Festival History

Lanesville Heritage Weekend was first celebrated in 1976 and originally founded as the Lanesville Bicentennial Celebration for our great nation’s Bicentennial year. The Lanesville High School Chapter of FHA decided that they wanted to organize a Bicentennial Celebration. FHA Advisor, Linda Steder and Student Council Advisor, John Richert, sat down to begin discussion plans. It was immediately evident that the festival would take a lot of resources to successfully put on a festival with all the activities on their wish list. LHW founding President Richert, sat down with community leaders, churches and civic organizations to discuss how Lanesville could start a festival.

It was decided that the community wished to create an annual festival whose goal would be to celebrate the farming heritage of the Lanesville, Indiana community. The first festival was celebrated on May 14 – 16, 1976. Activities included Queen Contest, Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus Performance, Parade, Baseball Tournament, Street Dance with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Speech Contest and Talent Show. From that year, activities have grown and Lanesville Heritage Weekend was started. OVER FOUR DECADES later, Lanesville Heritage Weekend has grown to what we see today, with 75,000 patrons annually. Lanesville and surrounding communities come together each September to celebrate the great heritage of our small farm town founded in 1807.

A focal point of our festival is the Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn located on the east end of Lanesville along the Scenic Ohio River Byway. The Mail Pouch Barn and surrounding land was acquired by the Lanesville Heritage Committee in 1989, from Bob Schellenberger. In 1993 the Heritage Committee decided to do a major repainting project and located the last living Mail Pouch Barn painter living in Ohio. His name was Harley Warrick. Harley had recently recovered from a major cancer battle and agreed to spend a week in Lanesville to lead the repainting project.

In 2009, the Lanesville Heritage Committee decided that a major renovation of the Mail Pouch Barn was required. A grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation help fund the renovation. Support beams and sills were repaired or replaced. The committee sought bids from a number of professional historic barn restoration companies. Indiana Log Crafters, an Indiana company specializing in old barn restorations, was selected for the project. The barn siding was completely replaced with western red cedar lumber from California, because of its long durability. Many coats of primer and special paint were used. With the help of video tapes from the 1993 barn repainting project by Harley Warrick, the barn restorer was able to bring the refurbished barn back to the exact original paint scheme using the techniques documented from the 1993 repainting project. The Heritage Mail Pouch Barn will be a land mark that will last for many generations to come.

In 2016, the Mail Pouch barn was registered as one of the official barns for the Indiana’s Bicentennial.