In 40 years, Doris Kovener has seen few things change with the Crothersville Red, White and Blue Festival.
Regulations for security have tightened, and more entertainment has been added. But the crowd draw of food, rides and family-oriented fun always has been there.
She said kids are let out of school and can’t wait for the summer event full of contests and fun, while attendees from Jackson and surrounding counties know what to expect when they bring their family and friends to the town of more than 1,600.
Those few changes to the annual festival are exactly what the 82-year-old believes brings a returning crowd each year.
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“People look forward to it,” said Kovener, who has been named the grand marshal of this year’s festival. “I call it a town party, and we’re inviting everybody to it from the outside world.”
The festival begins Wednesday when Brady Amusements will offer a special ride promotion in the evening. Discount bracelets can be purchased ahead of time.
Then, on Thursday, the festival will kick off with the baby contest in the early afternoon and the Little Mr. and Miss Red, White and Blue contest. Booths open at 5 p.m. just before the 6:30 p.m. opening ceremony, which includes a brief a pause to salute local veterans and honor Old Glory.
For more than 25 years, veterans have been honored during the opening ceremony. This year, the event will include a 40-40-40, where organizers are asking 40 veterans to walk the last 40 feet of the parade in celebration of the festival’s 40th year.
“Crothersville community is so proud to salute our veterans and pay tribute to Old Glory and recognize the sacrifices our veterans made for us,” said festival organizer Sherry Bridges.
On Friday, booths open at 5 p.m., and entertainment that evening will include Grandview Junction and the Real Country Music Show featuring Ron Gaddis.
On Saturday, the festival opens at 7:30 a.m. with the FFA breakfast. Multiple activities have been arranged for the rest of the day, including a 5K run/walk, a cake and pie contest and the annual parade.
The festival will conclude Saturday evening when fireworks will light up the sky around 10 p.m.
Bridges said this is the second year for the fireworks show with Zambelli. Robert Becker with Radio 96.3 WJAA will be broadcasting the event live from Bard Street Park.
Kovener, who has been involved with the festival from its early days, said she has seen how it hasn’t been an easy task to keep the festival running for 40 years. But she credits the dedicated, dependable and community-minded people who have volunteered and overseen it.
“We run a clean festival where it brings activity to the town,” she said.
Bridges, who will see her 33rd festival this week, said giving her time to the community by helping with the festival is worth it, and she hopes the family atmosphere is what the crowd will enjoy.
“We want people to come and bring their blanket and chair, get something to eat and spend time with your family and friends,” she said.
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40th annual Crothersville Red, White and Blue Festival list of events:
Bracelet night in the evening. Brady Amusements will offer a special ride promotion with discount bracelets available for purchase at The Peoples Bank in Crothersville for $13.
2:30 p.m., Baby contest registration, main gym/Little Mr. and Miss Red, White and Blue registration, auxiliary gym
3:30 p.m., Judging for the baby contest and Little Mr. and Miss Red, White and Blue contest
5 p.m., Booths open
5:30 p.m., Red, White and Blue prince and princess contest
6 p.m., Baby contest winners announced, stage
6:15 p.m., Little Mr. and Miss Red, White and Blue, stage
6:30 p.m., Opening ceremony
7 p.m., Talent show registration, announcer’s booth
7:30 p.m., Talent show with Robert Becker of Radio 96.3 WJAA as master of ceremonies
8:30 p.m., Paul Boggs Band
5 p.m., Booths open/Crothersville Youth League awards
5:30 p.m., Ko’s Martial Arts demonstration
6 p.m., Country Kickers/WMPI Hot Van with the winning wheel
6:30 p.m., Grandview Junction
7:30 p.m., Real Country Music Show featuring Ron Gaddis
7:30 a.m., FFA breakfast
8 a.m., Jimmy Stewart Memorial 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament, gym
8:30 a.m., 5K run/walk, starting at the flag pole
9 a.m., Booths open
10 a.m., Cake and pie contest registration, gym lobby
11 a.m., Photo contest registration, photo booth by high school main entrance
11:15 a.m, Judging for cake and pie contest
Noon, Pet and bike parade, sign up at front stage/Red, White and Blue Festival parade registration, corner of Moore and East streets
12:30 p.m., Jerry Zollman
1:30 p.m., Judging of photos
2 p.m., Stars and Stripes
4 p.m., Red, White and Blue Festival parade
5:30 p.m., Photo contest and cake and pie contest winners announced
5:45 p.m., Cakes and pies auctioned
7 p.m., Country’s Best Music Show
8:45 p.m., Raffle drawing from vendors
9 p.m., Robert Becker with Radio 96.3 WJAA broadcasting live at Bard Street Park
10 p.m., Zambelli fireworks
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Information: crothersvillerwb.com or facebook.com/CrothersvilleRWB