Orleans Homecoming Celebration kicks off Saturday

ORLEANS — After having to cancel two straight Dogwood Festivals because of concerns over the coronavirus, Orleans needed a chance to celebrate.

After the governor announced the easing of COVID restrictions in early April, there wasn’t enough time for organizers to salvage this year’s Dogwood Festival, but they set their sights on a homecoming event centered around the Fourth of July.

Robert Henderson

“I hope the event will be somewhat reminiscent of days past when the annual Orleans American Legion Homecoming  was held every summer downtown Orleans,” said Chamber Executive Director Robert Henderson. “This was a beloved community tradition for many years. We want this to be a real old-fashioned patriotic-type event for the community as a whole. And think too that after the many months of dealing with the pandemic, we are all more than ready to come together and celebrate.”

The Orleans Area Chamber of Commerce along with its community partner, the Orleans American Legion Post, took the lead, and the Orleans Homecoming Celebration was a go.

Kick Off Events will start this coming Saturday July 3 with the Orange County HomeGrown Farmers Market on the west side of the square from 8 a.m. until noon.

A Red, White, and Blue Classic Car Show will be held around the square from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. And a special FREE Concert will be performed at noon featuring Johnathan Len & The Double Edge Band. There will also be a BBQ cookoff.

Registration for the Car Show will be from 10 a.m. to noon with a $15 entry fee for the first category and $5 for each additional category.

Vehicles will be judged beginning at noon with the announcement of the winners at 3 p.m. For more information on the car show, individuals should contact Mike Harkness at 812-653-1648.

Popular musician Jonathan Len and The Double Edge Band will be performing on Bicentennial Stage in historic Congress Square beginning at noon and continuing until 2 p.m.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs as seating in the park is limited.

Len has performed numerous times as part of the Orleans Summer Concert in the Park Series and always a crowd-pleaser.  Also appearing this year will be the Double Edge Band. This five-piece band is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The members have a long history of working in the music industry.

The Chamber of Commerce will have its Silent Auction in the Unity Hall located directly behind the Orleans Christian Church from June 30 through July 3.

A large array of unique and interesting items has been donated and will be available for bidding this year. Hours for the special community event will be from 5-8 p.m. June 30 through July 2 and 9 a.m. to noon on July 3, when the auction is officially closed.

Stop by to check out the large selection of items being offered and place a bid if something catches your eye.

Three teams have registered for the BBQ Cook Off Contest. The teams will be cooking both ribs and chicken. The BBQ rigs are expected to roll in around 5 a.m. on July 3 to begin set up and prep work.

The Orleans American Legion is teaming up with Brady Amusements for a carnival to be set up around the historic town square July 6-9. There will be games, rides, concessions and more starting at 5 p.m. each day.

Advance bracelets for July 6-8 are still on sale. Bracelets are $25 and can be used any or all of the three days. Bracelets are available at Orleans Marathon, Mid-Southern Savings Bank, Hucks, and Dollar General Store. Advance sales will end at 3 p.m. on July 6.

The chamber is asking town residents to decorate their properties in appropriate patriotic colors for the event. It encourages the use of flags, bunting, and banners, especially along Maple Street (State Road 37).

The Orleans firemen will be hosting a “Burger Burn” Saturday and will also have a dunk tank and activities for the children set up in the park.