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Bicentennial adds activities, structure

Vickie Beaty, new Fayette County Bicentennial fundraising chair, addresses the Bicentennial committee Tuesday with her ideas to raise money to support the activities being planned.

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

As the Fayette County Bicentennial steering committee looks at activities for the county’s 200th-anniversary celebration that is nine months away, funding will be needed to stage those events.

“This is Fayette County, our heritage, and, by cracky, we’re going to have a birthday party,” said the steering committee’s new fund-raising chair, Vicky Beaty.

Beaty accepted the fund-raising position Tuesday, according to Mike Sparks, the steering committee co-chair.

The Bicentennial is set for May 16-19, 2019. On Tuesday, the steering committee added to a tentative schedule of activities.

The group had previously approved putting up 10,000 U.S. flags in Roberts Park. During the 2013 Connersville Bicentennial, the cost for the flags came to about $5,000.

The Honoring Our Elders Luncheon to the county Bicentennial on Thursday, May 16, had not been formally approved as the opening activity until Tuesday.

Other activities approved include a celebration of the 28 Hoosier Homestead Farm for farms in the same family for at least 100 years and geocaching to historic sites.

Committee member Pat Summan said there is one bicentennial farm in the county and another that may be honored next year.

“When it comes to celebrating the county Bicentennial, it would be hard to have a celebration without recognizing how it all began, and that was agriculture,” Sparks said.

A life resident of the Everton area, Jim Reese, said information is coming about settlers who came to that area in 1812 and used the water power available to establish industry.

Early settlers built textile mills, grist mills and canneries, he said. He knows of the site of an early textile mill where the foundation can still be seen. The mill produced blankets for the Civil War and the group has one of those.

“A historical marker is on Bentley Road for Milton Tressler, who established rural mail delivery for the United States,” he said. “There were four schools in the Everton area. A tour of landmarks could play into this. It is really interesting what we are finding in that area.”

A geocaching activity for the county Bicentennial could be developed using the Global Positioning System to take people to historic sites. People who find those sites could take a geocache coin recognized around the world, said Lindsey Brooks, a steering committee member. 

One benefit of the research going into the Bicentennial is learning history that is on the verge of being lost, Sparks said.

“If we don’t find some way of bringing it up and documenting, some of this history is within a generation or so of being lost,” he said. “Who knows how much we have lost that none of us are of aware because it’s already faded into oblivion.”

Beaty, the fund-raising chair, is a native who has lived and worked most her life in the county. After retiring, it is time to get involved again, she said.

She listed the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Connersville Lions Club and Babe Ruth World Series as organizations she has worked with, as well as being the first John Miller Community Center director.

Debbie Jobe has agreed to be the treasurer, Sparks said.

“Everything we plan and all our activities we take to the Tourism Bureau for their blessing to include in our celebration depends on the fundraising effort,” Sparks said.

Information about the Bicentennial will begin appearing on the Facebook page for Fayette County Tourism.