As we look back on the excellent Celestine 175 celebration here is an article posted by the Dubois County Herald on Friday June 29th, 2018.
Pictures included with this article are viewable at https://duboiscountyherald.com/b/lighting-up-the-town
Celestine's night parade lights up the town
By Sarah Ann Jump, duboiscountyherald.com
June 29th, 2018
CELESTINE — After months of preparation, friends and family lit up the night Thursday to kick off the Celestine 175 Celebration.
A sea of people crowded the parking lot of St. Celestine Catholic Church where food booths, a beer garden and the main stage were all set up. Later, a night parade lit up the town.
“For as hot as it is, we are blown away by how big the crowd is,” said Tony Buechler, entertainment chairsperson for the weekend’s celebration.
The event officially began with the opening ceremony Thursday that included the recognition of several committees; the grand marshals, Jim, Don, and Ron Sander, and Martha Geopfrich; several visitors from the town’s sister city, Wagshurst, Germany; and Miss Celestine Lydia Burke and her court. Chad Schnell, a member of the celebration’s executive committee, also gave a heartwarming toast to the town.
“We are big in heart, spirit, and community, casting our impact to areas far beyond our boundaries,” Schnell said. “We are a community of family and friends. When times are tough, we pull together. When times are good, we party together.
“175 years old today, we don’t act a day over 150,” he joked. “Welcome to our town, happy birthday Celestine! Cheers!”
The Fashions of Yesteryear contest and the bake-off contest judging also took place as part of the celebration Thursday.
The main attraction of the night? The night parade.
Festgoers were buzzing with excitement about the parade and what they might see.
“We just saw it in the paper and thought it would be fun to see,” said Judy Hemmerlein of Haysville, who attended with her husband, Amos. “We have never seen a night parade.”
Anyone and anything were welcome to participate in the unique parade. Beginning at 10 p.m., entries were decked out in lights and glow sticks. Entries included everything from tractors, to Jeeps and even bikes.
“Some are creatively lit and some are just in it for the celebration,” Tony Buechler said. “People will probably get some laughs at some floats.”
11-year-old Trace Buechler of Celestine proudly paraded the lawn mower his grandpa had painted for him.
The town’s 150th anniversary celebration in 1993 also included a night parade; however, there were many more entries this year, and more-advanced lighting technology.
Judy Hemmerlein said her favorite entry was the giant 175th anniversary “cake” by the Stemle family. As the cake cruised by, the song “We are Family” rang in the air as both the parade participants and audience began to sing and dance along.
Anthony Quinn and his wife Brandy walked in the parade with the Dubois County Democrats.
The Celestine Volunteer Fire Department used a burning house float to remind people to check their smoke detectors during the night parade at the Celestine 175 celebration on Thursday. For more photos from the opening night of the fest, click here.
“The amount of people lining the streets was amazing. The sea of glow sticks, the smiles, the strands of lights and the music made for a memorable evening,” Brandy said.
Anthony added: “I really enjoyed it. Celestine has done a wonderful job of kicking off their 175th celebration.”
The first place victor in the parade was Ernie’s Welding Shop. With a flaming sign engraved with the company’s name and sparks showering from a welder, the crowd was amazed at the inferno.
“We have a parade on Sunday, which will be great, but it is mid-afternoon in July; it’s going to be hot,” Tony Buechler said.
With many more festivities to come, he is thrilled with the entertainment the town has brought in.
“There’s going to be entertainment you haven’t been able to see in Celestine before,” he said. There will be an AC/DC-style rock show, three circus shows, hot air balloon rides and much more throughout the weekend.
“We put on a street fest every year and will continue to do so,” Tony Buechler added. “But this is different. We are trying to take it to another level and say, ‘Hey we love our town and come celebrate with us.’ And we appreciate that.”