One of Indiana's oldest festivals kicks off - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

One of Indiana's oldest festivals kicks off

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Summer is the time of year when there are county fairs and festivals every weekend, and a small Michiana town says they have one of Indiana's oldest festivals. The Bristol Homecoming Festival kicked off once again Thursday night to much fanfare.

The question of how this festival keeps going is one that no one can really give a good answer to, but the people of Bristol love the festival and it just keeps on going.

With rides, games and concessions the festival has the classic makeup of a summer fair.

Adam Swick, a Bristol resident said, "This is our county fair, this is our state fair."

The event is nowhere near as large as a traditional county or state fair, but to the people of this small town the festival is a big deal.

Jon Riggs, the Festival Secretary said, "It's been running over 180 years we believe."

The festival has gone through changes throughout the year.

Riggs said, "Back in the 30's and 40's it was a harvest festival where all the farmers came and brought their food and just shared with the town. When I was a teenager twenty some years ago it was in town on Main Street."

The festival is now held at a local park. The venue may have changed over the years, but what people do at the festival hasn't changed.

"It is a homecoming so we meet up with all the locals and we talk about basically how they been doing, run into people we haven't seen in a while," said Swick.

In fact, the catching up with neighbors aspect, has probably become even more important as technology and social media become more common than meeting face to face.

"Everybody gets to know each other, come out and spend time with your friend and get to know your neighbor.  Something people don't do these days," said Riggs.

Festival organizers don't see the event stopping anytime soon.

Riggs said, "I believe yes, the festival will keep going for a long time, yes."

One of the main attractions that draws people to the festival are the legendary fireworks. Many people said at the park said the fireworks that go along with the festival are the best around.

About 12,000 people will show up to the fireworks that occur at dusk on Saturday, quite an increase for a town that has a population of just under 2,000.

The festival runs from Thursday, July 11th to Saturday, July 13th. For more information and a schedule of events visit the event's Facebook page by clicking here.

 

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