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Bicentennial gala in Perrysburg prepped for next year

A star-spangled salute to the city of Perrysburg and the state of Ohio is shaping up after months of work by local residents known for their keen interest in history.

Patriotic programs, a parade, a pow wow, and a plaque dedication are just a few of the events being planned as part of Perrysburg's celebration of Ohio's 200th birthday in 2003.

Letters outlining the Perrysburg Ohio Bicentennial Committee's plans are to be mailed within a week to area residents and businesses.

The committee, an ad hoc committee of Historic Perrysburg, Inc., is chaired by Judith Justus and Doug Bahnsen.

Although the local bicentennial committee, which has been meeting for the last 13 months, has pulled together proposals for monthly activities next year, organizations and clubs in the city are being encouraged to mark the state's 200th birthday in their own distinct fashion.

Committee members will be available to answer questions, serve as advisers, and provide speakers for meetings.

The committee's proposed calendar of events kicks off next March with Ohio Celebrates! birthday parties in elementary schools.

School children could learn about pioneer days and one-room schools, and a traveling display of town photographs will be created.

The choir at the junior high school will be asked to coordinate with history classes about Ohio, adding canal songs to its repertoire.

Ms. Justus, who gives presentations on one-room schools, Indians of the Northwest Territory, and Perrysburg's early history, is excited about the April highlight: dedication of a plaque at Fort Meigs to honor the Amos Spafford family's contribution to the community.

“He was the first settler here,” said Mr. Bahnsen who gives living-history presentations, including one that features Johnny Appleseed.

The Ohio Historical Society has approved the erection of the new Spafford plaque, Ms. Justus said.

The Spaffords were the first and foremost family of the area.

In about 1816, Amos Spafford named the town “Perrysburgh” in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who won the Battle of La

ke Erie during the War of 1812. The town dropped the “h” in 1895.

Local veterans will be honored during the Memorial Day bicentennial parade, Ms. Justus said.

Veterans likely will ride in vintage cars or on a float during the parade.

Plans also call for bands and choirs to present concerts with patriotic themes.

Special activities also have been suggested for a celebration with fireworks, games, and music on July 3; an ice-cream social and old-fashioned baseball game in August; Native American Awareness Week in September with events held in conjunction with the Way Library and the school curriculum, and possibly a high school band halftime show with an Ohio theme in October.

Mr. Bahnsen likely will introduce school children and others to his fictional character Wolf Stands On Two Feet as part of the bicentennial presentations.

The character is a white man who was raised by Indians in the Great Black Swamp in the 1790s.

To help pay expenses for some of the proposed activities, the bicentennial committee is trying to raise $5,000.

Contributions are tax-deductible. Checks payable to the Perrysburg Ohio Bicentennial Committee can be sent to Historic Perrysburg, P.O. Box 703, Perrysburg, OH 43552.

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