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Hot-air balloons light up the night-time sky Friday at the Lanesville school track during Heritage Weekend festival activities. Photos by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)

Heritage 'spirit of the American heart'


September 18, 2013 | 11:18 AM

For the second straight year, clear blue skies and a bright sun shone down on record crowds at the annual Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival. Tens of thousands of people reportedly attended the three-day event, now in its 38th year.

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Robert Stewart of Depauw works on his engine display Saturday. (click for larger version)
"It just keeps building and building and building each year," festival chairman Kenny Acton said. "It was huge. Huge. We couldn't have ordered the weather to be any better, and that's two years in a row it's been that way. It had to be a record crowd. I'd have to guess somewhere above 80,000."

The after-work and truck-pull crowd Friday paled in comparison to the crowd Saturday, particularly around the time of the parade and after.

"The traffic coming in stops for the parade and I know that backs things up, but I don't think it ever recovered," Acton said.

Madilyn White, the daughter of Scott and Jill White of Georgetown, was crowned Heritage queen Friday, and Ashlyn Wiehbrink, the daughter of Justin and Amanda Wiehbrink, was named princess.

On Sunday, popular '60s band The Monarchs was the big draw.

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A swarm of people make their way into the Lanesville Heritage grounds Saturday afternoon following the parade along Main Street. (click for larger version)
"The Monarchs, oh man. It's so refreshing to see people having such a great time. People were waving their arms and dancing and clapping. It was wonderful," Acton said. "You could see and feel the spirit of the American heart."

The Heritage committee picked up a couple of parking areas this year on the west end of town and continues to find places to put everyone in the tiny town. But, other than parking, Acton said yesterday (Tuesday) he has heard very few complaints overall.

The best feature tractor display award went to Nick Wink of Owensboro, Ky. Wink had 14 Case tractors, 12 pieces of Case equipment and two prototype Case tractors on hand at Heritage. The oldest feature tractor award went to Donald and Deborah Schweitzer of Laconia for their 1936 Case model CC. The oldest non-feature tractor award went to Frances Lindauer & Sons from Ferdinand for their 1916 Oil Pull.

"There's something for everyone to do when they get there. There's food, there are antique tractors, the demonstrations out there ... That's what it's all about," Acton said. "How did people back then survive and how did they feed their families? My hat goes off to our ancestors. The hard work that they put in and the engineering they put into their machinery is just unbelievable. Back then, everybody helped their neighbor. It was a community effort when you needed to get your corn or your wheat in. Farmers parlayed their help together and their machinery together.

"We kind of see that today with Heritage. We have to thank our sponsorships and all of our volunteer help with pulling this together. This isn't just a Lanesville thing but a counties-wide thing. We even have people from Kentucky. That's what makes Lanesville Heritage so unique and so special."

Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival demonstration photos

Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival photos

Twitter: @_alanstewart

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