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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Efforts underway to revive Solsberry Festival

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Efforts are under way to revive an annual festival in the small eastern Greene County community of Solsberry.

Marcy Cook, who operates Ellie Mae's Boutique, is trying to organize a committee that will plan a festival in the Solsberry area.

"We're trying to drum up some interest ... and revive the festival in Solsberry," she told the Greene County Daily World.

Beech Creek Township Trustee Larry Shute is also interested in lending a hand.

The old Solsberry Hometown Fair ran for about seven years in the 1970s and fell to the wayside when volunteer helped seemed to dwindle away.

Shute is encouraged that some of what he called "the younger generation" like Cook is spearheading the project.

"We're trying to plan a train ride from Bloomfield to Indianapolis with Indiana Rail Road this year spring. All of the details are not worked out yet. I thought it would be a fun time to kick off whatever festival we are going to revive in Solsberry," Cook said.

"We want to teach our students local history," she said.

Cook said she would love to work with the local schools and work out a field trip that might involve visiting a variety of historic sights in the county.

"We need to pass along our heritage and this can help."

Cook is looking for about 10 volunteers who will serve on a committee with a two-year commitment to lay out the plans for a one-day festival.

"You can't just plan it over night," she stressed.

Cook fondly remembers the old Solsberry festival that featured a parade, bands, watermelon spitting contest and a tobacco-spitting contest.

"It was all a lot of fun," she said.

Shute said the old festival was a good thing for the town that featured about 10 vendors.

"It was amazing with the number of people that came as word about it filtered out," Shute said.

Shute is encouraged with the possible revival of the festival.

"It's a good thing and the only problem will be finding a good location. That was one of the issues that gave us trouble the last time. We had to shut down one of the main roads through there (Solsberry) and it would be just impossible to do now because the population has expanded and traffic on that road has probably tripled," Shute explained.

Shute remembers shutting down the street from Yoho's General Store to the railroad underpass toward Newark and setting up a stage and having all-day entertainment.

Parking may also be an issue, but Shute, who serves as Beech Creek Township Trustee, said the fire department has a large field that could be used to park vehicles and a shuttle could transport patrons to the festival location.

Shute said he's volunteered to help Cook and others brainstorm about the festival and see if they can get it going again.

Shute also said he's encouraged about the possibility of somehow linking the festival with historic Tulip Viaduct, located a few miles away.

Natalie Watkins, who works for Cook at Ellie Mae's Boutique, also believes the festival will be a good thing. She also would like to see some signs erected to direct visitors to the Viaduct. People frequently stop in the boutique seeking directions to the historic structure, which is the world's third largest steel constructed viaduct.

The viaduct, which was built in 1909 is 2,307 feet in length and stands 157 feet off the ground at its tallest point.

Cook is needing volunteers to help with the project.

"I'm trying to draw some interest and have the community take some ownership in it," she stressed. "Right now we are trying to do a callout and see if there is anyone interested in getting this going. This is a good opportunity for community service. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it's worth it."

To volunteer, contact Cook by e-mail at viaductdays@aol.com or by calling Shute at (812) 825-9957.

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-- Posted by Hyperious on Fri, Nov 5, 2010, at 10:39 AM

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