ANDERSON – The 101st annual Markleville Jamboree kicks off at 4 p.m. today with the North Christian Church dinner and concludes at noon on Sunday with a community church service.
The jamboree celebrates small-town life and attempts to bring the community of Markleville, and Madison County as a whole, together to enjoy summer fun and warm weather.
“In today’s world everybody is busy, and many people don’t know their neighbors,” Markleville Park Board President Wayne Fox said. “This is an opportunity for people to come out and socialize with old friends and meet new people, so we hope residents take advantage of it.”
This year’s jamboree has a major change from previous years. Formerly, jamborees ran from Wednesday through Saturday with the community church service on Sunday.
This year, Wednesday has been cut from the schedule, shrinking the event to three days plus the Sunday service.
The four-day event was a tough commitment for vendors to make and also faced other issues. “Last year on Wednesday we didn’t have a lot of people, and so we thought we would pack more events into three days instead of spreading them out over four days,” Fox said.
Highlights of the jamboree include tonight’s baby, junior prince, and junior princess contest; Friday’s sorority chicken noodles dinner; Saturday’s tractor pull; and the laser show on Friday and Saturday nights.
The baby, junior prince, and junior princess contest serves as the main source of revenue for the event, which is free to the public and offers free parking. The contest features coffee cans entered by parents with pictures of their children and jamboree attendees can walk by and put a few dollars in the can of their favorite.
Due to event sponsors who contributed $1,400 to the jamboree and the town of Markleville, admission was able to remain free.
Event organizers are also excited about a few additions to this week’s jamboree. The town funded a zipline that will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and will cost $3 per ride or $10 for four rides.
Additionally, the laser show will happen on Friday instead of Saturday night. Each night will be a different show. “We were really excited about the laser show last year, and we had a good turnout,” Fox said. “People really enjoyed it. It’s really cool and something different.”
Event organizers expect attendance to peak at approximately 300 people at Friday’s sorority dinner, which is “pretty much everyone in the town,” according to Fox.
The Markleville Jamboree runs through Aug. 4 at Markleville Community Park on Indiana 38. A full schedule of events can be found online on the events page at www.townofmarkleville.us.
If You Go What: 101st Markleville Jamboree When: Aug. 1-4 Where: Markleville Community Park, Markleville Cost: Free admission, free parking For a full list of events visit www.townofmarkleville.us