Madison Bicentennial

Planning under way for town’s
year-long celebration in 2009

History book, re-enactments,
contests are part of the plans

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(January 2008) – In 2009, the city of Madison, Ind., will celebrate its bicentennial anniversary. The city, which has 133 downtown blocks designated as a National Historic Landmark District, is planning a year-long birthday celebration.

Madison Bicentennial Logo

The Madison Bicentennial Planning Committee, with representatives from multiple organizations and groups in the city, has already begun planning for the event. Vice Chairperson Jan Vetrhus will take over as chairperson at the start of 2008. Betsey Vonderheide, the former special projects coordinator for the city under outgoing Mayor Al Huntington, resigned from the committee.
“We have a very creative community,” Vetrhus said. “The ideas coming in to our advisory board are just amazing.”
At this point, she said a “wish list” of possible activities is being comprised, including a historic train excursion, a Madison film festival, a photo contest and historic re-enactments.
Curt Jacobs, the publicity and promotions chairperson, said a winner has been selected for the logo contest. Madison resident Troy Seel created the winning logo, which will be used for various promotional opportunities for the bicentennial celebration. Seel’s entry was the best of about 10 other entries. “We had several really good entries,” Jacobs said. “There was a lot of thought put into this.”
Camille Fife, the chairperson for the history subcommittee, said her committee is working to develop a series of historical characters for biographical re-enactments. “We are currently researching and working on the list,” she said. Currently, the list includes people such as John Paul, one of the city’s founders, and Delia Webster, an anti-slavery activist. About a dozen or more character performances will be scheduled throughout the bicentennial year at various places, such as schools.

Jan Vetrhus

‘The ideas
coming to our
board are
just amazing.’

– Jan Vetrhus, Committee Chairperson

The history group is also working on a coffee table book of Madison history. “It will be a souvenir book in honor of the bicentennial anniversary,” said Fife.
Vetrhus said the schools committee has been hard at work under the leadership of committee chair Susan Ohlendorf. Recently, there was a model float contest held at the Madison Consolidated High School. Huntington and Vetrhus judged the entries and picked the winning model. That model will be turned into a large float to be displayed during the 2008 Regatta Parade.
“The schools committee has created a whole list of fun things to do,” said Vetrhus. “They have even commissioned a bicentennial musical.”
The Madison Main Street Program has taken the lead in planning a 200-hour birthday bash, scheduled for June 6-14, 2009. During that event, there will be contests, races, a courthouse carnival, music, entertainment and many other activities.
The Jefferson County Historical Society and Madison Railroad are in preliminary talks about a two-hour historic excursion train ride, which will include guides in historic costumes.
RoundAbout Madison has been tapped to organize and sponsor a photography contest. Details on the contest are still be developed.
The Madison Art Club is planning several activities, and the Ohio Theater is working on a “Madison in Film” Festival. “We just have so much to do,” said Vetrhus. “We will be kicking into high gear in the coming months.”
She asked that other organizations and event planners who are working on their 2009 events try to salute the city’s bicentennial. “If other planners could put a bicentennial twist on their activities, that would be wonderful,” she said.

• For more information, call Madison City Hall at (812) 265-8300.

Back to January 2008 Articles.



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