In August, 1991 something happened in Newberry, IN nobody thought would ever happen! After almost 8 months planning & work the “1st Annual Newberry on the White River Festival” opened for a 2 day stand on the property of Dexter “Shorty” York on Highway 57.
There were several vendors selling items form crafts to food, renting booths. As a “start-up” fund most of the businesses around town gave generous cash donations to offset the beginning expenses, which were few that year, as we used the computer to make our fliers & depended on the Bloomfield Evening World to run our news items to keep everyone informed of the plans, changes, and etc.
Rain most of the day on Saturday prevented a good turn-out and disappointed the attendees & Festival committee, but music from local groups was enjoyed between the rain drops. The parade Saturday evening was much enjoyed. Our “Mother City”, Newberry, SC honored us with not 1 but 3 members of their city council to be the Grand Marshalls & help in any way they could. They seemed to enjoy our rural & small town flavor and atmosphere.
The first year profits bought flags & mounted them on the light posts down the highway.
The 1991 Festival Committee consisted of:
Glenn Mottern – Muscle, chauffeur, “gopher”, advertising, moral support
Paul Slaven – Muscle, “gopher”, & moral support
Bobbie Hellums – Parade chairperson, advertising, moral support
Gail Mottern – chairperson, public relations, advertising & everything else that needed to be done.
The 2nd Annual Newberry on the White River Festival was held at the same place as the 1st and was much better attended & many more vendors. There was still free music & Jack Hasler hawked tickets for the hourly drawings at $.50 a ticket. The prizes were items donated by Greene & Daviess County businesses & the vendors.
For the 3rd Annual Festival the name was changed to “The __ Annual Newberry Festival” and moved to the town Park across from the Methodist Church. The Festival grew yearly & finally after 5 years of being chairperson, I turned it over to our daughter, Judy Moore. She has been laboring since then, except for a few years, to keep the Festival going & growing. More people have joined in to help make it a success. Many activities have been added.
Eventually there was enough “clear profit” to purchase street signs for the town of Newberry. Paul Slaven & Glenn Mottern drilled holes & set the posts & helped mount the signs. Until that time many locals didn’t even know Newberry had street names.