Bicentennial plans now combine county and city

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Plans for London’s bicentennial celebration in 2011 have taken on a broader scope. Now, the festivities will start in 2010 to also commemorate Madison County’s bicentennial year.

The steering committee in charge of planning the combined celebration includes London Mayor David Eades and London area residents Charlie Fisher, Marie Lorz, Elmer Olsen, Dina Pierce, Sheri Spahn, John Stahl and Grace Yerian.

The group began meeting last spring to plan London’s bicentennial; they took on the county component last month after receiving the go-ahead from the Madison County commissioners.

The committee aims to inspire interest among leaders of the county’s 14 townships in order to create a county-wide celebration similar to the one held in 1911 for the centennial, said committee member Dina Pierce.

The group shared their ideas at the Jan. 14 Madison County Townships Association meeting. Commissioner Chris Snyder is serving as the liaison between the townships and the steering committee.

“We’d like to emphasize inclusivity.  We’d like everyone to participate,” Pierce said.

To promote unity and acquire universal opinion, the committee will hold an open meeting to generate ideas for the celebration at 9 a.m. Jan. 26 in London City Council chambers.

“We want you to tell us what you want to do locally… That’s up to you,” said committee member Marie Lorz to the township representatives. “We have many ideas from former celebrations.”

The 1911 centennial celebration, held in honor of Madison County and the City of London, included concerts, parades, exhibits, themed festival days, and prominent speakers. Though “nothing is set in stone,” according to Lorz, much of the upcoming celebration will find inspiration from the past.

Additional help in planning will come from the steering committee’s entertain-ment, publicity and finance subcom-mittees. Each expects to draw funds for the celebration from the city and county, as well as local businesses and organizations through donations. Any other necessary funding will come from fundraising.

In addition to township and county government involvement, the steering committee is working to include churches, civic organizations, schools, libraries, artists groups, the Madison County Historical Society, the Madison County Senior Center and other groups in the planning process over the next three years.

“Several individuals also have come forward to volunteer to be part of this,” Lorz said.

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