June 2018 THE BEACON Page 7A Ripley County Celebrates 200 Years of History By Elizabeth Loch Ripley County is two hun- dred years old this year. On Sunday, April 15, locals of Ripley County and surround- ing areas were invited to the Ripley County Bicentennial Celebration. Chilly rain and wind wel- comed visitors to the Ripley County Fairgrounds on that Sunday. Despite the weather their spirits were warm and eager to celebrate this monu- mental event with friends and neighbors. The County Fairgrounds are in Osgood, Indiana, one of the many cozy small towns located in Ripley County. Other towns in the county include Batesville, Sunman, and Greensburg. Primarily rural with many kids growing up competing in 4-H, Ripley County is rich with history. Every town has a story, and these towns share a common history of their county and those who made it. Terri Trowbridge is the Ri- pley County Tourism Bureau (RTCB) Director. The Bicen- tennial was a “way for us to celebrate our first two hundred years,” Ms. Trowbridge said. RTCB promotes the county as a premier vacation or weekend getaway spot for the whole family, much like the Bicen- tennial Celebration itself. Many events and entertain- ment were packed into the four-hour celebration. Adults and children alike learned about the history of the coun- ty through various vendors, shows, and displays. Ms. Trowbridge also welcomed visitors to the fairgrounds, stating that, “the celebration had been in the making since January 2017.” She gave credit to Katherine Taul, the former director of RCTB, saying that Ms. Taul initiated the brainstorming and actual fruition of the celebration. Although, Indiana Gover- nor Eric Holcomb could not attend the event, a proclama- tion from the governor was read. In it, he declared that April 10, 1818 was the date of the official establishment of Ripley County. Following the reading of the Governor’s proclamation was a proclama- tion from the Ripley County Commissioners. Kicking off the observation of the two hundredth year of Ripley County was a moving memorial dedication. Amidst cold drizzles, the Ross’ Run Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a Revolutionary War Memorial Dedication. This memorial took fairground visitors all the way back to the beginning of the United States. The wooden memorial with golden plaques holds the names of sixty-nine patriots and soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and lived in Ripley County over two hundred years ago. These ex- traordinary men were heroes of not just Ripley County, but of the entire nation. Members of the Chapter gave speeches about the men and their contributions to Ripley County and the nation. The Color Guard stepped up next with its presenta- tion of the Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Raelyn Stuart, a student at Milan High School, sang the National Anthem. Finally, the memorial was unveiled. The sixty-nine names of the patri- ots were read by Mike Strat- ton, a Ripley County Histo- rian. Wreaths were also laid in memory. The ceremony ended with a benediction by Cheryl Welch, a twenty-one gun sa- lute, and the retirement of the Colors. Visitors then ventured to the rest of the fairgrounds. All of the vendors were local to Ripley County. Some, such as Nancie Scott Davis, recently moved to the area. Ms. Davis is an artist known internationally and even has two pieces displayed in the Louvre in France. Much of her art reflects the lives of early settlers and Native Americans, such as those who lived in Ripley County. Anjali Fong, another artist who participated in the event, presented a photo project consisting of albums and individual pictures of people. These pictures were meant to capture the lives of those who had been born and raised in Ripley County. To celebrate the Bicentennial, Ms. Fong is photographing two hundred residents. She described the subjects of her pictures as “normal people.” The photos portrayed a great diversity of race and age. Some pictures were of individuals, but many were of couples who had been married twenty-plus years. The photographs will all be organized in a book that will be given to the four public libraries and the historical societies of the county. Other vendors in the art show displayed handmade jewelry, homegrown honey, leather work, and the Kids Celebration attendees were encouraged to vote for their favorite maps of Ripley County made by area fourth grade students. Discovery Factory. This exhibit was designed by stay- at-home moms for children to build and imagine. Not far from the Discovery Fac- tory exhibition was a display by the Friends of Versailles State Park. This organiza- tion is dedicated to keeping Versailles State Park in prime condition and educating the public about the outdoors in Ripley County. All of the artists and vendors shared the same love of their home county and the desire to con- tribute to its success. What would a celebration be without food? In the Com- mercial Building, the Taste of Ripley County featured samples from local restau- rants for visitors to munch on. While they ate, visitors were entertained by choirs from Ri- pley County high schools. In a colorful corner of the build- ing, the Ripley County Map Project boasted the artistic and teamwork skills of fourth graders from six Ripley Coun- ty elementary schools. People were encouraged to vote for their favorite map. The fourth graders of the school with the most votes will be given a Artwork from area artists was on display at the Ripley County Bicentennial Celebration. pizza party. The Farm Bureau Inc. Building held the history of Ripley County. Vendors dem- onstrated equipment used by settlers and the generations af- ter them. Exhibits showed the life of the Native Americans who were in Ripley County long before any settlers. Wood turning was a huge hit, attract- ing large groups of people to watch the craftsmen at work. At the end of the day, cars and trucks full of families with souvenirs in hand pulled out of the fairgrounds. There is no telling what the three hundredth anniversary of Rip- ley County will look like, but the Bicentennial will remain a model of how to bring a community together for years to come. 812-537-3800 • www.CaseysOutdoor.com • 21481 State Line Rd. L’burg, IN OUR ADVERTISERS ARE YOUR NEIGHBORS. SHOP LOCAL AND TELL THEM YOU SAW THEIR ADS IN THE BEACON.