NEW PALESTINE — Downtown New Palestine was a flurry of autumn traditions over the weekend, with the town’s annual fall festival filling the streets with family friendly activities, food vendors and more.
The small town on the county’s southwest side also played host to the annual parade and anti-bullying walk, which led participants into the heart of town for the 68th annual fall festival.
Organizers say the weather was perfect for bringing families together, with hundreds of community members packing New Palestine streets for the events.
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A group of friends gathered around the table hidden under a big tent set up just outside the New Palestine Lions Club. They chatted while waiting to take part in a bingo event that took place during the New Palestine Fall Festival.
And from the outset, they had their eye on the prize — some very specific prizes, in fact.
“I’m planning on winning at least one of these beautiful purses,” said Jerry Hartman of New Palestine.
They were comments echoed by dozens of other participants ready to play bingo — one of the many activities planned during the three-day festival — in hopes of winning designer handbags.
The 68th annual event brought visitors plenty of things to tempt the taste buds and the wallet. A daily fish fry beckoned the lunch crowd, and a large vendor tent offered crafts and items for sale. A special play zone set aside for children made it easier for families to keep an eye on the youngest festival-goers, and live entertainment kept the upbeat vibe going throughout the weekend.
Area residents lined U.S. 52 Saturday morning as the parade passed by. New Palestine Town Council members, among others in the parade, tossed candy to eager little hands that watched the floats passing by.
It’s the success of events like these that make it possible to entertain residents in the future, organizers said. Proceeds from the festival are set aside by the Lions Club to give back to the community and help pay for future events, organizers said.
The Run, Walk, Roll for Unity event kicked off early Saturday, when more than 160 people took part in the bullying-prevention event.
Dressed in bright red event T-shirts, participants could take part in one of two walk, run, or roll events. Many decided to tackle the 1-mile walk at New Palestine High School around the cross country field, while dozens of others opted for the more challenging 4-mile route.
The latter group rode buses to Doe Creek Middle School and ran through Hancock County before ending at the high school.
Lisa Lantrip, superintendent, started the walkers and runners off at the middle school following the playing of the National Anthem. The event is important, she said, because it brings awareness to a topic affecting so many students and families.
“It helps us come together as a group to say bullying is not OK in our community,” Lantip said.