Huntington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2689 is 2018 Heritage Days sponsor

The Huntington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2689 has been named as the official sponsor of the 2018 Heritage Days Festival, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce has announced.

The festival will run Wednesday, June 20, through Sunday, June 24, with the theme being “The 50s: Community Strong.”

VFW Post 2689 is very community-minded according to Post Commander Michael Harrell. They are very active in the community and would like to be even more involved according to Rodney Funk, past state commander and now post advocate. Chamber Executive Director Steve Kimmel says those involved with the VFW appreciate all of the community support they received for the Veterans Day activities this past November, including the well-attended parade and ceremony following at the Veterans Park at Memorial Park. Post 2689 is sponsoring Heritage Days 2018 as a way of giving back and saying “thank you” to the community.

The Huntington Post was granted a National Veterans of Foreign Wars Charter on Sept. 18, 1932. The organizational group consisted of Earl F. Moore, Emery P. Smith, L. Wade Strauss and Lawrence Allen. It was officially named the Edward Hoover Post 2689 with 62 charter members.

Post 2689, located at 220 W. Park Drive, Huntington, offers many services to veterans and the community. Members are involved with Veterans Day and the parade each year, they donate winter coats to veterans at the Marion VA Hospital, march in the Heritage Days Parade, provide events for the community such as the Sweetheart Dance and Halloween Party and are responsible for Memorial Day services and Buddy Poppies. The Post also presents the colors at various events, provides gun salutes and flag presentations for the families of deceased veterans and gives Patriots Pen Awards to students.

This year’s festival theme depicts life in the 1950s in Huntington, a family-oriented time where much of the city’s activities took place in the main business district. The principal business district extended north and south with Jefferson Street as the main thoroughfare and included the adjoining streets. The Community Gym, located in the former Central Elementary Sc-hool, was the location of many countywide events including basketball tournaments, dances, sock hops and concerts. Cruising through town in a ’50s automobile was also a popular way to connect with friends.

The Heritage Days 2018 button depicts the former YMCA, which was located at the corner of Warren and Washington streets. The YMCA was considered the community center of the 1950s in Huntington, according to a Newcomers Guide from 1951. It was the main location for youth activities and its facilities were used by many organized civic, social and religious groups of the city and county. The Swing Inn Club was located in the lower level of the “Y” and boasted a membership of 500 high school boys and girls. In 1951 a countywide learn to swim campaign was promoted for the first time with 372 boys and girls participating.

The Heritage Days Parade will be held Saturday, June 23, beginning at 10 a.m. The theme can be carried through on parade entries in the form of local depictions of the 1950s. A special representation from the previous 15 township schools is planned. Those interested in this special 2018 part of the parade should contact the Chamber. There is a 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, June 21, and the annual Rotary Strawberry Feed on Thursday evening. A car, truck, bike and motorcycle show will take place Friday evening, June 22, in downtown Huntington. A sock hop, to be held at the intersection of Franklin and Jefferson streets, featuring “The Moon Cats” will also be a part of the evening, sponsored by Lake City Bank.

Saturday afternoon following the parade will bring the Fun Zone children’s activities to downtown. A hot air balloon festival, a car show and balloon glow will all take place Saturday, June 23, beginning at 3 p.m. at Huntington North High School. Food vendors will be on site.

Tours at the Historic Forks of the Wabash and tours/exhibits at the Huntington County Historical Museum will also be a part of the weekend. The Izaak Walton League will offer children the opportunity to participate in the second annual bear hunt on their grounds on Sunday, June 24. JeFFFest will also take place on Sunday evening, June 24, in the center block of downtown, completing the Heritage Days festivities.

Poor Jack’s Amusements will once again be the carnival of choice for 2018. Rides and activities will be located in the Cherry Street area from Wednesday, June 20, through Sunday, June 24. Streets involved with the carnival will close on Monday, June 18, 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