Local organizers looking for ways to showcase Hancock County in 2016

GREENFIELD — Though Indiana is still two years shy of its 200th birthday, Hancock County residents are already looking forward to a bicentennial celebration and thinking about how the local community can get involved.

A group of about a dozen nonprofit and government officials met last month with representatives of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission to look ahead to 2016. While ideas for local ways to celebrate are all preliminary, excitement is building for statewide festivities.

“All the counties are celebrating – it’s the celebration of Indiana becoming a state,” said Brigette Jones. “It’ll be a big birthday party.”

Jones, involved with the Hancock County Historical Society and the James Whitcomb Riley Home, was among the group of local stakeholders who gathered last month to hear about the state commission’s plans and brainstorm what to do locally.

Plans could include the 2016 Riley Festival, Jones said, especially because the state’s bicentennial coincides with the 100th anniversary of Riley’s death.

Locals are also brainstorming how to put a Hancock County spin on the statewide torch relay, which will use various modes of Hoosier transportation to pass an Olympic-style torch through all 92 counties throughout the bicentennial year. Perhaps the torch could come through Greenfield during the Riley Festival, Jones said.

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