Community Celebration

200th Old Settlers Days brings
old-fashioned fun to Lexington

Indiana town expects large crowd
for this year’s festivities

(June 2013) – The people of Lexington, Ind., know how to celebrate. When the railroad to town was finished in 1870, the town held a party. According to Joe Gibson, member of the Scott County Visitor’s Commission, “The railroad helped cement Lexington’s spot as the county seat for Scott County, giving a real reason to celebrate.”

Rusty Martin Jr

Photo provided

Rusty Martin Jr. appears in the film, “Courageous,” acting alongside his father, Rusty Martin Sr.

A few years later, town leaders, remembering all the fun, thought another celebration was in order and organized Old Settler’s Days in 1878. “The celebration has continued every year, making Lexington’s Old Settler’s Days the longest continually running celebration of its kind in the nation,” says Gibson.
“People came from all around to visit with each other, throw horse shoes, and listen to speakers – mostly politicians. It was the major community event of the year.”
This year, more than 10,000 people are expected to join the party. Organizer Tony Petty promises something for everyone.
Hosted by the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department, the celebration begins Friday evening, June 14, with an exhibit of birds of prey from the Hardy Lake raptor rehabilitation center. Attendees will see the birds in action as well as hear lectures on their behavior, abilities, and rehabilitation. Friday attendees will also enjoy live bluegrass music and a preview of Saturday’s attractions.
Saturday begins with a 5K run benefitting Englishton Park. Headline speaker, actor Rusty Martin, from the movie, “Courageous,” will join other competitors to run the 5K. He plans to join the activities of the festival throughout the day before he takes the stage on Saturday evening. The festival officially opens with the parade at 11 a.m.
“This year’s parade will be the largest we’ve ever had,” says Petty. Featuring a variety of cars, floats, bands, and celebrities; Petty promises an hour of entertainment by entrants coming from as far as Bedford, Ind.
After the parade, attendees have a wide variety of entertainment from which to choose. Five Christian bands set a family-friendly tone for the day. Jason Dunn, former lead singer for Hawk Nelson, provides the finale performance, but his work begins earlier in the day.
“Jason will hand out awards for all the various competitions as well as serving as the mock patient for personnel with the Methodist Medevac helicopter,” says Petty. “After the helicopter lands, medical personnel will simulate treatment for a trauma patient on Jason. The helicopter will then airlift him from the festival grounds. Jason’s being a real trooper. It should be a great demonstration,” says Petty.
Afterward, attendees can tour the helicopter and talk with the pilot.
Other attractions include a play area featuring inflatable houses, slides, and an obstacle course for the children. While the kids play, adults can tour the flea market. “Merchandise booths will mix with community booths offering information on local services,” says Petty. “We offer a real deal for the booth owners. Community organizations can have a booth for free. Merchants pay only $1 per liner foot. We’ll see a great variety for those attending.”
When hunger strikes, the Lexington Fire Department offers hamburgers, fish, and Polish sausages. The Junior Fire Department will sell walking tacos and pizza. Both booths raise money for the volunteer organizations. Private food booths will also offer other options.
Gibson says the day should echo the tradition passed down from the first Old Settlers Days. “People have always enjoyed getting together for a fish sandwich and to talk,” says Gibson. “We’ll see a lot of that this year as well. It’s a great chance to get together with friends and enjoy the day.”

• Entry to the festival is free. There will be a charge for the rides. For more information on all the day’s activities go to the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department page on Facebook.

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