April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

"Hope Friends" theme of 49th Hope Heritage Days

By By Jennifer [email protected]

If you ask Hope residents what words are synonymous with Hope Heritage Days, you will inevitably hear family, friends, food and fun.

So it stands to reason that the theme of this year's 49th annual festival, which runs from Friday to Sunday on Hope's Town Square, is aptly named "Hoosier Friends."

Chuck Caldwell, entertainment chairman and vice president of the festival and bandstand division for Hope Heritage Days, says the three-day festival always draws a great crowd and he hopes the weather forecast and turnout keeps with recent tradition.

Featuring more than 100 craft vendors, there's sure to be a little something for everyone.

If you are planning to attend the festival, come hungry. Twenty food vendors, all representing area nonprofit organizations, will be located in the square with a wide variety of food favorites. And the best part is, proceeds will go to benefit the organizations, which include Hauser Athletics, Hope Community Center, and the Hope Volunteer Fire Department to name a few.

Musically speaking, Caldwell say this year's entertainment schedule is a "mixed bag" of musical genres.

Friday night's events will kick off with the WYGS Gospel Sing at Hauser High School starting at 7 p.m. and the bandstand on the square will welcome Hope-based Night Owl Country Band at 6 p.m. followed by some '90s rock-n-roll offered by 9 to 44 at 8:30 p.m.

Daniel Wasson, of 9 to 44, says he and his band members are excited for their debut at Heritage Days. Covering rock from the '70s to the '90s, Wasson says the audience can anticipate covers of bands including Matchbox 20, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beatles.

But for Wasson, the festival is more than just playing good tunes.

The 26-year-old says it's also a reunion, of sorts.

"There's the good food and seeing people you normally don't see," he says. "The ones you may have gone to school with and don't get a chance to talk to until Heritage Days."

Wasson says his message to those who attend the festival Friday night is come prepared to dance and enjoy a good night of music.

Saturday night get ready to grove to an assortment of funk, blues, country and Motown on the main stage and at the bandstand with appearances by CatFish Davis at 5:30 p.m., Mac Trotter at 7 p.m. and Motown Sounds of Touch at 8 p.m.

Heritage Days' attractions are more than just music, Caldwell says.

Historically, the pioneer village has been a stand-alone event on Saturdays. However, this year, the attraction will be offered in the Jackson Street lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and again from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Caldwell says.

Bloomington-based WildCare, Inc. will also be on hand Saturday offering a presentation at the bandstand from 12 to 1:30 p.m. The organization, which takes in injured, sick and orphaned wildlife - from birds and reptiles to wild animals - will offer kids and adults an up-close look at some area wildlife that they may normally not get the opportunity to have otherwise.

The Dr. Hope Medicine show will also return at 12:30 p.m. on Jackson Street, Caldwell says.

Caldwell says the variety of music and attractions is something that always brings people back. But, more importantly, it's the social camaraderie of getting back to one's roots per se that makes the festival so important to the community.

"It's about bringing back the heritage of Hope," he says. "If anything, it acts as a homecoming for the people of Hope. I know people who mark it on their calendar every year who come back to see relatives and friends."

For more information about Hope Heritage Days please visit http://www.hopeheritagedays.org.[[In-content Ad]]