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County to participate in state celebration

Everybody loves a birthday party and preparations are under way for one of the biggest our state has experienced over the past 200 years.

Alabama will turn 200 in 2019 and the state, in conjunction with all 67 counties, is throwing a birthday bash that will last for the next three years.

Gov. Robert Bentley and the Alabama Legislature have established the Alabama Bicentennial Commission to promote and coordinate activities across the state.

The party will kick off in March of 2017 and that year will feature the places in Alabama, followed by 2018 featuring the people of Alabama and continue to the finale in 2019 with the stories of Alabama. The celebration will culminate on Dec. 14, 2019, the 200th year since Alabama became the 22nd state. Carved out of the Mississippi Territory, it brought a wealth of natural and human resources to the nation.

A combination of members of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama Department of Tourism and Alabama State Department of Education are working together with representatives of each county and other organizations to bring many activities together The Alabama Bicentennial Commission has been organized to coordinate all of the organizations.

At the last Escambia County Historical Society meeting, a representative of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission spoke about upcoming events and what each individual can do to promote his/her county. According to Jay Lamar, Escambia County has a wealth of facilities and eager helpers to help make for a good representation.

“You have a wonderful facility with Thomas E. McMillon Museum and the Alabama Room archives here in Brewton,” Lamar said. “I just wish we had something like this in every county.”

The commission has established committees to focus on three major areas.

The Statewide Initiatives Committee will help to plan and support projects such as traveling exhibitions, publications, documentaries and statewide commemorations.

The Local Activities Committee will work with towns and communities to develop local history projects and programs. The third program is to develop educational projects to promote history education in Alabama schools.

The commission will begin active programs in 2017 and will follow the events from the creation of the Alabama Territory in 1817 to the actual bicentennial date on Dec. 14, 2019.

No celebration would be complete without birthday cake and fireworks and there will be a central birthday party in Montgomery with each county celebrating in its own way.

Several members of the Escambia County Historical Society have already signed up to work on a county level. There will be room for everyone to play a part and all who wish to join in the celebration should let the committee know through contact with Don Sales with the Society at 809-1528.