ALEXANDRIA – It was 1943 when the United States Department of Defense issued a booklet called simply “Small Town, U.S.A.” The cover depicted a sleepy, tree-lined street with a few kids riding bikes. Inside the pages of the booklet was a close-up look at the life, values and people of Alexandria, Ind. The propaganda piece was distributed during World War II, putting a likable face on the U.S. with this close-up of what was deemed to be the typical American town.
Alexandria celebrates that heritage and small-town flavor next weekend with its Small Town USA Festival. This year will mark the 26th annual event. The activities run from Oct. 4 through 6 in Beulah Park, along Indiana 9, in Alexandria. The weekend showcases entertainment, food, crafts, classic cars, contests, rummage sale and more.
“It’s going to be an exciting weekend here in Alexandria,” said Jeff Bryan, executive director of the Alexandria-Monroe Chamber of Commerce. “We’ll have a lot going on.”
The festival brings back popular traditions, but this year’s event will feature a few new attractions. Among those new treats is the Fastest Foot-Long Eating contest sponsored by Alexandria Subway. That happens Friday at 7 p.m., shortly after the festival gets underway with opening ceremonies featuring the crowning of the festival’s Ladd and Lassie.
Saturday for the first time features the Junk in the Trunk Rummage Sale, where participants will just drive in and park their loaded vehicles.
“You just sell out of the back of your vehicle,” said Don Ingram, general chairman of this year’s festival. Fees are $5 per car or $10 for a truck or van.
Also new this year is the first ever Vintage Toy and Train Show in the 4-H building on Saturday (see related story).
Saturday evening’s Zombie Prom is designed to draw out the young people, and expect them to be dressed for the occasion. Disc jockey Kevin Carney from Alexandria’s own RevolRadio will spin the tunes.