by Leah Lowe | Charlestown, Ind. – Each year, citizens of all ages gather on their city’s square for fun and fellowship in celebration of Charlestown’s “birthday.” Founded in 1808, this 19th Founder’s Day event marks 211 years since the city was founded and named after Charles Beggs, one of its surveyors.
The two-day event is organized by the Charlestown Beautification Committee volunteers and includes vendor booths, food, children’s activities, and live music – all leading up to the annual fireworks show. Weather was a factor facing the festival this year, and Friday evening’s activities were called to an end early due to thunderstorms and rain that carried over into Saturday morning – prompting officials to cancel the annual parade. By early afternoon the rain had cleared out, allowing Founder’s Day to end on a better note.
Many local vendors take pride in participating in the annual event, spending countless hours working to prepare. Officials shared that they had over 80 vendors participate in this year’s event. Julie Hester of Sissy Spa is a regular at the Charlestown Farmer’s Market and other events throughout the area.
“As a small business based in Charlestown, it’s important to me to support family activities in my hometown,” Hester said. “Founder’s Day was amazing and enjoyable on so many levels this year. I got to talk to a lot of great people, listen to outstanding live music, eat great food, and the community support of my local products was at an all time high. I am looking forward to next year.”
New this year was an increased effort to take Founder’s Day online via Facebook live-streams throughout the day. These efforts served as a way for many at home to participate virtually, whether or not they were able to attend. Several citizens commented throughout the day on these posts, stating they valued the live-streams because they were unable to be there in person. From music to vendor interviews, up to the Saturday evening fireworks show – volunteer John Spencer and his team roamed the event looking for opportunities to broadcast as a way to both share and draw people to the event.
“We had a fun Founder’s Day,” said Spencer. “This year we added some Facebook Live video posts to the mix. It was nice to be able to provide our vendors with an additional way to get the word out about what they were offering at the festival, but also how they may be found on the internet. Charlestown looked great for Founder’s Day, a little rain notwithstanding. Thanks to all who made it possible by working and attending.”
Year-round planning and hours of hard work go into making Founder’s Day a success, but after 19 years Charlestown Beautification Committee chair Donna Coomer and her team of volunteers have developed a talent for making it look easy.
“Another great Founder’s Day! I want to thank everyone who made it possible. Thank you to our festival chair people for months of hard work and dedication in making this event happen. We also want to thank our sponsors for their donations,” Coomer said. We could not do it without your support! The event was free of charge to all attendees. It was a great family festival; the entire festival is geared around families, making memories, spending time together, celebrating our great city, and honoring our founding fathers. There were great arts & craft booths, entertainment, delicious food, a spectacular fireworks show, and games for kids. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our parade for the first time in 19 years because of inclement weather. As the storm moved out of our area, we became blessed with sunny skies that allowed the festival to get back on schedule.”
Coomer said the committee is already planning for an “awesome” celebration in 2020. “With it being our 20th Founder’s Day Festival, we will be working to make it one of the best yet. I want to personally thank everyone who came to the event and all those who helped make it happen. “
Next year’s Founder’s Day will be held on June 26th and 27th, 2020. Follow their Facebook page for more info.