INDIANAPOLIS — More than 2,000 Hoosiers will represent their communities during Indiana’s Bicentennial Torch Relay, set for this fall.
The names were revealed today, Wednesday, June 29, during a special ceremony at the statehouse in Indianapolis. Friends, family and neighbors nominated people they felt most deserved the honor. It was then up to local committees to choose the final list for each county.
Approximately 4,000 people were nominated. These were narrowed by approximately half. Kosciusko County will have 22 torchbearers out of 70 nominees.
The torch will travel from torchbearer to torchbearer and will make an appearance in all 92 counties. It will cover roughly 3,200 miles between Friday, Sept. 9, and Friday, Oct. 15, when it will return to Indianapolis for a celebration at the statehouse.
Three of Kosciusko County’s torchbearers, Mike Kissinger, Cathy Lemberg and Carolyn Baker, attended the event. Kissinger spoke with Ink Free News about the experience from his perspective and finding out about his nomination as a torchbearer.
“It certainly was pretty humbling,” he said. “And it kind of caught me off guard, but I was really excited about it.”
Kissinger noted the event included a few words from Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb and officials from the state tourism office. Also revealed was the Subaru Outback that will serve as the official transportation of the Bicentennial relay.
Committee members from the various counties also received recognition. Kissinger expressed appreciation for Kosciusko County’s Bicentennial Committee and Diane Wulliman.
“Diane has done just a tremendous job and works her tail off and I wish she could have been there to be recognized,” he said.
Wednesday’s festivities also included an unveiling of the official uniform that each torchbearer will wear during his or her leg of the relay. Many communities will host celebrations as the torch passes through. The Kosciusko County Bicentennial Committee is planning a festival at the Kosciusko County fairgrounds the weekend of the relay. Syracuse will also have a barbecue the day of the relay as the torch prepares to leave the county for the next part of its journey.
Though the Bicentennial torch relay is modeled after the Olympic torch relay, it will have its own Indiana spin. Torchbearers will not simply walk or run; they will carry the torch on tractors, boats, horse-drawn wagons, antique cars, race cars and other modes of transportation.
The torch, designed and assembled at Purdue University, will be high-tech and will include such features as GPS tracking and cameras so torchbearers can document milestones along the way.