Your Town Friday: Popular festival Hope Heritage Days attracts thousands of visitors to small town

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HOPE, Ind. — Hope is about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis in Bartholomew County and is home to the longest continual free rural mail delivery in America!

And that’s just one reason this town has it’s motto.

“As the sign says when you come into town, it’s a surprising little town,” said lifelong resident Chuck Caldwell.

Hope is home to about 2,200 people and this weekend its population will grow by at least ten times during the 52nd Annual Hope Heritage Days.

Hope was founded in 1830 by Martin Hauser and the high school is named after him.

“Everybody knows everybody, which is a good thing,” said Michael Dean. “And whether you like it when you’re young or not, it’s a good thing!”

The entire downtown district in Hope is on the Register of Historic Places.

Quilt squares hang outside most buildings on the town square.

“Small towns like this, and specifically Hope, have a fabric that holds everybody together,” said Dean.

Dean is the CEO of Heritage of Hope and remembers his very first day in town in 1990 because the Hope Heritage Days celebration was happening.

“I thought, where are all these people from because it’s a tiny little town and yet we boom to 30,000 over the weekend!”

We asked Chuck, who is the entertainment director for the festival, if he remembers his first.

“To be honest with you no! I was born here. I’ve lived here 52 years of my life and this is the 52nd Annual Hope Heritage Days so I honestly can’t remember a year without Heritage Days.”

Chuck works hard to make sure the entertainment is good for families. (Find the lineup here!)

Food sales last year raised more than $175,000 for local non-profits.

“The food that we sell here at the festival inside the square is prepared by those non-profits,” said Dean.

And the parade this tiny town puts on rivals some of the best around!

Hope Heritage Days kicks off Friday night at 5 p.m. on the town square. Saturday is jam packed and includes the Studebaker and Classic Car Show, live music and fireworks. And the parade is Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Click here for more on Hope Heritage Days!

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