On July 4, 1894, Elwood Haynes hit the road, with Elmer Apperson as a passenger, and test-drove his first car at 7 miles per hour. As a celebration of Haynes and the Apperson brothers, Elmer and Edgar's, historic automotive work, the Haynes Apperson Festival was born.
Celebrating of the 125th year since Haynes took that drive, the 2019 Haynes Apperson Festival will be July 4 through July 6 in Foster Park, action-packed with festivities for the whole family.
The three-day festival has live music, vendors, food, car shows, a historical exhibit, carnival rides and more, Paul Wyman, chairman of the festival's board and who has been involved with the festival since 2003, said.
"We're really excited about this year, not only because it's the 125th anniversary but also because it's that time of year where the whole community gathers together to celebrate Kokomo and Howard County," he said. "It's actually just a really special time."
"We have some big names in music coming this year," he said. "We've really covered the '70s, '80s and '90s with Quiet Riot, Spin Doctors and The Marshall Tucker Band."
The History on Wheels exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County. There are many sponsors for the festival, including the City of Kokomo, Center Township of Howard County, Haynes International, Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and NIPSCO.
"We have so many great partners, and without them we couldn't make any of this happen," Wyman said. "The Community Foundation really stepped up with the grant we were awarded to allow us the History of Wheels exhibit. There's such an incredibly rich history of automobiles right here in Kokomo, and it couldn't be more fitting that we have an exhibit of that history, on wheels."
The exhibit is new to this year's festival, Gary Loveless, secretary of the Howard County Automotive Heritage Hall of Fame, which spearheaded the History on Wheels exhibit, said.
"We try to add something significant each year that brings attention to our automotive history," he said. "The History on Wheels exhibit talks about the automotive history in Indiana, and it features Elwood Haynes and the Apperson brothers."
The festival begins on Thursday with the traditional Commemorative Run, a caravan of vintage vehicles that drive along a history-packed route through Kokomo before arriving at Foster Park. The ribbon cutting, both for the historical exhibit and to officially begin the festival, will be at 5:30 p.m., Loveless said.
Picking a favorite part of the festival was tough for Wyman, who had to think on it for a moment. He finally landed on Saturday as a whole.
"Saturday is a great day all around," he said. "We've got the parade, our headliner [The Marshall Tucker Band], fireworks. It's an incredible day."
It's a three day festival, something for everyone, music, vendors, rides, games, car shows every day, fireworks. It's an all-inclusive event.
"This festival takes year-long planning," Wyman said. "I couldn't be more appreciative of all our board members and all the volunteers that work year in and out to make this happen. I'm truly indebted to them."
It's not too late to volunteer at this year's festival. Contact Brianne Boles for more information at 765-437-5785 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 Haynes-Apperson Festival Schedule
July 4th, 5 to 11 p.m.
- 3:30 p.m. Lineup for Commemorative Run
- 5 p.m. Leaving Church for the Kickoff off Commemorative Run ending at Foster Park
- 6 to 9 p.m. Pioneer Auto Club Cruise-in
- 5 to 11 p.m. Carnival Rides
- 6 p.m. Stage Show featuring Quiet Riot
- July 5th 4 to 11 p.m.
- Sports Festival begins (visit haynesappersonfestival.org/attractions/sports-festival for full schedule)
- 5 to 11 p.m. Carnival Rides
- 6 p.m. Stage Show featuring Spin Doctors
Saturday July 6th noon to 11 p.m.
- 8 a.m. Sports Festival begins (visit haynesappersonfestival.org/attractions/sports-festival for full schedule)
- Noon to 5 p.m. Carnival Rides
- Noon to 5 p.m. 45th Annual Haynes Apperson Car Show
- Noon: Parade check-in and lineup
- 2 p.m. Parade downtown on Main St.
- 6:30 p.m. Opening act featuring The Marshall Tucker Band
- 10 p.m. Fireworks show in the park
Visit www.haynesappersonfestival.org for more information. VIP tickets for headlining show are still available.
No pets allowed, the festival is a smoke-free event, handicap parking is available on the Lower Lot, South of the Fire Station on Washington St.