’s website,

The Orleans Dogwood Festival Facebook page is also being updated regularly with new information for 2020.

Chamber Executive Director Robert Henderson noted that Visit French Lick/West Baden graces the much-coveted front cover of the 2020 Indiana State Festival Guide and distributed copies to those present.  The Dogwood Festival has been a longtime and active member of the Indiana State Festival Association (ISFA).  The annual ISFA Spring Workshop will be held on April 18th at French Lick. Free copies of the new festival guides are now available for pick up from the Orleans Town offices.

The festival planning committee will meet again on Tuesday, February 225th at 6:30 p.m. at Orleans Town Hall.   All event chairmen and anyone interested in helping with this year’s festival are urged to attend. Supporting organizations are also asked to have a representative present at this meeting.