Brownstown preparing for Bicentennial Bash

Jackson County residents will have a couple of more chances this coming weekend to participate in a bicentennial celebration.

These celebrations will focus on the organization of Brownstown on April 8, 1816.

A formal celebration has been planned for 6 p.m. Friday, but a more informal event to celebrate the 200th birthday of the county seat has been planned for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Friday night is Brownstown Central High School’s prom and after-prom, so two bicentennial parties have been planned to give everyone an opportunity to attend one or both, said Cliff Sommers, president of the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County.

That committee was put in a place a couple of years ago to plan events for not just Brownstown’s 200th birthday, but the 200th birthdays of Jackson County and the state. The county’s 200th birthday was Jan. 1, while the state’s 200th birthday celebration will be Dec. 11.

Sommers said it’s hard to believe that the county’s bicentennial has come and gone and Brownstown’s is just around the corner.

There will, however, be some additional bicentennial events throughout the year, including a big festival-type event featuring activities and events for all ages Oct. 7, 8 and 9 at Freeman Municipal Airport in Seymour.

Friday’s formal celebration will be at the pioneer village in the Jackson County History Center’s complex at Sugar and Walnut streets in Brownstown.

John Nolting, who is currently president of the town council, plans to speak about the town’s history and the events of 200 years ago.

Other guest speakers include René Stanley, deputy director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, state District 69 Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, and veterinarian Bob Gillespie of Brownstown. Gillespie’s mother, Hazel, was in charge of the planning for the sesquicentennial celebration in 1966. Town resident Arann Banks will be the master of ceremonies, and Sommers will close out the formal part of the night with a few words.

Jackson County commissioners also will issue a proclamation.

After all of the formalities, there will be a reception at the Bicentennial Headquarters at 202 S. Main St. in Brownstown. The reception, open to the public, will feature food and drinks and musical entertainment.

The informal celebration Saturday night, dubbed Brownstown Bicentennial Bash, will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at midnight. The event, sponsored by The Peoples Bank, will be at Pewter Hall, 850 W. Sweet St.

The cost is $10 person for that event, which will include live music performed by Captain Backfire, Tyler Wessel, Margaret Brown and Zach Thompson. There also will be a bean bag toss tournament with cash prizes for the winners. A cash bar and food will be available for purchase.

Tickets are available at Family Drug, Brownstown Hardware, the county assessor and recorder’s offices in the courthouse in Brownstown and the Bicentennial Headquarters.

Also a part of the festivities, there will be mail cancellations of the third in a series of pictorial postmarks issued by the U.S. Postal Service for the bicentennial.

The first postmark was for the time capsule opening April 26, 2014, and the second postmark was for the bicentennial of Jackson County on Jan. 1, 2016.

The third is for the bicentennial of the platting of Brownstown on April 8, 2016.

Previous pictorial postmarks are available for purchase at the Bicentennial Headquarters.

If you go

Brownstown bicentennial celebrations

What: Formal ceremony with guest speakers and a re-dedication of the town on its 200th birthday

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: The pioneer village at the Jackson County History Center, 105 N. Sugar St., Brownstown

What: Reception

When: After the formal ceremony

Where: Bicentennial Headquarters at 202 S. Main St., Brownstown

Cost: Free

What: Informal celebration featuring music, food and drinks and a cornhole tournament

When: 6:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday

Where: Pewter Hall, W. 850 Sweet St., Brownstown

Cost: $10

Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7051.