HANCOCK COUNTY — They’ll cruise through the county atop tall fire trucks, seated inside classic cars — at least one will make her debut on an antique tractor.
Each of the 20 local residents tapped to represent Hancock County during the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay will traverse their leg of the route with torch in hand, a symbol of 200 years of state history.
Indiana’s bicentennial torch is slated to pass through Hancock County Friday, when the county’s torchbearers will carry it from the Madison County line to the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple St., for a celebration of statehood.
The torch began its 3,200-mile journey, traveling through all 92 counties, Sept. 9 and finishes in Indianapolis on Saturday.
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As the torch winds its way through the county, organizers hope residents will be out in full force to line the route and cheer on their neighbors and celebrate a historic moment months in the making.
Along the way, as the torch passes through Fortville, McCordsville, Cumberland, New Palestine and Greenfield, organizations in those communities will host events to coincide with the celebration.
Here’s a look at events open to the public to honor the state’s 200th birthday.
Torchbearer Andrew Ebbert, a local firefighter and historic preservationist, will pick up the torch at the Madison County line around 3 p.m. Friday to kick off the tour through the county.
He’ll travel in a 1956 Ford firetruck owned by the town of Shirley, where he serves as fire chief, down State Road 67 toward Main Street in Fortville, where a celebration is planned along the thoroughfare.
From 2 to 7 p.m., festivities will include a classic car show, live music and food.
The torch will stop for a few minutes around 3:15 p.m. at Main and Church streets for the celebration.
Other events in Fortville include a special mass at St. Thomas the Apostle, 523 S. Merrill St. Mass begins at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
The torch leaves Fortville around 3:30 p.m. and will be carried along State Road 36 toward County Road 600W. A pass-off is planned at McCordsville United Methodist Church, 6247W. Broadway.
The town of McCordsville and the congregation have coordinated a number of activities for residents of all ages to commemorate the day from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the church.
Organizers say there will be games for children, antique cars on display, a barbecue food truck and popcorn. They hope by passing out souvenir state flags to residents, people will line the streets and cheer as the torch passes through town.
Organizers will also take a few minutes to introduce and honor the torchbearers from McCordsville at approximately 3:45 p.m., when the torch is expected to pass through the area.
Between 5 and 8 p.m., the town has planned a chili cook-off at Scarlett Lane Brewery, 7724 Depot St. Twenty-five competitors will make chili using Scarlett Lane’s brew, and the chili categories are Traditional, Spicy, Sweet, Vegetarian and Turkey/Chicken.
The public is invited to enjoy free samples of the chili selection.
After leaving McCordsville, the torch caravan will detour off County Road 600W to U.S. 40 around 4:30 p.m., stopping at the Ron Sanders Log Cabin, 7183 W. U.S. 40, where the town of Cumberland is teaming up with area churches to offer bicentennial activities from 4 to 8 p.m.
There will be fire pits, face-painting, kid-friendly crafts and Indiana-inspired food and drinks. The Knights of Columbus will sell hamburgers and hot dogs.
In New Palestine, torchbearers will carry the torch along Main Street and toward the high school. Torchbearer Nicholson Miller, a local student, will carry the torch down the New Palestine High School football field around 5:30 p.m., where spectators are invited to stand along the sidelines to cheer him on.
From there, the torch will stop at the New Palestine History Museum, 11 E. Main St., for a short celebration.
New Palestine Main Street and museum officials have planned an event open to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. at the museum. Singer Davinna Beale will perform songs she has written about Indiana life, museum exhibits will be open, and cake will be served.
The torch will arrive in Greenfield at the Partners for Animal Welfare Society office around 6 p.m.
It will travel along U.S. 40 to the Pennsy Trail and into downtown Greenfield. Mayor Chuck Fewell will accept the torch around 6:45 p.m. in front of the Hancock County Courthouse, 9 E. Main St., where he’s expected to make a few remarks. From 5 to 7 p.m., there will be live music played on the courthouse lawn.
From there, the torch will head toward the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds. At about 7 p.m., torchbearer Sarah Kesterson is expected to arrive to help light a bicentennial cauldron at the site, concluding the torch’s tour of Hancock County.
A birthday party for Indiana is planned at the fairgrounds beginning at 4 p.m. The state’s bicentennial trailer will be open to visors from 4 to 8 p.m. to learn more about the state’s 200 years.
Local nonprofit organizations will also be on hand to talk about their history in the county and offer activities for children.
Food will be available for purchase, and free live entertainment, including local artists, is planned throughout the night.
Twenty Hancock County residents have been tapped to carry the Indiana bicentennial torch through Hancock County Friday.
Brigette Cook Jones
*Names are listed in the order they’ll carry the torch
Towns and community organizations are planning a variety of activities to coincide with the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay’s route through Hancock County on Friday.
The torch will stop at Main and Church streets in Fortville, where community members are planning a celebration. The torch is expected to stop around 3:15 p.m.
Around 3:45 p.m., the torch with stop at the McCordsville United Methodist Church, 6247 W. Broadway, for a town celebration.
The town of Cumberland is planning activities at the Ron Sanders Log Cabin, 7183 W. U.S. 40, with the torch passing through the area around 4:45 p.m.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., the torch will be carried down the New Palestine High School football field, 4485 S. Victory Drive. From there, it will travel to the New Palestine History Museum, 11 E. Main St., where a town celebration is planned.
In Greenfield, the torch will stop at the Hancock County Courthouse, 9 E. Main St., around 6:45 p.m.
From there, it travels to the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple St., where the torch relay ends with the lighting of a cauldron around 7 p.m.