If you want an excuse to get out of the big city or just looking for something different to do, Rush County is the place for you during the Rushville Wilkie Days Festival. Whatever your reason, you will find activities for all ages starting on Friday, September 20 and concluding in the afternoon on Sunday, September 22.

Pre-festival Events

On Friday evening, the pre-festival events start with an elegant catered dinner at the beautiful Moscow Covered Bridge. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit two local charities managed by the Heart of Rushville, Celebrate Recovery and Breanna’s Hope. The $45 dinner will start at 6:00 pm with a cocktail hour with dinner being served at 7:00 pm. If helping charities and enjoying a wonderful meal aren’t enough to convince you to attend, check out the picture of the dinner from last year’s event and multiply it by 2! Previously, this dinner was held at the Offutt’s Covered Bridge near Arlington. The event was so popular, the committee decided to move to the Moscow Covered Bridge in Moscow since it is almost twice the size of the Offutt’s Bridge. The Facebook page has several posts from diners looking forward to seeing the double bur arch lit up for the evening!

There is also the typical Friday night lights available at Rushville Consolidated High School at 7:00 pm. Well, this Friday is not so typical! On this evening the Lions will be facing their most detested foe, the Connersville Spartans. This conflict is so monumental that each team will have special shirts made for the event to claim the coveted “War on 44” trophy. Although many schools do not have a great fan base for high school sporting events, Rushville is different. There will be a packed stadium! In other words, this is a great sporting atmosphere. As an added bonus you will see the Roarin’ Regiment Marching Band which is my personal favorite.

Wilkie Days Festival Main Day Events

Saturday will be the day you want to come early and stay late. That is to say, there will be so many things going on, it may be hard to decide which ones to attend because there will be no way to do them all!

Student Art Show           

To begin the festivities, the 3rd Annual Student Art Show will be open from 9:00 to 2:00 in the 201 Building that is at the corner of 2nd and Main Streets. The art displayed will be from students aged 5 to 18 in all mediums. Award will be given for the top places in four different age groupings. Above all, while visiting don’t forget to place your vote for the People’s Choice Award.

5 in 50 Covered Bridge Ride

Join in on a bicycling experience like no other! The 5 in 50 Covered Bridge Ride is guaranteed to be an exceptional experience with everlasting memories!

This ride will take riders on a trip through 50 miles of rural Rush County to view five historic covered bridges.  If this sounds like a little too much for your first time, you may want to consider the 25-mile ride that features three covered bridges. However, if you have younger children who would like to participate, the 12-mile ride visiting two covered bridges is great for beginners.

Registration will be at the Boys and Girls Club of Rush County. Fees for any of the three rides is $35 per rider. Therefore, come early for registration so the riders may be in position to lead the parade at 10:00 am.

Once you have completed your journey, showers will be provided at the Boys and Girls Club.

All proceeds from the ride will be given to the Rush County Community Foundation.  $25 of your registration fee is tax-deductible and you will be sent an electronic receipt.  Additionally, all donations will be generously matched $2 for $1 by the Lilly Endowment Inc. GIFT VII. More information on giving to this fundraiser may be found at https://p2p.onecause.com › fivein50

Wilkie Day Parade

As stated above the Rushville Wilkie Day Festival Parade will be lead by the bicyclist in the 5 for 50 Covered Bridge Ride. The parade will begin at the Rushville Consolidated High School gym and travel east on 11th street then make a right turn to travel south on Main Street. There will be plenty of excellent viewing spaces along the parade route to collect hoards of candy thrown by those in the parade! Participants are asked to be ready to roll by 10:00 am, but may not take off until closer to 11:00. Subsequently, the parade will conclude in the downtown area so the participants are ready to enjoy the other activities.

Historical Society Carriage House Grand Opening

            The Historical Society is so excited to share the new exhibit space during the Rushville Wilkie Days Festival. The main floor of the Carriage House has featured exhibits for several years. However, the upper floor was only used for storage. Now after almost five years of renovations, the upper floor will feature Main Street Shops from days gone by.

Stop in between 12:00 and 3:00 to see the new exhibits and hear about all those who helped to make it a reality. The Gowdy House is located at 619 North Perkins Street.

Scavenger Hunt at East Hill Cemetery

Anyone ages 10 to adult may join the Rush County Genealogical Society in East Hill Cemetery for a Scavenger Hunt from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. While learning about the history of the cemetery, attempt to collect the $50 first place prize. If it takes a little longer, you may qualify for the second place prize of $35 or the $20 third place prize. The East Hill Cemetery is located at 704 E State Road 44 just outside of Rushville.

Kids Party Barn

Although advertised as an event for the “kids”, this will be sure to entertain everyone in the family.  From 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, the Bowles family will present various animals such as sheep, goats, alpaca, mini horses and more in Discovery Park. This event is sponsored by the Rushville Public Library in their recently completed Discovery Park located next door to the library at 130 West 3rd Street. Secondly, if you get a little overheated while at the Wilkie Day Festival, the library will be open and gladly share some air conditioning!

Downtown Festivities

The Main Street area from 2nd to 3rd Street will be full of shopping opportunities during the Wilkie Day Festival. Joining our regular downtown merchants, additional vendors will have booths on the sidewalks with retail items and food.

Likewise, Saturday is also the traditional day for our Farmer’s Market. September 21 will be no exception. Expect to see a generous supply of homemade and homegrown goodies located in the market area on the west side of Main Street. Typically, hours for the market are between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm, but the vendors will stay later during the festival. On the other hand, with big crowds, many vendors are sure to sell out early!

The first block of west 3rd Street will be the kid’s zone with activities like Touch-a-Truck and paint a snow plow with handprints. There will also be a bounce house, obstacle course, and Elite game truck, barrel train rides, the Rushville Police Department dunk tank, face painting, the Rushville Fire Department Smoke House along with several food vendors for slushies, cotton candy and kettle corn. These activities will be open beginning at 9:00 am and closing around 3:00 pm.

On your trip to Rushville you may also want to see some of the newly renovated areas of our downtown. During the day from 11:00 to 3:00, tours will be available at Campaign Headquarters, Newhouse & Newhouse and the City Center.

Finally, when the kids have worn you out from all the Rushville Wilkie Days Festival events, make your way to the Beer Garden for a refreshing cold one!

Riverside Park Amphitheater Free Concert

To conclude your day, head over to the Riverside Park Amphitheater for the last free concert for the 2019 season. This facility has become one of the best things to happen in our community. Each summer the amphitheater is host to 6 or 7 bands at no cost to anyone attending.  The final concert for the Rushville Wilkie Days Festival will begin at 6:00 pm with Hikara performing Japanese folk music. Secondly, will be Sweet Poison Victim. As described on their own website this band is a mix of plucky pop of West Africa High-Life and rhythmic groove of Reggae and Cumbia. Finally, the feature band is the well-known Celtic band, Gaelic Storm.

This is the perfect opportunity to relax, enjoy the music and eat more festival foods from local vendors. Moreover, don’t forget to bring your lawn chair as no seating is provided at Riverside Park.

Suicide Prevention Walk

Lastly, on Sunday, September 22, SPARC (Suicide Prevention Across Rush County) will be hosting a walk beginning at 1:00 pm. The walk will begin at the Riverside Park Amphitheater. Most importantly, this is a very important fundraising activity for an amazing group in our community.

Whew! Certainly, that is exhausting just thinking about all the activities being planned. Those who have spent countless hours making plans hope you have some time in your schedule to join the Wilkie Days Festival.

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I'm a wife and mother of four adult children. I have about 11 years of experience teaching school and 23 years of running my own bridal salon. I am currently heading towards retirement from the business and looking forward to my next adventure.

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