Old Jasper Day ‘a kickoff to summer’May 17, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — We’re still in the thick of spring, but there’s something about the upcoming Old Jasper Day that gets Nancy Eckerle thinking of warmer days.
“That’s the way I like to look at it — it’s kind of a kickoff to summer,” said Eckerle, who is the executive director of the Jasper Chamber of Commerce. “School’s not out yet, but it’s a good way to start anticipating fun things for the summer.”
The 13th annual iteration of the local event will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, bringing six hours of fun to the area near the city’s Riverwalk before concluding at 5 p.m.
Offerings include the Jasper Lions Club’s annual Strawberry Festival, steeply discounted Spirit of Jasper train rides and an afternoon concert. Every 30 minutes throughout the day, the Jasper City Mill will lead demonstrations that show corn being ground into cornmeal. Free horse-drawn wagon rides will take attendees for a short ride around Old Jasper.
Dave McGimpsey, president of the local Lions Club, said the Strawberry Festival facilitates the selling of strawberries, ice cream and shortcakes, until the group runs out of supplies. The club also sells burgers, hot dogs, brauts, tenderloins and soda. It’s one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers of the year.
The club also has an endowment at the Dubois County Community Foundation and auctions off radios in September. One of the nonprofit’s main focuses is to help the visually impaired, but it also donates funds to other local causes.
“Through the proceeds from the endowment, the Strawberry Festival, and the radio auction, we’re able to support a wide range of community needs,” McGimpsey said of the Lions Club. “Whether that be vision-related, or whether it be just being a good member of the community. For example, sponsoring the baseball team, soccer program. We support a lot of different interests.”
The Patoka 2000 plastic duck race will also return to the Old Jasper Day docket this weekend — though due to dangerously high water at the river from recent rains, the race will take place in a 12-foot-wide swimming pool at the Riverwalk’s gazebo.
Eckerle knows attendees will be disappointed by the change. But it isn’t worth risking the safety of volunteers who use kayaks and small fishing boats during the race, she said.
Old Jasper Day Schedule
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lions Club Strawberry Festival at the shelter houses by the Dave Buehler Plaza.
Noon Spirit of Jasper train rides at the Jasper Train Depot. The train will run at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Tickets are $3 per person and will be sold beginning at 11 a.m.
Noon to 4 p.m. Horse-drawn wagon rides around Old Jasper. There is no charge, but donations are appreciated.
1 p.m. Patoka 2000 duck race. At this family event, plastic ducks will be let loose in a swimming pool at the gazebo. People can sponsor a duck for $5 or three ducks for $10. Proceeds go to beautification projects in the river area.
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Concert at the gazebo. Jed Guillaume will perform.
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