The Orleans Chamber of Commerce is busy putting the finishing touches on for the upcoming 2023 Dogwood Festival. This year will mark the 53rd anniversary of the celebration of the blooming dogwood, which is set for April 22 through April 29. This year’s theme is “Historic Orleans, My Hometown.”
Chamber Executive Director Robert F. Henderson said the festival committee has been working hard these past many months to bring back both old favorites and some new offerings for this year’s edition of the town’s beloved springtime celebration and homecoming.
The town’s trademark festival is featured in the March/April issue of Southern Indiana Living Magazine.
The Orleans Dogwood Festival has also been named by Midwest Living magazine as one of its Top Flowering Festivals in the Midwest.
Back by popular demand will be the Dogwood Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre “The Murder Mystery at the Murder Mystery,” for Parade weekend Friday, April 28, Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30. The dinner show is in partnership with The Orange County Players. Tickets for the show will be $15 and must be purchased in advance.
The Dogwood Baby Contest is back this year with KyAnna Dugger taking the reins as chairperson. The event is scheduled for Sunday, April 23 2 p.m. at the Orleans High School cafeteria (New Day and Time!).
Ashley McDonald is once again chairing the now combined Dogwood Pageants. Both the Little Miss and Queen Crowning will again take place on the same day Saturday, April 22nd at Orleans Elementary School. As has become tradition the 2023 “Mr. Dogwood” will also be named during the intermission for the queen crowning ceremonies. The pageant will begin at 5 p.m.
Entries for both the Little Miss and Dogwood Queen are now being accepted on the Dogwood website. Deadline for contestant entries is March 31st
The Orleans American Legion will once again provide the midway, Brady’s Amusement, which will set up and operate the entire week as in the past. This year will see the addition of new rides and concessions. Advance Sales of Bracelet Tickets will be announced soon by legion members.
The Chamber’s Annual Town Wide Yard Sale is set for April 21-22. The Chamber will pay for advertising for anyone wishing to have a yard or garage sale on that weekend. Everyone is welcome to participate and there is no fee to participate in the event.
Other festival favorite highlights include the annual Phi Beta Psi Styles & Salads, Photo Contest, Student Art Show, Band Parents Food Stand, Rain Gutter Regatta, Kids Chalk the Walk, and the Children’s Pet Parade.
Returning this year will be a Dogwood Chili Cook-off / Supper on April 28th. The event will be staged at Unity Hall that evening from 6 pm to 8 pm (if the weather permits, organizers plan to set up tables outside on the west parking lot). The community is invited and are encouraged to participate. Participants are asked to bring a large “sampling” of their chili to be shared with others, and judged for an overall prize of best chili. All “entries” need to be turned in and registered by 5:30 p.m. that evening. Please bring recipe as well.
Jennifer Blanton is again serving as Parade Chairman this year. The chamber is now accepting entries for the event and everyone is being encouraged to participate in this year’s Dogwood Parade. Longtime Orleans Pastor Tom Bostic has been named as the 2022 Grand Marshall and will lead the Parade through town on April 30th.
Michele Hardman have agreed to once again coordinate the festival Vendors, and Arts & Crafters. Vendor applications are now actively being sought and accepted online on the festival website.
Live entertainment is planned and being expanded this year for the Main Stage during the festival week with the band Shiloh, Sweetwater Duo and a Gospel Concert with The Breeding Sisters with Worth the Journey already announced. In addition, both the OHS Choir and Pep Band are expected to perform during festival week as well.
More festival details, entry forms, event chairmen contacts are available on the festival’s website, www.orleansdogwoodfestival.com
The Orleans Dogwood Festival Face Book page is also being updated regularly with new information for 2023.