The Orleans Chamber of Commerce has announced that plans for the town’s trademark Dogwood Festival are well underway. This year will mark the 54th anniversary of the celebration of the blooming dogwood, which is set for April 20 through April 27. This year’s general theme is "Quality of Place - Pride in Community.”
Chamber Executive Director Robert F. Henderson said the festival committee has been working hard to bring back both old favorites and new offerings for this year’s edition of the town’s beloved springtime celebration. “This year we really want to celebrate all the things community and spotlight some of the many special things about the place so many of us simply love to call home,”
The Orleans Dogwood Festival has been named by Midwest Living magazine as one of its Top 5 Flowering Festivals in the Midwest. The town’s signature event has also been featured in Midwest Traveler, Travel Indiana and Southern Indiana Living magazines.
The Chamber’s Annual Town Wide Yard Sale is set for April 19-20. 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.
Back by popular demand will be the Dogwood Murder Mystery Dinner Theater on the last weekend of the festival.
The Dogwood Baby Contest is back with Kyanna Dugger as chairperson this year. The event will take place on Sunday, April 21st 2 p.m. at the Orleans High School Cafeteria.
Ashley McDonald is once again chairing the combined Dogwood Pageants. This year as in previous years both the Little Miss and Queen Crowning will again take place on the same day Saturday, April 20th at Orleans Elementary School. As has become tradition the 2024 “Mr. Dogwood” is also expected be named during the intermission for the queen crowning ceremonies. The pageant will begin at 5 p.m.
Angie Dilks approached the committee about the possibility of adding a “Little Mr. Dogwood” to this year’s festivities. More details to be announced.
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. New this year on the midway will be a children’s train ride. Advance Sales of Bracelet Tickets will be announced by legion members.
Jennifer and Neil Blanton will coordinate the Dogwood Parade for 2024. The chamber is now accepting entries for the event and everyone is being encouraged to participate in everyone’s favorite parade on Saturday, April 27th 2 p.m.
Other festival favorite highlights include the Phi Beta Psi Styles & Salads, Photo Contest, Student Art Show, Pet Parade, OBR Band Parents Food Stand, and Arts & Crafts in the park.
A new event will be a “Dogwood Volkswalk” on the opening Saturday, which will include a guided historic walk through the neighborhoods of the Dogwood Capital.
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.
Committee members agreed to once again having a special handmade Amish Dogwood Quilt created to be raffled off as a fun-raiser for this year’s festival.
Henderson added that festival organizers this year are also expanding live entertainment for the main stage throughout the event’s week-long run.
Corporate sponsors are still being sought and accepted from community partners. Those companies wishing to help sponsor or be a part of this year’s festival should contact the Chamber office, 812 865 9930 or via email Dogwoodfest47452@gmail.com
More festival details, entry forms, event chairmen contacts are available on the festival’s newly revamped website, www.orleansdogwoodfestival.com
The Orleans Dogwood Festival Face Book page is also being updated regularly with new information for 2024.
The festival planning committee will meet again on February 20th at 6:00 p.m. at Orleans Town Hall to continue plans on this year’s festivities. All event chairmen and anyone interested in helping with this year’s festival is urged to attend. Supporting organizations are also asked to have a representative present at this meeting.