On New Year’s Eve, Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration will officially start in Vincennes, Indiana’s first city, during the Watermelon Drop. In honor of the Bicentennial Celebration kick off, this year’s Watermelon Drop will include a Nighttime Air Show over the Wabash River, featuring more than 10 airplanes. This will be Vincennes’ eighth Watermelon Drop celebration, but it will be the biggest by far, lasting early into New Year’s Day.
Indiana’s 200th birthday celebration will last throughout the year across all 92 counties. The celebration aims to commemorate the state’s history with bicentennial stamps, medals, a flag, a book, and events across the state. A full calendar of events throughout the year can be found on the Indiana Bicentennial website.
One of the main events during the celebration, the Torch Relay, will begin in September. Nominated Hoosiers will symbolically carry the torch through Indiana’s 92 counties. Hoosiers can nominate other Hoosiers who demonstrate exceptional public service, achievement, acts of heroism and/or volunteer service to their neighborhood, community, region, or state. More than 1,800 torchbearers will be chosen to participate in the six day 2,300 mile journey. The Torch Relay will begin in Indiana’s first state capitol, Corydon, and end in Indianapolis on the Statehouse Grounds.
The Indiana Bicentennial Commission was established to manage events and projects for the celebration. The Commission approved Bicentennial building projects to commemorate the year including a bicentennial plaza at the Indiana Statehouse, a new state archives facility, and a bicentennial inn at Potato Creek State Park in Northern Indiana.
The Bicentennial celebration will include funding for numerous Bicentennial Legacy Projects across the state. The Indiana Arts Commission announced the approval of grants to fund 197 Bicentennial Legacy Projects. Seventy-six projects will be funded for Arts in the Parks program, which partners the Indiana Arts Commission with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The Arts in the Parks program becomes an extension of the 1916 state’s centennial gift of a state park system to the people. Thirty-five projects will be a part of the Indiana Masterpiece program, which will showcase the state’s art history and its prominent creative figures.
A year full of events and new projects in Indiana will allow Hoosiers to fully participate in the 200th celebration of Indiana’s statehood.The celebration will conclude on December 11, 2016 but Hoosiers will be able to enjoy the building and legacy projects for years long after Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration.
For more information about the Bicentennial Celebration see: http://www.in.gov/ibc/