TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — It was a celebration of all things Indiana as the Indiana Bicentennial torch made the journey through Tippecanoe County Wednesday.
It all started with a kickoff program at Loeb Stadium. That’s where the torch began its journey – exchanging through the hands of 55 torch bearers throughout the county.
“We’re relatively young,” said Lafayette resident Barbara Strasburger. “Indiana is a relatively young state compared to some, but we’ve made a lot of progress in 200 years.”
The torch was taken through Lafayette to Purdue firefighter Brad Anderson, who was standing in for EMA director Smokey Anderson. Brad Anderson rappelled from the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge down to former Tippecanoe County Historical Association director Kathy Atwell, who was waiting to cross the Wabash River in a canoe.
“Just the honor of being chosen was just so thrilling,” Atwell said. “Then to be able to be the one who gets to ride on the canoe on the river was lots of fun.”
Atwell carried the torch as the canoe crossed into West Lafayette.
Then it was onto Purdue’s campus where Purdue President Mitch Daniels had his run around the Memorial Mall. The torch eventually ended up at Armstrong Hall in the hands of former astronaut David Wolf, who met up with the students and faculty who helped design the torch.
After more than 50 people passed the torch, its final stop was made at Klondike Elementary School.
Students waited anxiously to see the once-in-a-lifetime moment.
“They’re just really excited,” said Klondike Elementary teacher Arielle Mucha. “It’s motivating to me and to them to want to know more. They get to see it here, right in front of their school, first hand.”
Former Indiana teacher of the year Kathy Nimmer made the final handoff.
Although Tippecanoe County played a small role in the 3,200-mile torch relay, it left a lasting impression.
“It’s just been so much fun, you know, seeing the crowds,” explained Strasburger. “I was really amazed to see all the people who’ve come out to support it.”
After Tippecanoe County’s relay, the torch went through Warren and Fountain counties.
For a full schedule of the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay, click here.