Fair participants receive ribbons


Among the many colored ribbons handed out this week at the Jackson County Fair, all participants also received a yellow ribbon.

The yellow ribbons commemorate Indiana’s bicentennial as well as Brownstown and the county’s 200th birthday and are a result of a partnership between the fair board and the Jackson County Visitor Center.

A total of 7,000 ribbons were ordered, and as of Friday afternoon, fair officials estimated they had about 1,000 left to hand out to those participating in events Friday night and today.

Fair board member Karen VonDielingen said the ribbons more than likely will be recognized as an official bicentennial Legacy project.

Applications for the designation were submitted but have not yet been approved by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, she said.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for about a year,” VonDielingen said of the project. “I just thought we needed to do something special, and we needed to include everyone.”

But it’s an idea that originates back many years before to 1966, when special sesquicentennial ribbons were given out to grand champion and reserve champions to celebrate the state’s, Brownstown’s and the county’s 150th birthday.

Commemorative fair ribbons have been popular over the years because the recipients often keep them forever. Her husband, Joe, has kept a lot of the special ribbons he earned when he was in 4-H, VonDielingen said.

“That’s what makes this a true legacy project,” she said.

Special ribbons were given out to fair winners in 1976 for the celebration of America’s bicentennial.

In 1989, ribbons commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Jackson County Fair being held at its present location at the fairgrounds in Brownstown.

Arann Banks, director of the Jackson County Visitor Center, said the ribbons were a great idea and really fit with all the projects, activities and events the visitor center is trying to promote for the bicentennial.

“A lot of people had been bringing in things from the sesquicentennial, and there is a lot of fair memorabilia because it’s such a big event in our county,” Banks said.

The visitor center provided a $3,000 grant to purchase the ribbons.

“It was fitting because it also celebrates our county,” Banks said. “We are one of just six counties in the state that are also celebrating their bicentennials this year.”

Banks said it’s neat to walk into one of the buildings at the fairgrounds and see all of the yellow ribbons adorning the projects.

“The visitor center is a big supporter of the fair, so it seemed right for us to support this project,” she said.

The ribbons have been well received by those who get to take them home, VonDielingen said.

“One woman came up and hugged me and told me how much she appreciated it, and I had a young kid thank me too,” she said.

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