Hear ye! Hear ye!

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Hear ye! Hear ye!  Illinois Bicentennial Celebration 100 Day Countdown event will begin Saturday, August 26, at the Kaskaskia Bell and the day’s events will conclude at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site! Thank you to Illinois Bicentennial Commission, Fort de Chartres State Historic Site’s agency-Illinois Historic Preservation, a division of IDNR, and Fort staff for working together with volunteer groups and reenactors to celebrate this memorable event and the opportunity to showcase early Illinois history!

Press Release

Randolph County to Host Start of the 100 Day Countdown to the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration

Historic sites on Kaskaskia Island and along the Kaskaskia Trail plan events on Constitution Day August 26th, 2017 to commemorate “Where Illinois Began”

Chester, Illinois; Kaskaskia Island has been selected as the site to begin the 100 Day Countdown to the Illinois Bicentennial Celebration, announced Randolph County Board Commissioner Marc Kiehna.  Events are being planned on Constitution Day, August 26, 2017, in front of the Liberty Bell of the West and along the Kaskaskia/Cahokia trail.

“Since Randolph County is ‘Where Illinois Began’ it is appropriate for festivities to start on Kaskaskia Island the site of the First State Capital of Illinois,” said Kiehna.

Liberty Bell of the West
Photo of the Kaskaskia Bell, from Wikimedia Commons

At 9 a.m., a gathering of State, County and Local officials along with State historians will mark the date with a ceremonial signing of the 1818 Illinois Constitution.  The ceremony and document signing will be in front of the original courthouse near the Liberty Bell of the West shrine.  Officials will signal the start of the 100 Day Countdown to December 3rd, the date Illinois was federally recognized as a state.  December 3rd, 2017 is the first day of the 200th year and the Official start of the Bicentennial Celebration.

The 100 Day Countdown will be commemorated each day through videos about Illinois history produced by Illinois high school and college students and posted on www.Illinois200.com, Illinois200 social media platforms, media partners WGN Radio.com and SJR.com and other media.

Fort de Chartres Front Gate. Photo by Ericha Johanning

At the completion of the ceremony, the group will proceed on the Kaskaskia/Cahokia Trail where a stop will be made at the Pierre Menard home recognizing the home of the  first Lt. Governor of Illinois.  Fort de Chartres State Historic Site will be the next stop on the trail for a special event.  Exhibits including the Powder Magazine (the oldest building in Illinois) will be available from 12 to 3 p.m. and the public is invited to view a special flag raising ceremony at 2 p.m.  The boom of cannons and a parade of colorful uniforms will transport visitors back in time to the early history of Illinois and the region.

These special events are free and open to the general public and food and refreshments will be available.

The events highlighting the start of the 100 Day Countdown to the Bicentennial Celebration are being coordinated with the Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial.  “We are thrilled to begin the Countdown to the Bicentennial Celebration in Southern Illinois where the State was first explored and founded,” said Southern Illinois University System President and Bicentennial Commission Co-Chair Randy Dunn.