Planning ahead

Committee formed to oversee
Madison’s 200th celebration

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(February 2007) – Madison, Ind., will celebrate its 200th birthday in 2009. To get ready for the momentous occasion, a bicentennial steering committee has been formed to look at ways in which the city can commemorate the big anniversary with special community events.
Betsey Vonderheide and Jan Vetrhus have been selected to co-chair the committee. Other members include Curt Jacobs for promotion and publicity; Julia Barber for finance and budget; Matt Forrester and Mary Davee for fundraising; Jim Grant for programs and special events; Susan Ohlendorf for schools; and Marci Jones for volunteer coordination. Amy Browning of Mayor Al Huntington’s office will manage the calendar and scheduling of events.
Vonderheide said the first order of business will be to have a website and logo for the celebration in place within the next six months. She said a community-wide logo contest will soon be held with the winner possibly receiving a $200 prize. The logo will be incorporated into all the written material, the website and the products of the celebration.
The committee hopes that all groups, organizations and festivals in Madison will incorporate the birthday celebration into their regular events for 2009. Vonderheide said a letter of request is being sent to those groups that the committee knows how to contact.
She also said the city is planning several special events throughout the year and will need community groups to assume the responsibility for the management of them.
She said an example of such events could include a photography contest, a parade, a bicentennial cookbook contest or even performing arts events. One event many have suggested would be to do some type of period dress with period activities along a section of Main Street, including food vendors and entertainment. She has even suggested that local restaurants name a dish for a person or event in Madison history as a way to support the city’s bicentennial.
Vonderheide has applied for a $150,000 grant, which the city would have to match, from the Preserve America Foundation for community plays specific to Madison history. Those plays would be performed throughout the bicentennial and continue afterwards as well.
“Our city is rich in unique history, with the Underground Railroad, Jenny Lind, the Civil War, and so many other events and people, we really need to celebrate this,” Vonderheide said.
Grant said they are in the earliest planning stages and have received many requests and ideas. All ideas for events are welcome and encouraged, he said.

• Anyone who wants to participate in the planning of the event should contact the appropriate chairperson or Marci Jones at the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Center at (812) 265-2956.

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