Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Heritage Days: Indiana Celebrating 200 Years

Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015

The Heritage Days Steering Committee has named the theme for the 2016 Heritage Days festivities as Indiana Celebrating 200 Years. Festivities celebrating Huntington’s 53rd Heritage Days will relate to the bicentennial of the state including the torch from the Indiana State flag, and will be held at locations throughout the community, Wednesday, June 15 through Sunday, June 19.

Indiana became a state December 11, 1816, and the Heritage Days theme will allow participants in the annual Heritage Days Parade and other activities to depict the 200 year history of the state of Indiana. Although Huntington was not yet a town in 1816, activity in the area was taking place at the Forks of the Wabash. A Miami village, fur trading, an agricultural station, flint deposit and treaty grounds were being utilized.

A Miami village was reported at the Forks in 1823 under the direction of national chief of the Miamis, Jean Baptiste Richardville. Joel and Champion Helvey were credited with the earliest land purchases in Huntington. Elias Murray first recorded the town as Huntington in 1832 after Samuel Huntington, his uncle who had signed the Declaration in Independence.

Huntington residents helped to build the Wabash and Erie Canal that extended to Huntington in 1835. The canal brought families to the area and Huntington became an incorporated town on February 16, 1848. Huntington became a city in September of 1873. The canal was replaced by the railroads, resulting in another growth “spurt” in Huntington County. The present-day U.S. 24 highway follows this original corridor.

Huntington is known as the “Lime City” for all the lime deposits in the area that have been used in building throughout the country. The geological survey from 1875 records that lime kilns were worked throughout the county.

Many contributions to the state of Indiana have been made by Huntingtonians. The city hit the national spotlight in 1988 when former Huntington resident United States Senator Dan Quayle was selected by George H.W. Bush to serve as his running mate. Quayle served as the 44th vice president of the United States. He joined four other Hoosiers who previously served in that capacity. Contributions to the food, health, automotive and other industries have been made by Huntington businesses.

The Indiana Celebrating 200 Years Heritage Days Parade will be held Saturday, June 18 beginning at 10 a.m. Participants in this year’s parade will be asked for a $25 fee per entry. Groups are considered as one entry. This fee along with a certificate of liability insurance must be submitted along with the parade registration form.

Activities that will be a part of this year’s Heritage Days festivities include the traditional Chief of the Flint Springs Tribe breakfast Thursday morning and the annual Rotary Strawberry Feed on Thursday evening. A car, truck, bike and motorcycle show will take place on Friday evening in downtown Huntington. Saturday afternoon following the parade will bring the Fun Zone children’s activities also downtown.

A hot air balloon festival will continue through the weekend with a car show, bed race and balloon glow all on Saturday at Huntington North High School. A new activity to be held Saturday afternoon at Huntington University is a bike race.

Tours at the Historic Forks of the Wabash and tours/exhibits at the Huntington Historical Museum will also be a part of Saturday’s festivities. JeFFFest will take place on Sunday evening, June 19, in the center block of downtown completing the Heritage Days festivities.

Poor Jack’s Amusements will once again be the carnival of choice for 2015. Rides and activities will be located downtown from Wednesday, June 15 through Sunday, June 19. Streets involved with the carnival will close on Monday, June 15 at 5 p.m. to allow for set-up.

Heritage Days are coordinated by a Steering Committee of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce. For more information contact the Chamber at 356-5300 or visit the website at