Bourbon Sesquicentennial


In observance of the nationís 200th year, Bourbon geared up to organize a parade and published an award winning book, Bicentennial Celebration Bourbon, Indiana. A group of local seamstresses formed the Betsy Ross Club and stitched up a collection of historic national flags that were used to decorate the downtown. Triton eighth grade student Jo McCollough designed the winning entry for a town flag. The flag featured a tribute to the Old Town Pump and a fleur de lis recognizing the French origins of the name of the town.

The local celebration of 1976 was deemed a success and Old Town Pump Days (1977-1983) grew from this enthusiastic start expanding on the Bicentennial Celebration. Old Town Pump Days featured a road race, a bike race, a tennis tournament, kidsí games and a small carnival along with the local merchants hosting sidewalk sales.

Bourbonís first Summerfest was Aug 16-17, 1986. Some of the principal organizers were Lucy Peckham, Marilyn Ray Hennon, Nancy Reichert, and Kathryn Chapman Dreibelbis.

Summerfest activities centered at the park on Sunset Dr. Sporting events dominated the schedule. Tournaments in basketball, baseball, whiffle ball, tennis, and volleyball drew participants from near and far.

Cute kids at all ages were crowned from baby photo contest winners to the talented young ladies that wore the Miss Summerfest title. For the boys and girls of the 3-5 year old age group there was a poise and personality contest to earn the title Cutie King and Queen. Summerfest continued through 2002 stepping aside in 2003 for the Sesquicentennial.

The Bourbon Antique Tractor and Engine Show was conceived in the spring of 1988 when Jim Bates, Jr. and Norman Steinman began putting together a plan to host a local exhibition of the antique tractor collections of area enthusiasts.

The first show was held on Summerfest weekend, but subsequent shows were held on September weekends.

For 14 years the displays and demonstrations evoked nostalgic reminiscing in visitors and exhibitors as they showed the tools of yesterday to their children and grandchildren.

Members and regular participants of the tractor and engine show were Margaret and Jim Bates, Sr., Jim Bates, Jr., Jo Bates, Marc and Judi Weissert, Steve Weissert, Jeremy Weissert, Joan and Ernie Weissert, Carl Weissert, Lyal, Dan and Dave Harman, Dale Stockman, Eldon Greer, Loren Gochenour, Bob Beck, Fred Miner, Bob and Skeeter Daugherty, Kenny Boyd, Ernie, Mike, and Dave Redinger and Duane Zentz.

Bourbon Sesquicentennial Page