Osceola celebrates its 100th birthday

The 28th Annual Osceola Bluegrass Festival is a big celebration in the small town of Osceola.  But, it has greater significance this year as Osceola celebrates it’s 100th birthday.  Osceola was incorporated as a town in 1911. 

Still, the main attraction, as always, is the music.

"We have the whole spectrum of the bluegrass genre here on stage,” explained Tom Krueger, the festivals chairman.

Krueger has been running the festival for 17 years and he makes it a point to keep it simple and not make too many changes.

"It's all about keeping it the same, not bigger and better, not new and improved,” Krueger explained.  “We're out to put on a great show with good music, a family environment, not real fancy this isn't no 4-H fair this is Osceola."

But, there will be one addition this year.  A centennial celebration tent has been setup with magicians, Elvis impersonators, a play about Osceola and a host of other family activities to ring in Osceola’s birthday.

"Everybody is definitely in the spirit, you know in the 100th anniversary and our bluegrass," Krueger described.

The tent is manned by volunteers from the town who wanted to help celebrate their town.

"Osceola is a great little town, you blow right by it between Elkhart and Mishawaka and you don't really pay attention to it," explained Esther Bradley, a volunteer at the centennial tent.

Across the festival there is a feeling of pride for the small town that is sometimes forgotten.

"Close knit family is really what we are here," explained Steve Gill who operates a booth at the festival.

Gill is the manager of DC Meats, a business that's been in Osceola since 1957.  He says he’s seen a lot of changes as the town has grown.  But, thankfully it’s kept the charm that makes he and others love it.

"I think it's the people really,” Gill explained.  “It’s a close knit community."

The people are what most of the festival attendees said makes Osceola what it is.

"Everybody knows everybody and everybody gets along, it's a nice little town," explained Esther Bradley.

Chairman Tom Krueger says it’s that quality that motivates him to run the bluegrass festival the way he does.

"It's small town America, it's a slice of small town.  That's what Osceola is," Krueger explained.

The festival and the centennial celebration continue all weekend.  Krueger says throughout the weekend they usually see 10,000 people stop by the festival.  All events are free to the public.

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