2010 – Corinne Butler was crowned the Queen of the 2010 Riley Festival. Board of Directors President was Sarah Kesterson and Fred and Debbie Applegate were the Co-General Chairmen. Other members of the Board were: Nancy Alldredge, Secretary; Tom & Terry Beagle, Dave Berard, Treasurer; Tom Billings, Vice President; Dee Carmichael, Greg Carwein, Rex Drudge, Linda Evans, Becky Gaines, Richard Garrett, Faith Hawk, Christa Pike, Debbie Pfeiffer, Past President; Jack Shamblin and Donna Wanstrath. “Grigsby’s Station” was the theme for the 2010 Riley Festival.
This year the Festival tried selling tickets to the Levi Riggs Concert at the Rick’s Theater as a money raiser. Very few tickets were sold.
Shade ‘N’ Shannon was the entertainment for the Opening Ceremonies on Thursday. Megan Kovach was the winner of the James Whitcomb Riley Festival Scholarship.
2011 – Trouble and Company performed at the Opening Ceremonies and they were a big hit. Payton Cole was crowned the Queen of the 2011 Riley Festival. “Her Valentine” was the theme for the 2011 Riley Festival. Tom Billings was President and Debbie Pfeiffer was General Chairman.
The Flower Parade saw a change as the route was shortened and only grades 2 and 3 will participate in the parade in an effort to keep the children safe.
After the Riley Board of Directors Retreat and new committee was formed, it is The Festival Improvements Committee. This committee Chaired by Vice President Dee Carmichael came up with several suggestions for improvements which were adopted by the Board. Probably the best change was to move all of the vendors off the East and West sides of the Courthouse lawn to the Plaza. This freed up the space for picnic tables. This received lots of great comments from everyone who attended the Festival.
Another change was to move all of the games and children’s activities from the Plaza to the parking lot on the South side of North Street between State Street and East Street. Cornhole games and a tournament were in the Riley’s Fun Zone. Picnic tables were placed in this area also so parents would have a place to sit and watch their children play.
We also added directional signs to help guide guests to the venue of their choice. The Sunrise Rotary Club sponsored a Beer and Wine Garden at the Carnegie’s parking lot. We added a Little Miss and Little Mr. contest our first winners were Corbin Phelps and Lauren Pfeiffer.
Also new this year was a “flash mob” that danced in the street. It drew a large crowd and it was filmed and placed on our new facebook page. The Greenfield area merchants sponsored a military wedding during the Festival. The couple then rode in the Ameriana Parade on Saturday.
Gib Young a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator was the featured speaker at the Riley Breakfast. Tickets sold for $10.00. Jeff Kuehl, a James Whitcomb Riley impersonator, read “Her Valentine” at the Riley Breakfast. Gib Young and Jeff Kuehl rode in the Ameriana Parade. Grand Marshal was the Boy Scotts of America for their 100th Anniversary. Rebecca Spade was the winner of the 2011 James Whitcomb Riley Festival Community Service Award.
The James Whitcomb Riley Festival Association Educational Arts Partnership-Grant was started this year. In an effort to give back to the community it was decided to offer this grant to schools to further the visual and performing arts in Hancock County Schools. Our first winners were: New Palestine High School, Greenfield-Central High School and Mt. Vernon Middle & High School.