Busiest sesquicentennial days ahead

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By Vince Luecke

Saturday-night fireworks will close out celebration

TELL CITY - Saturday's big parade and Sunday's Kids' Day may have kicked off Tell City's sesquicentennial week in grand style, and Carl Hurley's antics brought smiles to hundreds, but the biggest days of the community's 150-year celebration lie ahead.

Train excursions, trolley tours and river cruises all begin today and the Brau Garten stage will draw crowds nightly through Saturday. The party ends with a fireworks show Saturday night over the Ohio River.

Saturday's parade saw a colorful canvas of floats, bands, classic cars and horse-drawn wagons unfurled along Main and Tell streets, followed by an opening ceremony in City Hall Park that saw praise heaped upon leaders and citizens past and present for their foresight and hard work.

"How proud we are of the history we originated from and the city we are today," Mayor Barbara Ewing declared Saturday under a newly built gazebo before introducing Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, the keynote speaker and parade grand marshal.

Ewing and others recognized members of Schweizer Fest Inc., the steering committee of men and women who turned the late-summer event into one of the longest running Hoosier celebrations.

Also honored were members of the 1958 centennial committee who rallied the community behind a weeklong celebration that created Schweizer Fest, and this year's planning committee who have worked for two years to celebrate the city's 150th birthday. Co-chairmen Jim Meek and Ryan Oberhausen recognized the work of the committee.

Evidence of Tell City's vibrancy, past and present, was obvious, Skillman said. Members of the Swiss Colonization Society set out to "establish a community founded on the principles of freedom" and Skillman said that effort was a lasting success.

"The residents of Tell City have been forward thinkers with a long history of people who roll up their sleeves and accomplish things," she said.

The Duke Boys played on Main Street Saturday night and Sunday's Kids' Day drew hundreds of people back to the park and areas of Seventh Street.

Official program guides offer a detailed schedule of events through Sunday, including daily entertainment, tours by trolley, train and riverboat and the fireworks show Saturday night over the Ohio River. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and gather in Sunset Park and other areas along the river front.

The show will begin around 9 p.m. and is sponsored by Mulzer Crushed Stone.

Radio state WTCJ, 105.7 FM will broadcast a musical accompaniment to the pyrotechnics. Visitors are encouraged to bring portable radios.