From the skies above Edinburgh, local residents will have the chance to gain a unique perspective on its 200-year history.
They’ll be able to lift off in a hot air balloon, rising above the two-day festival and celebration that is the Bicentennial Bash. People can watch lumberjack all-stars chop, hack, saw and climb, all in recognition of Edinburgh’s lumber and veneer history. Pony rides, magic shows, petting zoos and all kinds of local vendors will keep kids and adults entertained.
And from Friday to its close late Saturday night, live music will keep the crowds grooving.
A bicentennial is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and organizers of Edinburgh’s 200th birthday are making sure it’s an event no one will forget. From food to historical displays to performances to fireworks, people will have an opportunity to discover everything that the town has been and the community it continues to foster.
“This whole year has been about researching and digging into our history to find interesting stories and anecdotes we can share with the community,” said SaraBeth Drybread, organizer of the event. “People are very excited. We have people from out of state coming back for the celebration, who are really looking forward to this historic event we’re having.
“We’re looking at this like a big family reunion for our town, where people can talk and reminisce and have a meal together and listen to music.”
Edinburgh, which was founded in 1822 by John Campbell, has designated the entire year a recognition of its 200-year history. Starting with a kick-off dinner in March and continuing with a historic church tour and an exhibit at the Johnson County Museum of History, the anticipation has been building towards this two-day festival, Drybread said.
In the long planning process, organizers wanted to do something completely different than any other Edinburgh festivals.
“We have the Fall Festival with the carnival rides, and our holiday festival with carriage rides. We wanted this to be something unique,” Drybread said. “With this being our 200th anniversary, we wanted to pay homage to our past but also do some things that were kind of pastime activities.”
Entertainment and live music are a big part of that. The planning committee reached out and secured a diverse lineup of music Friday evening and all day Saturday. Celebrate Edinburgh’s Scottish-Irish roots on Friday with a performance by the Ceili Band followed by the rollicking ballads, shanties and folk songs of early America, Ireland and the British Isles.
The swingin’ tunes of Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt and other up-tempo greats come alive through the music of Dukes of Django. Everything from acoustic folk to hip-hop to full-band rock is in the repertoire of Barely Bones.
Headliner Rusty Bladen is one of the most active and well-known acts in the Indiana music scene. His homegrown brand of rock has produced nine albums and more than 5,000 shows throughout his career.
“Having two days of live music is going to be really special,” Drybread said. “Entertainment is always going to be going on.”
Other performances are planned by magician Laif Ryan, as well as the family-centric musical stylings of Mr. Daniel. Kids can relax in the petting zoo and take pony rides, while food trucks, a beer garden and more than 40 vendors will keep the grown-ups in the crowd entertained throughout the weekend.
The Johnson County Shrine Club has organized a fish and tenderloin fry for the community on both days of the festival. A proclamation, featuring local and state officials as well as members of the National Guard, will be read on Saturday afternoon.
But arguably the most attention-grabbing feature will be the hot air balloon, which will launch from the grass of School Hill on Saturday evening.
“It’s an old way of transportation, and we thought it would be fun,” Drybread said. “You can see the whole town from up there. We wanted to take the celebration to the skies and look over the entire community while we celebrate this big occasion.”
The lumberjack show is another highlight of the festival. Timber experts from the All American Lumberjack Show will split into two teams to square off in 10 exciting lumberjack events, from log rolling to axe throwing to hot saw racing.
“We wanted to recognize our rich veneer and lumber industry, and I was trying to think, what could we do with wood?” Drybread said.
For as long as the bicentennial festival has been planned, it seems surreal that it is less than a week away. But anticipation has been building throughout the Edinburgh community, and that’s going to make for an event that will be hard to forget, Drybread said.
“It really is about the memories. We’re going to working really hard to document this event with photo opportunities for families, and we’re going to have a videographer there. We want to capture this event,” she said.
IF YOU GO
What: A two-day celebration of Edinburgh’s 200th anniversary
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 10-11
Where: Keeley Street at School Hill, Edinburgh
Ongoing events: Food trucks, beer garden, vendors, magic shows
Noon, 4 and 8 p.m.: All American Lumberjack Show, Holy Trinity Catholic Church gravel lot, 100 Keeley St.
6 p.m.: Ceili Band, main stage
7 p.m.: Laif Ryan magic show, main stage
8 p.m.: Laughing Jack, main stage
11 a.m.: Petting zoo and pony rides, School Hill grass
11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m.: All American Lumberjack Show, Holy Trinity Catholic Church gravel lot
Noon to 1:30 p.m.: Mr. Daniel kids and family show
4 p.m.: Dukes of Django, main stage
6 p.m.: Barely Bones, main stage
7 to 10 p.m.: Hot air balloons, School Hill grass; tickets can be purchased at edinburgh-bicentennial-organization.square.site or at the community center
8 to 10 p.m.: Rusty Bladen, main stage