That unique smell of carnival food, the sounds of the rides — it’s that time of year again.
Today marks the beginning of Heritage Days 2023 in downtown Hartford City. This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the festival that officially begins this afternoon with a prayer by Troy Kaufman, and a welcoming speech by Hartford City Mayor Dan Eckstein at 5 p.m. at Weiler Plaza. The festival will continue through Saturday.
“We have carnival rides and games, live music, food and craft vendors, a pageant and much more to offer the community,” said Heritage Days organizer Lori Lee. “The carnival rides and games will be provided by Bluegrass Rides.”
The midway will be set up around the courthouse square and open from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.
A new feature this year will be helicopter rides. Tickets may be purchased each day at Tyler & Nick’s Lounge, 101 E. Main St., Hartford City. The rides will begin and end in the parking area across the street from 3M at 375 S. 75 East.
This year’s Heritage Days Parade will begin lining up at the Blackford County 4-H Fairgrounds at 5:30 p.m. tonight. The parade will begin at 6 p.m. and make its way down Jefferson Street to Weiler Plaza, where the winners of this year’s Heritage Days Pageant will be crowned beginning at approximately 7 p.m.
This year’s pageant was again organized by Stephanie Pierce McDaniel. This is her second year organizing the pageant, and she has made a few changes based upon feedback from last year. Categories and ages for the pageant are as follows: Miss Baby and Little Prince are for ages newborn to 12 months; Miss Tot and Little King are for ages 12 to 24 months; Little Miss and Little Mister are for ages 3 to 6; Princess is for ages 7 to 10; Junior Queen is for ages 11 to 14; and Queen is for ages 15 to 18. Queen, Junior Queen, Princess and Little Miss have been judged on poise, personality, dress and interview. All babies have been judged on their attire, personality and pictures. There will be winners for prettiest eyes, best smile and most photogenic. There will be overall winners of Little King, Little Prince, Miss Tot and Miss Baby. Following the crowning of the pageant winners, Brian Blevins will perform at the amphitheater until about 9 p.m. when Matt Baird will take the stage to close out the evening.
Several other acts will be performing at the Amphitheater at Weiler Plaza during Heritage days.
On Thursday, Ron & Fred will perform from 5 to 6 p.m. when the Prime Suspect Band will take the stage until around 8 p.m. The Boothill Band will close out Thursday night.
On Friday, fans of classic rock will be in for a treat as a Fleetwood Mac tribute band will perform from 7 to 9 p.m., and the Paul McCartney Project will close out the evening with songs from the former Beatle.
Saturday will be a day full of music and dance at Weiler Plaza with students from the Dance Academy performing from 10 to 11 a.m. The Remedy band will play for an hour and a half beginning at noon. At 2 p.m., Montpelier’s own Osie’s Hill Band will take the stage. Saturday evening will include performances by Glenwood, Indiana’s Sweetwater Band, beginning at 7 p.m. with That Arena Rock Show closing out Hartford City’s Heritage Days 2023 with a healthy dose of hair metal music beginning at 9 p.m.
“I want to thank all of our sponsors, donors, city officials, and everyone that has helped out to make this year’s Hartford City Heritage Days a successful event,” said Lee.