(ORLEANS) - Members of the Orleans Bicentennial Planning Committee are meeting monthly to explore ideas and develop activities for the town's 200th anniversary.
The group has developed a website - www.orleans200.org - for residents to see what the committee is planning.
Committee members expressed appreciation to Randy Clark and Helix Technologies for creating and hosting the website at no charge.
Cathy Hardin shared on behalf of the Orange County Community Foundation that both Don Simmons and Bill Teagarden recently requested to have this year's payout from their two established Orleans grants $12,000 go directly toward the bicentennial celebration.
Officials also learned that one of the town's Legacy Projects, the old sulphur well park located on West Vincennes Street, will be enhanced.
The area once housed one of the town's two public sulphur wells.
Preliminary plans for the site include the creation of a new children's play area, shelter house, walking area, new landscaping and the placement of a historical marker. The space will be renamed Bicentennial Sulphur Well Park.
An official Orleans 200 kickoff event is planned for March 11 which serves as the actual date of the town's founding.
"Birthday Cake" will be served along with a special commemorative Orleans Postmark to be made available for a limited time at the Orleans Post Office. Special Orleans 200 postcards will also be available.
Event Chairman Robert Henderson says the town's birthday will be followed with a number of special events and activities throughout 2015.
The 2015 Dogwood Festival will also carry the town's bicentennial theme.
Other event being developed include a civil war themed event in May 2015, opening of the 1965 Time Capsule, and "Stories behind the Stones" - a living history type event at the historic Orleans cemeteries.
A multi day "Homecoming" event is being planned over the long 4th of July holiday weekend to include a number of dignitaries, descendants of the town's early founders, premiere of the brand new Orleans film, food, live entertainment, parade and more.
Henderson is also hoping the Orleans Ministerial Association will host a special community service for that evening which would include a community choir under the direction of Judy Toppe. Other plans for that Sunday include a town picnic, old fashioned ice cream social capped off with a large fireworks display at the airport area.
Dr. Leah Morgan reported that she had applied for and received a grant in the amount of $900 from Orange County REMC Roundup to help fund in part a number of student related projects.
Student involvement in the birthday celebration will include developing a historical coloring book, and the placement of specially decorated wooden benches, and rocking chairs at selected locations in town.
A number of special Orleans Bicentennial souvenirs are being developed by the committee including caps, t-shirts, key chains, coins, license plates, pins, posters to be offered for sale to help offset some of the expenses related to the celebration.
Group members expressed a desire to see all of the local businesses, organizations and residents engaged in bicentennial activities commemorating and examining the historic events associated with the Town of Orleans.
The next planning meeting is set for August 28th 7 p.m. at the Orleans Town Hall. Anyone having an idea or interested in helping with the town's bicentennial is urged to attend.
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