The Columbus Area Bicentennial Commission is midway through our yearlong celebration. This year has posed unique challenges, requiring the committee to find creative ways to connect our community in celebration of our county and city’s legacy and future.

At the beginning of this year, we knew that in-person events would still be on hold for several months. Rather than delaying the bicentennial celebrations, the Bicentennial commission made a strategic pivot to building connections on social media.

Social Media and Online Engagement

On Facebook and Instagram, our audiences have been highly engaged with a number of content campaigns:

  • Moments in History documents the moments that made our community what it is today, whether they’re unknown anecdotes or significant historical story.
  • Profiles in Leadership is a series of profiles on influential community members in Columbus and Bartholomew County.
  • Bicentennial-endorsed Events are shared periodically, so community members can get involved with bicentennial-themed happenings around the city.
  • Black History Month and Women’s History Month were full of important information and stories about the many communities that call Columbus home.

We’ve also enjoyed in-person events with safety in mind. The film It Began With Bartholomew drew over 700 people to multiple showings at YES Cinema in April. Over 100 DVDs were sold, and the film can now be viewed on YouTube.

Upcoming Events

While our social media presence will continue to flourish, we are now looking forward to celebrating the Columbus Area Bicentennial with more in-person events as coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Coming up soon, we’ll celebrate:

  • July 24: Family Fun on the Farm at the Henry Breeding Farm presented by the Bartholomew County Historical Society. Enjoy hands-on activities while learning about the history of our community.
  • Aug. 13–14: Celebration on the River at Upland Columbus Pump House. Enjoy live music, fireworks, history exhibits, and vintage vehicles courtesy of Tony Moravec and Upland.
  • Sept. 23–24: 200 Years Together: Our Stories Illuminated on 4th Street. Take a walk down memory lane with an immersive projection show.
  • Sept. 25: Mill Race Marathon in Downtown Columbus. Register for a race or cheer on runners from the sidelines. All finishers will receive a commemorative Bicentennial-themed race medal.

Have an event or initiative you’d like to add to our calendar? Apply for endorsement from the Bicentennial Commission.

1821 Trail

The 1821 Trail will be an extension of the People Trail along First Street in Columbus. The project is set to add to the existing 26-mile trail system and will include architectural and art elements that celebrate our community. Hitchcock Design Group and American Structurepoint were recently chosen to complete designs for the trail.

200 Years Together: Our Stories Illuminated on 4th Street

Get ready to take a walk down memory lane with an immersive projection show on Fourth Street downtown. The exhibit, 200 Years Together, will showcase our city and county’s past, present, and future, focusing on the experiences and memories we share.

Community Collaboration

The success of the bicentennial celebration so far is a product of collaboration between a number of community members and groups — over 20 organizations are involved in the Columbus Area Bicentennial in some way and we’ve endorsed dozens of community events already. We could not have done any of this without the help of our gracious sponsors throughout the community:

  • Cummins Inc.
  • Bartholomew County Historical Society
  • The Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County
  • NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew Branch 3071

Committees within the Bicentennial Commission are made up of volunteers donating hours of their time each week to organize initiatives and engage community members. For a full list of the committee members, visit our website.

We’re looking forward to collaborating with even more of our community in the second half of the year. If you’d like to get involved in the Columbus Area Bicentennial, visit the “Join Us” tab on our website.