‘200 Years of Tradition’: City celebrates bicentennial with July 4 festivities, honors educator as grand marshal
By Sadie Hunter
The City of Noblesville announced April 26 the Noblesville Fireworks Festival Committee’s choice for the 2016 parade’s grand marshal is Bruce Hitchcock.
Hitchcock was a long-time educator for Noblesville Schools, teaching American history, government and politics, along with coaching football, baseball, track, basketball and golf.
“I am very pleased to have been thought of in that regard and named by the committee and the mayor,” Hitchcock said. “Very surprising. Totally unexpected, but (I’m) very honored and very gratified.”
Beginning his career in Noblesville Schools in 1969, Hitchcock spent 10 years teaching at Noblesville Junior High School, during which he also coached and served as athletic director, before moving to Noblesville High School, where he spent the rest of his 42-year career.
“I am very pleased to have been able to spend an entire career with Noblesville Schools. I would always like to be remembered foremost as an instructor,” Hitchcock said. “At the high school, the last 20 to 25 years was (spent teaching) United States history, government, international relations and urban problems and solutions.”
A shining point in Hitchcock’s career includes his more than 60 trips to Washington D.C. with high school students. As part of their involvement with the Washington Workshops Congressional Seminar, Hitchcock helped more than 500 NHS students with an opportunity to work in Congressman Dan Burton’s office and internships with the JFK Assassination Records Review Board, for which many NHS students’ names are recorded in the final report at the U.S. National Archives. NHS also was mentioned and recorded for its assistance with work done in the final report given to former President Bill Clinton.
At the time he began teaching at the high school, it was in the current Ivy Tech of Hamilton County Campus and former site of Noblesville East Middle School. The high school moved to its current spot in 1996.
“Tremendous growth, both in the size of the school corporation and the size and expanse of the city,” Hitchcock said, who has spent the bulk of his life living in Noblesville. “It’s very comfortable here. I love the people. I’ve had no reason to consider moving, after retirement, anywhere else.”
Since retirement, Hitchcock says he still keeps up with his passion for government and politics and continues to visit Washington D.C. up to three times each year.
“Several former students are in D.C., so it gives me a chance not only to visit the city again, but to catch up with them,” said Hitchcock, who said he has worked polling sites but has never run for office or been involved in a campaign.
Keep an eye out for Hitchcock, as he will ride towards the front of the downtown parade, which begins at 5 p.m. at 16th and Harrison Streets.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BRUCE HITCHCOCK
Education: Graduated from Monroe Central High School in 1965. Graduated from Ball State University in 1969 and again in 1979 with his master’s degree. Student taught at Winchester High School in Winchester, Ind.
Career: Got his first teaching job at Noblesville Junior High School in the fall of 1969. Moved to teaching at Noblesville High School in 1976. Retired from Noblesville Schools in 2011.
Recognition: Was recognized by former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2011 with a Distinguished Hoosier Award.
Residences: Grew up on a farm in Randolph County, between Parker City and Farmland, Ind., before moving to Muncie for college and then Noblesville for his first teaching job, where he still resides.
Enjoy the festivities
The Noblesville Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Festival will return this year with a theme of “200 Years of Tradition – Indiana’s Bicentennial.”
The parade – coordinated by Noblesville Main Street and hosting local organizations, churches, bands, businesses and more – will begin at 5 p.m. at 16th and Harrison Streets in downtown Noblesville, making its way down 16th, Logan, Ninth and Monument Streets before ending at 16th and Monument Streets.
Entry forms to be in the parade are still being accepted. Registration is $20, and forms can be found at noblesvillemainstreet.org.
Per tradition, the community is invited to continue to celebrate the holiday on the grounds of Noblesville High School, 18111 Cumberland Rd.
From 6 to 10 p.m., the community will gather there for games and activities for all ages, including balloon artists, face painters, carnival games, inflatables, a mini racecar simulator, Noblesville Parks’ Rec2Go van, an instant photo booth and more. Food vendors also will be on site, but guests are welcome to pack food as well.
The event also will host live music from Dave & Rae from 7 to 10 p.m. Animalia animal shows will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Topping off the evening will be the fireworks, beginning at approximately 10 p.m.
All activities and entertainment are free to attendees. Sparklers, fireworks, alcohol and smoking are not allowed on school grounds. For more, visit NoblesvilleFireworksFestival.com, or call 317-776-6367.
- 4 p.m. – Parade check-in begins at 16th and Harrison Streets.
- 5 p.m. – Parade begins, ending at 16th and Monument Streets.
- 6 p.m. – Fourth of July Festival begins at the Noblesville High School Campus, 18111 Cumberland Road.
- 10 p.m. – Festival ends. Fireworks begin.
WANT TO VOLUNTEER?
The Noblesville Fireworks Festival Committee says the biggest challenge they face each year is finding enough volunteers to staff the festival and parade. Anyone interested in volunteering will receive a free meal voucher. Volunteer shifts run from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., 5:30 to 8 p.m. and 7:30 to 10 p.m., with opportunities to assist in setup, monitoring the kids’ activities and more.
Some organizations can earn an in-kind trade of discounted rates for facility rentals. Organizations volunteering with at least 10 volunteers and reaching 20 hours of service can earn a free, four-hour court or shelter rental.
To volunteer, or for more information, contact email@example.com, or call 317-770-5750.