Input sought for city’s 150-year celebration

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Officials have begun planning a full year of fun and excitingevents for 2008 to celebrate Brookhaven’s sesquicentennial inrecognition of the city’s 150 years in existence.

Rita Rich, sesquicentennial committee chairperson for theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said the planning isin its infancy and a steering committee will begin seekingsuggestions and ideas from the public when the panel is formed.

“The main objective we want to get out now is that no committeehas been formed nor has anyone been asked to serve on a committee,”Rich said. “We want everyone to be involved. I do not want anyone’sfeelings to be hurt because they were not asked toparticipate.”

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Rich said she is seeking people with written or oral historiesof the city or who have Brookhaven artifacts to compile a list ofwhat resources will be available to the various committees, bothpublic and private, that are formed to celebrate the city’s first150 years.

“We need to know you have that,” she said.

The “resource list” could be used to coordinate peopleknowledgeable about Brookhaven’s past to speak at sponsored events,club meetings, church gatherings or any other activity.

Not only does the chamber plan to sponsor monthly activitiesduring 2008, but officials also encourage individuals andbusinesses to host their own events.

“I want everyone to think of what they could be doing withintheir own organization during this celebration and to hold theirown events,” Rich said.

As an example, Rich cited several events sponsored by the publicto celebrate the city’s centennial. A “Hat and Bonnet Sunday” wasscheduled where everyone wore a hat or bonnet on a designatedSunday. Others held beard contests that started at the beginning ofthe year and ended after Christmas.

“It could be that simple,” she said.

It’s too early to say whether the chamber or city officialswould host one main event at some point in the year to honor thesesquicentennial, Rich said. The steering committee would have todetermine whether there would be enough support for theproject.

The city’s centennial celebration culminated in an event thatlasted an entire week.

“The 1950s were a very simple time,” she said. “I don’t knowthat we would have the manpower for a whole week of activitiesnow.”

Today, she said, more people are employed by others thanself-employed and have less control over their time than a halfcentury ago.

The sesquicentennial activities in 2008 should be a greatlearning experience for children and adults alike. The differentideas of ways to celebrate Brookhaven’s 150th birthday should makefor an interesting year, Rich said.

“I love history and I love Brookhaven. This is a good time forall of us to become excited in something and where we live,” shesaid. “There will be so many events everyone will certainly be ableto find something to interest them.”