Avon Community Heritage Festival Celebrates 20th Anniversary Sept. 29

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing

Photography / Provided

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Avon Community Heritage Festival, which will take place on Saturday, September 29. To celebrate the past two decades, they plan to go even bigger this year by offering two festivals in one. In the past, the event was held from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., followed by fireworks at the Upper Park. This year, however, all of the typical fun, including the Kid Zone, petting zoo, pony rides and dog adoption, will be held at the Upper Park from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition, Hedgehog Hannah will bring out a number of different animals and a Critter’s Chance will showcase some of their unique rescue animals. Non-profit, craft and business vendor booths will also be set up on the lawn.

“We try to get as many businesses and organizations in the area to participate as possible,” says Lora Lacey, Washington Township Parks & Recreation Director and this year’s Festival President. “It’s a great way to promote your organization.”

There will also be food trucks, games, stage acts and the talent show, which is divided into two age groups: 17 and up and 16 and below. They increased the prize amount so that first-place winners in each age group will receive $1,000. Tryouts are on September 15 with semi-finals on September 28.

“We’ve had people do everything from hula hooping to tumbling,” Lacey says.

The Avon Gold dance team as well as the local jump rope team, the Avon Aerial Orioles, will perform routines. In addition, the Biz Academy of Musical Theatre will perform scenes from their spring play.

At 6 p.m. gates will open to the lower park to kick off the Festival After Dark, complete with live music by Buzz Bin, a 90s alternative band, food trucks and a beer garden that will feature several craft breweries and wineries that are local to Avon and Hendricks County.

“We want it to still be a family event so each person of age will get a pull-tab wristband so that we can regulate the number of drinks served,” Lacey says.

The Festival After Dark, open from 6-9 p.m., will also feature trampoline bungees, bumper cars, a rock wall and a new inflatable called Hungry Hippos. As always, the night will end with a fireworks display.

The parade, which starts at 10 a.m. by Kingsway Christian Church, has adopted the theme of “Decades.” The public is invited to dress themselves (and their float) as their favorite decade and parade through the streets of Avon.

“We came up with decades to celebrate not just the history of the Heritage Festival but also history, in general,” Lacey says.

This year there will also be a special recognition ceremony for past volunteers as well as some of the founding board members, including Don Hodson.

“We’re also honoring our members who have been on the board for the full 11 years,” Lacey says.

Lacey grew up in Avon and remembers going to the very first Heritage Festival, which was just after the town had established a parks department. Back then there were no inflatable bounce houses or rock walls, but there were the dog adoption and talent show. Those time-honored traditions will never change.

“The original founders want to continue doing things that showcase the community,” Lacey adds. “But then as a board, collectively, each year we try to build upon it and come up with new ideas to incorporate.”

They try to keep everything in the Heritage Festival free to the community through sponsors, which this year include the Town of Avon, Hendricks Regional Health, The Goddard School, Frye Electronics, Parabellum Firearms, Avon Magazine, Hendricks Power and First Financial Bank.

The best part of the Heritage Festival is the gathering of folks, all out to enjoy fun, food and fellowship. Everyone has a favorite activity. For some, it’s the tractor ride from the parking lot to the park. For others, it’s the games, obstacle courses and food.

“We have something for everyone in the family,” Lacey says. “I like seeing the community come together in one place.”

To register for the parade or to sign up for the talent show, visit AvonCommunityHeritageFestival.org.

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