The Orleans Chamber of Commerce has announced plans in full swing for the upcoming 50th Annual Orleans Dogwood Festival. A special kick off planning meeting was held late last year with event chairpersons, sponsoring organizations and chamber representatives to officially begin planning for the event. 

The Dogwood 50 Planning Committee will meet again on January 22nd 7 p.m. at Orleans Town Hall to continue working out details for this year’s festivities.

Dates for the 50th anniversary of the celebration the blooming of the dogwood will be April 21-28. Chamber Executive Director Robert Henderson said the first Dogwood Festival was held in 1968 and began as a three day event. Orleans was officially proclaimed as “Indiana’s Dogwood Capital” by then Governor Ed Whitcomb in 1970. Since then the dogwood has become the trademark of Orleans. Henderson said he hopes the entire community will join in making this year’s homecoming event one of the best ever. “We hope to add a number of special anniversary activities throughout the festival’s run.”

New offerings will include a 50th Anniversary Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre for the last weekend.  A special Postmark celebrating “Indiana’s Dogwood Capital” will be offered along with other commemorate type souvenirs.  Organizers hope to bring back some festival favorites from the past such as the Dogwood Golf Scramble.

Festival organizers have announced the general theme for the celebration will be, “Celebrating the blossom for a season-Celebrating the memories for a lifetime.”

Chamber officials are calling for citizens past and present to assist in planting 50 new Dogwoods early this spring throughout the town to commemorate the occasion. Trees will be made available for purchase in advance. The original plantings of trees began in the mid to late 1960s by what was once known as “Operation Dogwood.”

Chamber representatives are hoping community members will come forward with memorabilia and memories from the past 50 years for a special historic display. Some of the items being sought include any good photos from early festivals, past queens, parades and souvenirs through the decades.

Kick off events will include a reunion of all former Dogwood Queens, past general chairpersons. Opening ceremonies will also include entertainment from some very special celebrity guests to be announced.

The 50th Annual Dogwood Parade will be held on April 28th 2 p.m. and will include a number of anniversary surprises. The civic and business community are being encouraged to participate in the Golden Anniversary Celebration by entering and participating the Parade this year.

To stay up the latest Dogwood news visit