Starke County will mark its place in Indiana history today when the state bicentennial torch comes through the county. Celebration coordinator Dave Pearman says the intent of the 92 county torch relay and yearlong observance is to have every Hoosier take part in the festivities. The torch will come up U.S. 35 from Pulaski into Starke County around 4:30 p.m. CDT and will be shepherded through 20 marked spots by prominent members of the community or their representatives.
He says while people can certainly line the route, the actual relay is a state event under incident command. The Indiana State Police will escort the torch, with support from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, North Judson and Knox Police Departments.
Pearman encourages spectators to focus instead on the celebration at Wythogan Park in downtown Knox and the portion of the route leading to the grand entrance.
“The torch will actually come to Culver Road and 300 East and sort of slow down a little bit. There will be some exchanges, and so that’s where we’d really like to see people if they really want to be part of the torch route itself, because it’s really not intended to be a parade,” Pearman explained. The torch will travel 300 East to the Yellow River and be placed in a canoe to make its entrance into Wythogan Park.
Pearman says the committee tried to incorporate as much of Starke County as possible in the route. It starts in Bass Lake, which is a treasure trove of local lore and travels across State Road 10 into North Judson. It will travel a portion of the trail and board an antique steam train, in honor of the town’s rich railroad heritage. From there it will go north out of town to Toto Road and the former Weinberg’s Store en route to Knox.
Pearman encourages those attending the celebration in Wythogan Park to arrive by 6 p.m. A special Fingerhut Bakery cake will be served, and the mobile Bicentennial Experience historical exhibit will be open for visitors. The new Starke County flag will also be unveiled.
Starke County is the 76th stop on the 92 county route. Find the complete Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay schedule here.