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 Jubilee Days Needs Makeover

I know this one could come back to bite me in the hind quarters, but I’m wondering if the longstanding Jubilee Days tradition in Knightstown hasn’t seen much better times and, quite possibly, run its course.

For many years we have crowned queens, had parades and held a carnival, much to the delight of thousands of residents and visitors. Certain events have come and gone as the Jubilee Days organizers try to keep things current and offer the right type of entertainment that will continue to draw crowds.

This year’s five-day-long festival was a little different than others, and at the completion it became apparent to me that certain events could stay, but others just have to go. Of course, a lot of people weren’t aware of all of the special activities because for some reason the organizers didn’t bother to publish an actual schedule in the newspaper. Consequently, some people simply didn’t know what was happening when.

As a public service, I’ll try to recap the festival so you’ll all see what you may have missed. We’ll also take a look at the Jubilee Days festivities and see whether or not they should remain a part of the town’s annual celebration.


This year’s winner was Bob Myers, an outstanding choice that came about 25 years later than it should have. But he was finally recognized, which lends great credibility to the honor and proves that this tradition should be continued.


This is a really good thing. We crown a queen and a princess and that’s a relatively fun event for those young ladies and their parents. It’s a crowd-pleaser too. We should keep this.


Part of me says this should go, but based on the massive crowd in attendance early Friday evening, it’s very well received by the community and should continue to be part of the annual event. About 50 years ago the carnival was held uptown to benefit the many retail shops in the area. Maybe now is the time to relocate this to the park, where it once was.

There were several other traditional events that I believe are a good idea and should stay on the schedule. However, this year the Jubilee Days festivities added a couple of other events that simply didn’t work out and should be discontinued. Let’s take a quick look at those.


When this first began I didn’t think it was a very good idea. Granted, the standoff drew a large crowd and peaked the curiosity of many members of law enforcement, but it probably also cost about a gazillion dollars. The timing wasn’t very good either. Hundreds of people were gathering around to watch the house and the police officers and SWAT teams, and consequently, there weren’t very many people at the carnival. While I applaud the attempt at creativity, maybe we should just stick to the occasional train robbery.


OK, this was a really bad idea. The timing was off a little because the storm began seven minutes before the carnival closed for the night and there were still a lot of people uptown, not to mention carnival workers and their kids. The Wind-a-Whirl was exaggerated and the Tree Tossing Contest ended up being a disaster. (In case you hadn’t heard, the Roger Haines and Mark Anderson families tied for first place.) There obviously wasn’t enough planning for this event and little consideration given to the fact that 90 percent of the streets would be blocked by downed power lines, utility poles and trees. Oh, and there was that electricity problem, too. This event has to go.


Due to the poorly planned Friday night storm, the Saturday morning stunning of the community was an overwhelming success. Most people stepped outside their house, looked around and said, “Whoa.” We could do without this becoming a tradition.

So overall, Jubilee Days once again will probably be deemed a success, but obviously, we need to work on some of the attractions.

In the meantime, if you are feeling a little tired this week, it’s not surprising. In a five-day period we have welcomed the annual Jubilee Days tradition with a big parade, held a graduation ceremony for our Knightstown High School seniors, had a police standoff complete with SWAT teams and hovering television helicopters, crowned a queen and princess, made preparations for the Indiana high school basketball all-stars to play in the Hoosier Gym, and had our community ripped apart by one of the most powerful storms most of us can remember.

It was a busy and interesting week for a sleepy community in which some people say nothing ever happens.


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