To kick off the 200-year anniversaries of Indiana, Jackson County and Brownstown, the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County decided to have a ball.

The 2016 Bicentennial Ball will start at 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve at Celebrations in Seymour and end at 1 a.m. New Year’s Day, which is the day Jackson County was formed in 1816.

A cocktail hour will precede dinner from Flying Pink Pig BBQ, live music from Sounds of Dreams and Bad Medicine and a silent auction. A photo booth also is planned for people to remember the event.

As midnight approaches, there will be a live stream of the ball drop in New York City and a champagne toast.

Celebrations holds 450 people, and fewer than 100 tickets remain, said Sally Cate Lawson, a member of the local bicentennial committee.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Lawson said. “Yeah, there are other things going on (New Year’s Eve), but how many of them can say, ‘We’re going to celebrate Indiana, Jackson County and Brownstown turning 200 years old.’ The other events will be there next year. This will not. We’ll never get to experience something like that again.”

When Lawson joined the committee earlier this year, the idea of a ball already had been tossed around.

“We really thought that was appropriate to do, ‘Here’s our bicentennial year. Let’s do it in style, let’s get it done in style,’” she said.

Jackson County Bank is the presenting sponsor of the ball, and other local businesses have contributed financial donations.

“We really want to set the tone on all of the stuff we have going on next year,” Lawson said. “We have so many things in the works for next year, and this is going to kind of be our release. This is going to be getting the community excited about what we’re doing.”

The cocktail hour will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Dinner will be served and Sounds of Dreams will begin playing at 8 p.m. There will be a break from 10 to 10:30 p.m. for the bands to switch and the silent auction to be announced, and then Bad Medicine will take the stage from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The ball drop will be streamed live on a projector around midnight, and everyone will receive a glass to participate in the champagne toast.

Tickets cost $65 for individuals or $100 for a couple. That includes dinner, well drinks, beer, wine, champagne toast and silent auction entry.

They may be purchased at the Jackson County Visitor Center in Seymour or The Jackson County Banner office or Bicentennial Headquarters, both in Brownstown. Tickets also may be requested by sending a message through the Bicentennial Planning of Committee of Jackson County Facebook page.

If any tickets remain, they will be available at the door the night of the event, Lawson said.

There won’t be assigned seating, but a table of eight can be requested.

Also that night, attendees can learn more about the committee’s plans for bicentennial events and share ideas of possible events.

People also will be able to sign up for the Jackson County Lotto Scholarship Fund, a yearlong fundraiser that will provide scholarships to the five county high schools and give individuals a chance to win money for themselves.

“The mission after all of next year is to have enough money to give each high school its own sustainable scholarship fund for college students,” Lawson said. “If we do this all correctly and we do every event like we want it done, we’ll be able to give each county high school $100,000 toward scholarships. That’s what we’ve kind of mapped out as our goal.”

Carl Shake of Brownstown came up with the idea for the lotto fund.

“We just wanted to come up with something different than just saying, ‘Hey, give us some money for this scholarship fund,’” Lawson said. “We wanted to have something that was different and interesting and that people would want to participate in.”

Lawson said about 15 people are involved in the bicentennial committee, which is a nonprofit organization. People are still being sought to help plan events for next year.

Celebrations also are planned for April 8, which is when the town of Brownstown was platted in 1816, and Dec. 11, when Indiana became the 19th state in 1816.

“We need people and groups that would like to participate and do something in the bicentennial year,” Lawson said. “We’re always taking more ideas all of the time.”

The committee plans to create a log of everything that goes on during the bicentennial as a reference for groups that plan future anniversary celebrations.

“The sesquicentennial group left us a small budget and notes and stuff for us to use,” Lawson said. “We’re hoping when the next big thing comes along that, at the very least, we can leave the type of legacy that, ‘Here’s how we did it, here’s how you can start, here are some points for you’ and to leave them maybe a small amount of money in a trust or something to where they can get a good start on it.”

If you go

What: 2016 Bicentennial Ball, organized by the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County

When: 7 a.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1

Where: Celebrations, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 101, Seymour

Tickets: $65 individual, $100 couple; may be purchased at the Jackson County Visitor Center in Seymour or The Jackson County Banner office or Bicentennial Headquarters in Brownstown; tickets also may be requested by sending a message through the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County Facebook page

On the Web

For information about the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County, stop by the Bicentennial Headquarters at 202 S. Main St., Brownstown, or visit or

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.