Ohio Celebrates 200 Years

By Crystal Conde Premium

If your ancestors settled in Ohio, you have a special reason to celebrate this year. On March 1, the Ohio Bicentennial Commission <> kicked off an eight-month celebration in honor of the state’s 200th birthday. The months-long party will occur in conjunction with a series of ongoing, countywide programs that the commission spearheaded. These spirited commemorations of Ohio’s history can be seen throughout the state — hop in the car and get a glimpse firsthand.
A visit to Ohio this year will have you hearing (and seeing) bells. The state’s Bicentennial Bells initiative began in 2001 to create a symbol of Ohio’s industrial roots. The Verdin Co., based in Cincinnati, will visit each of the state’s 88 counties and handcraft a personalized bell during a two-day public event. Each bell features the county’s name, the bell’s forging date, the Great Seal of Ohio and the bicentennial logo.
That logo can also be seen on barns all across the state. Artist Scott Hagan completed the Barn Painting program last September. Hagan spent five years painting the bicentennial logo on at least one barn in each Ohio county. A list of these colorful barns’ locations is available online at <www.ohio200. org/barns/tocations.asp>.

Once you’ve completed your bicentennial sightseeing, it’s time to get in on the action at one of the signature events that highlight Ohio’s rich heritage:

? The Path to Statehood: Bicentennial Wagon Train <>: When Ohio became a state, many settlers traveled on wagon trains to their new homes. You can witness a re-creation of this journey as a wagon train travels from the Ohio River along US 40 to the Indiana state line. This event runs during June and July. Check the Web site for updates.

? Inventing Flight: The Centennial Celebration <www.inventingf light. com>: Dayton, Ohio, was home to the Wright brothers when they successfully achieved airplane flight 100 years ago. The city will host a centennial anniversary celebration of that aeronautical feat. An air show, international blimp competition and other activities take place downtown July 3-20.

? Celebration of Lake Erie Heritage: Ohio Bicentennial Tall Ships <>: Trek to ports along the coast of Lake Erie to witness the largest gathering of tall ships in Ohio since the 19th century. Toledo and Cleveland are the designated fleet ports for this event, which takes place July 9-20.

? Tall Stacks on the Ohio River <>: Nightly fireworks displays, hot-air balloon races and musical entertainment keep this river festival flowing in downtown Cincinnati. Civil War encampments and paddle-wheel steamboats give visitors a dose of living history Oct. 15-19.

For more information on the activities and events surrounding Ohio’s bicentennial, call (888) OHIO-200 or visit <>.

From the June 2003 Family Tree Magazine