For 40 summers there has been a patriotic celebration in the community of Crothersville. Neither downpouring rain, tornadoes, or blazing hot heat and humidity have been able to stop it. Dampened it, blew it a bit, made us all sweat; but couldn’t stop it.
The Red, White and Blue Festival began as this community’s participation in the nation’s bicentennial salute. In 1976 the original festival organizers decided rather than hold a festival over the 4th of July when every other community would be, the local celebration would be held during Flag Day weekend, June 14, in an attempt to draw more visitors.
The first festival was a daytime only affair that filled Howard Street from the school to nearly the stoplight. The only electricity was provided by benevolent neighbors who allowed extension cords to be plugged into their homes and permitted their lives and their street to be disrupted by food booths, flea markets, and people traveling the paved portion (and sometimes private yards) to enjoy the goods.
That first June festival was so well received, the volunteer organizers decided to see if a tradition was in the making and it was held a second year, then a third, and now for the 40th time the second weekend in June greets Indiana’s Most Patriotic Festival.
There are other festivals and fairs that have gone on longer, but 40 years is a generation in biblical terms.
At this time in 1976 Gerald Ford was president and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was campaigning for the job. The pump price of gas was 59¢ a gallon and a First Class Stamp cost 13¢. In stock market news, the Dow Jones hit a high of 1004. The first ‘Rocky’ movie was the top money maker at the box office and ‘Happy Days’ was the nation’s favorite TV show. Indiana University coached by Bob Knight became the NCAA Champions with a perfect 32-0 season…a record challenged but never surpassed. A pair of Steves (Jobs and Wozniak) developed what would become Apple computers in their garage. And the Crothersville Times was still four years away from printing their first edition.
For those too young, that was a brief history lesson. For those old enough to remember, it was a stroll down memory lane.
And the festival hopes to see both young and old strolling the festival grounds this weekend making memories of your own.