The new year- 2020 brings in many once in a lifetime events for the Marion community. The bicentennial anniversary of Marion County is one of the most important. Here are the plans on how Marion County will celebrate this year-long commemoration.
A core aspect of the events will revolve around celebrating the history and development of the different communities throughout the county, with a series of homecoming-themed activities. Celebrating Our Communities – Homecoming 2020 will entail the city, villages, and communities of Marion County, and various other entities developing and implementing their own celebration activity. Homecoming 2020 is currently being developed by planning committees from the villages, the city, the Marion County Historical Society, the Harding Presidential Site, the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, schools, and other groups. A Bicentennial Steering Committee is providing coordination for the various groups that are working on these events and projects.
A significant part of the celebration will be the development of a series of four Legacy Projects which will have a continuing impact when the bicentennial celebrations are completed. Some are in development and some are close to completion.
One project that is nearing execution is Digitization Days, which will provide an opportunity for individuals to have a limited number of photographs, letters, diary entries, and other pieces scanned into digital format and given to them on a complimentary USB flash drive. The scanning will be conducted by a team of specially-trained volunteers who will offer a series of Digitization Days at various locations throughout the county and city. Funding and equipment for this project have been secured with the logistics still in planning.
Another Legacy Project is Capture the Living Past. First-person interviews with individuals from around the county will be recorded and preserved in the Marion County Historical Society archives. It focuses on those with a story from their daily lives and past experiences in areas such as education, family, work, religion and more. The focus will be on collecting information from 1950 to the present. Funding and equipment for this project have also been obtained.
The Marion200 Speaker Series Legacy Project will feature a series of presentations on the origin and development of various components of Marion County’s history with an emphasis on the “how” and “why”. Among the topics addressed will be agriculture, business, education, entertainment, health care, manufacturing, politics and personalities, religion, and sports. This will be kicked off with the first lecture on January 16 at Tri-Rivers Career Center Auditorium at 7:00 pm. The title is “Before It Was Marion County” presented by Dr. Brad Lepper, an archaeologist from the Ohio History Connection. These lectures are free to the public.
The Bicentennial Steering Committee has hopes to produce a broadcast-quality video to preserve the memories of these bicentennial events. If funding can be found, they will hire a professional video production company to capture the different activities throughout the year and compile the footage with additional materials into a narrated documentary. This project is the capstone effort of the bicentennial steering committee and still needs sponsorship.
Along with the four Legacy Projects, there are several additional activities including a time capsule, pop-up museums throughout the county; a music trail in downtown Marion featuring mechanical music machines (nickelodeons) in various businesses to name a few. These projects, along with the Homecoming 2020 events ensure that the Marion County Bicentennial will be a commemoration to remember.
For more information, or to become more involved with the projects contact Bicentennial Headquarters located in Heritage Hall at 169 E. Church Street in Marion by calling 740-387-4255, or emailing Marioncounty200th@gmail.com and look for social media in the near future.