Alabama bicentennial enters its final year of celebration

Alabama bicentennial enters its final year of celebration
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey holds up a Coca-Cola bottle commemorating the state's bicentennial. (Hal Yeager/Governor's Office)

Alabama has one year left to mark its 200 years as a state.

Gov. Kay Ivey launched the year of Alabama’s bicentennial at the Alabama State Capitol Friday, saying it will be a year to celebrate and educate.

“We have an opportunity in front of us, and just as Alabamians have done for the past 199 years, we will make the most of that opportunity,” she said. “Alabama is defined by its people. It’s that simple.  As we near our state’s bicentennial, we recognize that our story of success is told by our people. And that is who we are celebrating: the Alabamians who got us here, all the men and women across our state today and the future generations of Alabamians who will help take us to even greater heights.”

Alabama turns 199 years old, continues bicentennial celebration from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Children from Pell City’s Eden Elementary joined Ivey and Alabama Sen. Arthur Orr, chairman of the Alabama Bicentennial Committee, in previewing some of the more than 400 bicentennial events that will take place, culminating one year from today, Dec. 24, 2019, in Montgomery.

Two hundred schools across the state have been selected as Alabama Bicentennial Schools and are participating in bicentennial projects.

The build-up leading up to this last year has been taking place for the past two years with public information and education campaigns and initiatives such as the “This Day in Alabama History” feature on Alabama NewsCenter and the “Alabama Legacy Moments” produced by Alabama Public Television.

Over the next year hundreds of public events are planned. But Orr said the bicentennial celebration is also having a huge but more subtle impact on Alabama, from its largest cities to its smallest communities.

“It’s not just celebrations and festivals,” Orr said. “It’s almost impossible to estimate how many thousands of Alabamians are learning more about the state’s history through touring exhibitions, the journeys they are making using the Alabama PastPort book and app, or through the thousand teachers who will have been instructed on ways to teach Alabama history by the end of the bicentennial.”

Coca-Cola was on hand Friday to introduce its Alabama Bicentennial Commemorative bottle at the event. Children had their pictures made with Coca-Cola’s famous polar bear icon before the press conference began.

During the next 365 days, 225 cities, towns and communities across the state will hold more than 400 events, including everything from celebrating the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s role in landing a man on the moon to revealing a replica that will show modern Alabamians for the first time what the state’s first capitol looked like in Old Cahawba.

There will be a release of a U.S. Postal Service Alabama Bicentennial forever stamp, special concerts throughout the state, a Native American bicentennial event in Moundville, the opening of Huntsville’s newly renovated Constitution Village, a tour involving Alabama’s most important documents, events honoring Alabama veterans and the culmination of the year-long celebration in Montgomery with the dedication of the Bicentennial Park in front of the Capitol.

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