Apr. 27, Bedford, Indiana Park’s Dept. Annual Car Show on the downtown square, 10am-4pm.  Classic cars & trucks, prizes, concessions available, free event, 812-275-5692.

Published in: on April 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

66th Annual Mitchell Persimmon Festival


June is Limestone Month!

The Empire Quarry in Lawrence County supplied the limestone for the construction of the Empire State Building in New York.

The month of June is celebrated as Limestone Month in Lawrence and Monroe Counties. Special events, including tours, carving demonstrations, exhibitions, and festivals, are scheduled throughout the month to highlight the area’s most notable industry and heritage. Lawrence County’s rich limestone quarrying and carving history began in the early 1800s and since that time Indiana limestone has been prominent in our nation’s historic and significant architecture. Limestone from Lawrence County has been used in the building of many US landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, the new Yankee Stadium, the Federal Triangle, the National Cathedral, the Chicago Tribune Tower, and the Biltmore Estate, just to name a few.

The dimensional limestone belt in south central Indiana stretches for 30 miles from Stinesville in Monroe County to Bedford in Lawrence County. This type of limestone is fine-grained, durable, and carvable, which makes it a versatile and weather resistant material for architecture. 340 million years ago a gentle inland sea covered Illinois and Indiana, and the skeletons of animals, fish, and invertebrates over time compacted into our present day limestone layers. In some of the layers, fossils are still discernible to the human eye.

The Land Of Limestone Tour will be held Tuesday, June 5, from 10-11 AM. The Land of Limestone exhibit is permanently housed in a historic limestone building located at 405 I Street in Bedford. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and was once the headquarters of the Indiana Limestone Company. Today, Oakland City College and IVY Tech share the building.

Land of Limestone Exhibit, 405 I Street, Bedford, Indiana.

“If Tombstones Could Talk” features interpreters in character at a special tour of Greenhill Cemetery in Bedford. Visit monuments of historic figures in the limestone industry. This event will be on Sunday, June 24, from 10 AM-Noon. Tickets are available for a picnic lunch and tour for $15 or $5 for the tour only. Call the Lawrence County Tourism Commission to reserve your tickets, 800-798-0769.
Stone Carving Exhibit will be held in downtown Bedford on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, from 11 AM-6 PM. Professional stone carvers will demonstrate live and provide an opportunity for you to try your hand at limestone carving. An exhibit of limestone sculptures will be at the nearby Lawrence County Museum of History, 929 15th Street, Bedford. While there, vote for your favorite sculpture for the People’s Choice Award. Located around the corner is the Wiley Art Center with an exhibit of limestone-related paintings by local artists, 1402 J Street, Bedford.

Festivals cap off the month with the BBQ at the Quarry on Friday, June 29, from Noon-Midnight, and Saturday, June 30, from 8 AM-Midnight. There will be BBQ contests with sampling, beer garden, and live bands. On  Wednesday, July 4, celebrate our nation’s birthday at the Limestone Heritage Festival at various locations in Bedford. Events include a showcase parade at 11 AM, an ice cream social, the Lawrence County Community Band Concert, and a live band concert with fireworks.

Other limestone attractions in Lawrence County are Bluespring Caverns underground boat tours, Spring Mill State Park with Twin Caves boat tours and the Pioneer Village and the Gristmill constructed of limestone, and limestone architecture, art, and quarries throughout the county.

The Limestone Trail is a self-guided tour through Monroe and Lawrence Counties. Each point on the trail demonstrates the functionality, art, or significance of limestone in the area. Brochures can be downloaded at http://www.limestonecountry.com or copies are available at the Lawrence County Tourism office, 533 W. Main Street, Mitchell, 800-798-0769.

The complete Limestone Month calendar of events can be found online at http://www.limestonemonth.

June is Limestone Month.

Published in: on May 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm  Comments (6)  

2012 Season at the Mitchell Opera House


An unexpected haven for the performing arts is situated in the town of Mitchell in Lawrence County. The Opera House of Mitchell is on the National Register of Historic Places and hosts a wide variety of live entertainment.

The Tides start off the new season on April 28th. This musical group blends unusual instruments with great vocals and creative arrangements of songs from the 50’s and 60’s right up through today.

ImageMay 19, A Tribute to Elvis – The Mayor of Rock n’ Roll. Bruce Borders returns with his incredible Elvis impersonation that rocked the David Letterman Show! Borders, once the mayor of Jasonville, is a favorite headliner and always sells out his Opera House appearance.

June 23, The Lloyd Wood Show arrives! Lloyd dishes up a heaping’ helpin’ of country, country rock, bluegrass, and oldies music. His performance also includes over 100 impersonations! Some say his show is on par with the talent in Nashville or Branson.

July 21, the Nostalgia Band graces the historic stage, lead by band director, Frank Battaglia. Playing all the hits from the 30’s and 40’s, this 18 piece big band fills the Opera House with an awesome swing and jazz performance.

August 18, Grandview Junction brings the three and four part harmony of Susan and Tim Key. Bluegrass, gospel, and country music repertoire is played on the strings of this multi-talented group.


The Mitchell Opera House was completed in 1906 as a county meeting hall. Ten years later, show business stirred up this sleepy southern Indiana town when the hall became a stop on the Vaudeville circuit. In its prime, renowned performers like Harry Blackstone and John Phillip Sousa graced its stage.

The Mitchell Opera House is located at 7th and Brook Streets in Mitchell. All shows begin at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $8 per adult and $3 for students 18 years and younger. Call to reserve your tickets to great entertainment in this historical hall, 812-849-2337.

Spring Mill State Park is a mere three miles from the Opera House – so feel free to extend your family fun into a full weekend stay!


Published in: on April 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Carousel Winery

Carousel Winery

Serving national and international award winning wines.

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Astronaut Grissom’s 50th Anniversary Space Flight

The Gus Grissom Story

Virgil I. Grissom was born on April 3, 1926 in Mitchell, Indiana, the oldest of four children.
In 1944, he graduated from Mitchell High School. Motivated by a strong interest in technology and aircraft construction, he completed on year of pre-cadet training in the U.S. Army Air corps. Grissom was inducted into the Air Corps in August 1944 and discharged in November with the rank of corporal.
Grissom went on to study at Purdue University, graduating in February 1950, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
He joined the United States Air Force and was commissioned a second lieutenant in March 1951. In December of that year, Grissom shipped overseas to fight in the Korean War.
Grissom flew 100 missions with the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in less than six months, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
When he returned from Korea, Grissom was assigned to the Air Force Institute of Technology at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. He then transferred to the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Grissom specialized in “checking-out” advanced-designed fighter planes; he logged more than 4600 hours as an airplane pilot – 3500 hours in jet aircraft.
In April 1959, the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) announced the selection of the country’s first seven astronauts. Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom was part of this elite group that would become known as the “Mercury 7”.
The goal of Project Mercury was to place a manned spacecraft in orbit and return that spacecraft safely to earth.
As part of Project Mercury, Gus Grissom became America’s second man in space on July 21, 1961, in a capsule named the “Liberty Bell 7”. A successful flight was followed by a dramatic ending when the capsule was lost at sea after splashdown. Although Grissom himself was safely retrieved from the water, the mishap forced NASA to rethink its recovery techniques.
Grissom’s next assignment was to oversee the design, and then to command, the first manned mission of the Gemini program. The two primary goals of the Gemini series were to launch a two-person capsule designed to maneuver and work in space, and to test plans, techniques, and equipment needed for a landing on the moon.
On March 23, 1965, the Gemini III launched with Grissom at the helm, in a capsule he christened the “Molly Brown”. The flight lasted five hours and flew nearly 81,000 miles around the earth, completing three orbits. During the voyage, Grissom made history again as the first person to ever control and change the path of a spacecraft while in orbit. This was done with a multi-axis joystick he innovated for controlling the maneuvering thrusters with one hand.
The final steps needed to prepare for a successful, manned, lunar landing were undertaken during the Apollo program. The ultimate goal of Apollo was to launch a spacecraft on a path to the moon, using the weak lunar gravity to slingshot the spacecraft to the moon and then back to earth.
In February 1966, Virgil I. Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were chosen as the crew for the Apollo I mission.
On January 27, 1967, during a test on the launch pad, a flash fire broke out inside the command module. Grissom, White, and Chaffee were trapped inside, unable to escape the blaze.
Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Mitchell’s hometown hero, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the flight of the Liberty Bell 7
From July 21-23, Lawrence County will celebrate not only astronaut, Virgil “Gus” Grissom but two more astronauts from here, Charlie Walker and Ken Bowersox.


Having three astronauts from one county make us unique and we will be having many varied events pertaining to our rich space exploration history.
The first event will be the Launch Breakfast on July 21 at the Spring Mill Inn. A panel discussion will feature the original Liberty Bell 7 engineers. Author of Grissom’s biography, Ray Boomhower will lead a conversation with the public before a free showing of the Discovery Channel Documentary “In Search of Liberty Bell 7” with Curt Newport, who lead the search.
Friday, July 22, Bedford native astronauts Charlie Walker and Ken Bowersox will speak at a Bedford Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chamber at 812-275-4493. That evening, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, herself a Bedford native, will host the Liberty Bell Space Ball with the band “Summertime” performing for the formal event. Tickets can be purchased through the Bedford Chamber or Mitchell City Hall at 812-849-5161. July 23 will be the Grand Parade in downtown Mitchell, featuring the Grissom Air Force Base Color Guard. Grissom family members will host an open house of Gus Grissom’s boyhood home, which is near the site of the Grissom Monument which is made from a single block of Indiana limestone and surrounded by a wall of bricks from Grissom’s elementary school.
Spring Mill State Park is home to the Grissom Memorial Museum and has activities, receptions, and events for all ages all of the days of the celebration. Aiding in the festivities at the park will be the Stonebelt Stargazers with telescope viewings and the Hoosier Hills Ham Radio Club that will allow conversations with the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and a free showing of a film by Purdue University about graduate, Grissom.
This is a rare chance to see what Virgil I. Grissom, Lawrence County, and Indiana mean to the history and direction of the American space program.

Original Mercury 7 astronauts
Courtesy of Life Magazine

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Geocaching-A High Tech Treasure Hunt

Spring Mill State Park will be hosting their 5th Annual Geocache Challenge on February 5, 2011 from 11 am to 4 pm.  This challenge is multi-staged and designed to be completed within two to three hours.  “Big Trees” is the theme (a subtle clue!) and the first finisher to complete the entire challenge wins a special prize.  Start your geocaching adventure at the Nature Nook inside the Spring Mill Inn to receive the coordinates for the first cache. This is a different way to tour the park and find places off the usual trails.  Take the challenge by yourself, with your family, or create your own team.  The Lawrence County Tourism Commission office has two GPS units available for rent through the Go Seek GPS Rental Program.  The Tourism Commission arranges for the first four days of your rental to be complimentary.  Call the office for details, toll free 800-798-0769.

The InKy Geocachers group is having their 10th Anniversary Indiana Fall Picnic at Spring Mill State Park September 9-11, 2011.  This event will include and meet and greet on Friday night.  The next day will be the main event will be the discovering of geocaches located throughout the park and Lawrence county.  Saturday evening a trading event and talent show will be held.  Cache In, Trash Out happens Sunday morning as a flash mob cleans up the park.  Visit www.inkygeo.com to find out more about the group and to join.

If you don’t have a GPS unit, there is an app for iPhone and Android.  Information about this option can be found at www.geocaching.com as well as the locations of geocaches throughout America.

Some tips for geocaching are to mark your car or starting location before you hit the trail and be sure to take key items with you such as water, flashlight, multi-tool, etc.  Should you decide to create your own cache, choose a waterproof container, a lock ‘n lock style container over the snap-on lid type.  When you place your cache, always ask permission from the business or location first and choose the back of the property versus a more public area.  Make your cache one of quality and don’t place it on private property.

Some of the common geocache log acronyms are: TFTC! Thanks for the cache!; T:/L Took from the cache/Left in the cache, i.e. took a yo-yo, left a whistle; TNLN Took nothing from the cache, left nothing in the cache; TB Travel Bug, a trackable item that moves from cache to cache.

Southern Indiana, Lawrence County, and Spring Mill State Park  have many geocaches and searching in the wintertime before the vegetation sprouts again is a perfect time.  It reduces the amount of tiny hungry bugs or bigger critters that may surprise you when you come seeking your treasure.  Geocaching is fun for all ages and really not as difficult as you would expect.  Grab a friend and give it a try and see some interesting places along the way!

Our Statehood Day Essay Winner


Kamryn Bridges has a big appointment Friday.

The fourth-grade student at Burris Elementary School wrote the top essay in the 2010 Statehood Day essay contest.

She was chosen as the first-place winner from more than 2,800 entrants from across Indiana, state Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, announced today.

Steele said Bridges, from Mitchell, will read her essay to the hundreds expected to gather for Friday’s Statehood Day celebration.

“Kamryn’s essay is very well-written, making it easy to see she’s a young expert in Indiana history,” Steele said. “It’s inspiring to know fourth-graders in my area and around the state are delving into events of the past and using what they’ve learned to continue Hoosier traditions. Students like Kamryn give Indiana a promising future.”

Bridges will participate in Friday’s Statehood Day festivities, set to include student visits to executive, judicial and legislative offices as well as a program with opening remarks from government officials, special music, displays of original copies of Indiana’s 1816 and 1851 constitutions and the reading of her winning essay.

“I don’t think of Indiana as my state,” Bridges wrote. “I think of it as my home. Indiana, to me, is about its history, memories and traditions. I love to think that someone as famous as Abe Lincoln has walked on the same Indiana land that I have.”

The essay concludes: My mother always tells me some people may leave for a while, but their hearts always find their way home to Indiana.”

Steele said other fourth-graders recognized in the contest include second-place Catherine Figg of Fishers; third-place Dilanya Moonsinghe of Kokomo; and honorable mention students Sophie Adams of Carmel, Matthias Benko of Indianapolis and Jack Poynter of Greenwood.

According to state officials, the winner and runner-up, along with their families and classes, are invited to attend the Statehood Day ceremony. Other schools have already filled program attendance to capacity.

Indiana became this nation’s 19th state on Dec. 11, 1816.Sponsored by the Indiana Statehouse Tour Office and Indiana State Library, the Statehood Day essay contest for fourth-graders is held annually in October and November.More information can be found at www.in.gov/library/statehood.htm.

Copyright: TMNews.com 2010

We are very proud of Kamryn and feel the same about our state.  The following is her winning essay.

What Indiana Means to Me

            I don’t think of Indiana as my state.  I think of it as my home.  Indiana, to me, is about its history, memories, and traditions.  I love to think that someone as famous as Abe Lincoln has walked on the same Indiana land that I have.

            I like to think that we all are a part of Indiana’s history.  History doesn’t always mean famous people.  History can lie in the land and the people who lived on it.  My great-grandfathers who worked on the abandoned railroad tracks and the old limestone quarries were part of history.  The old homesteads where you can find old limestone foundations, fallen barns, old road beds, and barb wire fences are all part of history.

            All of my favorite memories are in Indiana.  Fall is my favorite season.  Fall in Indiana means the smell of my gram’s persimmon pudding baking in the oven.  It means taking my 89 year old great-grandmother to the Persimmon Festival parade every year and eating Tiger Ears.  Indiana winters are unpredictable, no matter what a persimmon seed or wooly worm tells you.  It is always exciting in Indiana to see if there is going to be school after a snowfall.  I can still feel my hands start to tingle when I stay outside too long sledding with my little sister and cousins.  I can smell the smoke from our outdoor stove as my dad tries to get us warmed up.  As the snow melts and the grass start to appear, I can hear the sounds of the turkeys calling in our backyard and hearing my dad ask if anyone wants to go mushroom hunting.  Indiana summers are so much fun.  What I like best about summer is the feel of the lake water on a hot day or the mud between our toes when we are catching tadpoles in my uncle’s pond.  Indiana is beautiful all year around.

            Indiana has many places to visit like the Children’s Museum, the Indianapolis Zoo, the State Museum, or my favorite, the Colts.  I have been to other states, but I am always ready to go back home, to Indianan.  It is where my family and friends are.  It is where all of my memories are.

            My mother always tells me some people may leave for a while, but their hearts always find their way home to Indiana. 

By Kamryn Bridges

Grade 4

Teacher, Mr. Jerry Fountain

Burris Elementary School, Mitchell, IN

Published in: on December 9, 2010 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lawrence County Gets Its Twinkle On!

This yuletide season begins the first weekend in December in Lawrence County with a sprinkling of sparkling activities for the Santa believers in all of us.

One of our shinning stars is Spring Mill State Park with “Christmas in the Pioneer Village” on Friday, December 3rd, from 5-9 pm. The Pioneer Village is an authentic late 1800’s town and the folks there will welcome you with candles in the windows, while warming you up with wassail, baked cookies and live musicians playing seasonal songs. The heritage artisans craft holiday gifts and decorations while waiting for Father Christmas to make his way there. Just follow the luminaries to find him. This living postcard happens again the next day, Saturday, December 4th, from 1-9 pm. This is an opportunity for your family to experience something memorable as you are transported two centuries back in time.

A novel idea to light up community spirit in Springville is their “Christmas at the Park”. The park is divided into sections and the public is invited to decorate their own section with lights and holiday displays. The judging will begin at 6 pm, on Friday, December 3rd, and the winner receives a cash prize. More prizes will be awarded at the “Chil-lie Cook-Off” at the old gym in Springville. Judges will decide the best three chilis and Santa Claus will come to see if the judges did a good job!

Also, on December 3rd, 7:30 pm, Forever Gold will give a concert at the Schafer Auditorium in Bedford. This band will perform holiday rock and roll, as well as 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s music. We don’t forget the “boomers” when we plan the holiday festivities here! Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 for “rockers” 65+ years young.

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! are the three words that depict December 4th in downtown Bedford. The premier event is the Bedford Christmas Parade with the theme “A Toyland Christmas” beginning at 5:45 pm with the illumination of the downtown lights, then the parade at 6 pm. It would be a good idea to bring your cameras and camcorders for all the spectacular action! Last year with 130 entries in the parade made this the largest Christmas parade in southern Indiana.

We begin this day of festivities with the L.I.F.E Christmas Fantasia, starting at 9 am at the Parkview School in Bedford with the viewing and auction of decorated trees and wreaths to benefit the Lawrence County Interfaith Endeavor food pantry. Truly beautiful trees for a beautiful cause, truly.

The Twelve Months of Christmas, downtown Bedford, is having Children’s Story Time, beginning at 12:30 pm until Santa arrives at 1 pm. He will bring a small gift for the children that visit him until he leaves for the North Pole at 3 pm.

At that same hour, the horse-drawn carriage rides begin around the Bedford square until 5 pm.

To keep everyone toasty and happy does a nice bowl of chili sound good? We have that too with lively entertainment by The Lloyd Wood Show. The Chili Supper begins at 4 pm and includes a steamy bowl of chili, hot dog, cookie, and a drink, all for $5 until the conclusion of the parade.

For a vintage video of the Bedford Christmas Parade, circa late 1930’s to early 1940’s from YouTube:


We end the evening on a heartfelt note but with some holiday cheer thrown in, as its back to the Twelve Months of Christmas for a Shopping Party that benefits The American Cancer Society.

Enjoy the sparkle in your loved ones eyes during our wonderful holiday celebrations here in lovely Lawrence County, in serene southern Indiana. Peace, Comfort and Joy to everyone!

Outdoor Recreation Haven

We are so fortunate here in Lawrence county and surrounding counties to have an inviting natural terrain that is suitable for many varied outdoor activities for all ages. The jewel in our nature’s crown is Spring Mill State Park with her adventurous trails, ancient caves, old growth forest, authentic pioneer village, nature center guided activities, mountain bike trails,and camping under the clear starry nights.  And speaking of stars, the astronaut Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom Memorial is located at the park as well.  We will leave some of the park’s offerings to your imagination but treat yourself and family to experience one of Indiana’s best state parks – and that is saying a lot!  www.dnr.in.gov and www.indianainns.com or (812) 849-4129 and (877) 977-7464.

If you want to rough it in a fun way – again with the entire family – stop in at the Lawrence County Tourism Visitors Center on Sixth and Main in Mitchell and rent a GPS unit for geocaching in Spring Mill or elsewhere in the county.  The first four days rental fees are on us – that’s right, FREE to you.  But you need to come in while we are open during the week to pick up your GPS and maps to the “treasures”.  This is really a unique experience for kids!  While here pick up walking tour maps of Bedford and Mitchell, and driving tour maps of Lawrence county. www.limestonecountry.com or (812) 849-1090 and (800) 798-0769.

Bluespring Caverns are now booking for group overnights in their famous cave with the blind cave fish and crawfish.  If you have a youth group in mind, this is the once-in-a-lifetime experience.  www.bluespringcaverns.com or (812) 279-9471.

If you enjoy hunting upland fowl, then it doesn’t get any better than Sugar Creek Hunting Preserve.  Shoot skeet or participate in one of their European-style Pheasant Hunts.  You will be treated like family at this wonderful venue.  www.indianahuntingpreserve.com or (812) 849-5020 and (812) 849-2296.

Want to switch gears?  Then the Lawrence County Recreational Park has dirtbikes and atv trails to enjoy.  You can camp there, too!  (812) 275-0186.

Or just slow down completely and turn off of the fast lane and ride horses at the Midwest Trail Ride & Horseman’s Campground in the Hoosier National Forest.  www.midwesttrailride.com or (812) 834-6686.

Lawrence county has its share of golf courses, antique shops, and there is always a festival afoot!  Learn and see the region’s famous limestone quarries, architecture, and history.  Take Indiana’s first Wine Trail.  Whew!!  Are you tired yet?  There is always more to do!

Once again, the Lawrence County Tourism Office is happy to help you with your adventure planning to our area.  Visit www.limestonecountry.com or Facebook and Twitter as Limestone Country.  Travel safe and arrive happy!

Published in: on November 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment