Fifties festival returns for 25th year

More than 260 classic cars registered for the car show at this year’s Back to the Fifties Festival.

Thousands came out to enjoy a weekend of Fifties events Friday and Saturday, featuring a variety of shows from music to art.

The art and photography show and sale included ceramics, drawing, 3-D art and coloring. The judged contest awarded ribbons to the committee’s choice, people’s choice, specialty award and best of show.

The popular costume contest brought out families dressing in 1950’s attire for a street dance to follow and the traditional Hula Hoop and Twist contests.

Tribute artists performed 1950s and ‘60s favorites from Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Wright Brothers and more. The Lebanon High School Charisma Show Choir also performed.

New this year, an RC demolition derby was added to the annual RC mini truckers and cars event.

A children’s fun park included a barrel train ride, inflatables, and the Lebanon and Center Township fire departments invited youth to check out fire trucks and ambulances.

“I see people of all ages,” said committee director of photography Ann Thomas. “It’s been here for 25 years and some have grown up coming to this event. I’ve seen kids that literally were here as toddlers and now they’re all grown up.”

More than 260 classic cars participated in the car show and competition, some local, but many from the tri-state area.

Julianna Myers drove in from Wisconsin to show off her 1957 Chevy Belair and dressed the part for the weekend. In her poodle skirt and saddle oxfords, Myers said, “I was at the Lafayette Cruisers back in July and heard about this show. I visit my aunt here in Lebanon and this sounded like a fun event.”

Voted in the top 10 fall festivals in the state by Best Things Indiana, Thomas said many have heard about it and now integrate the event into their weekend plans.

The tradition began as a small festival in downtown Lebanon. Two years ago, it moved to the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Carmen Ottinger has been working at the Back to the Fifties Festival since its inception.

“Carmen knows what goes on with every aspect of this festival; I don’t know how she does it,” Thomas said. “She was a part of it from the beginning and is so passionate about it. She goes to conventions occasionally and she does her homework. There’s really a core group of five or six people who run this. Of course, our committees are larger but, at the core, there a group that has done this with their whole heart and soul to make this a special event.”

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