By Dave Helms –
January 24, 2019
MoonPie over Mobile New Year’s Eve Celebration. Photo courtesy of mobile.org
Mobile’s MoonPie has dropped, New Year’s Eve tradition that it is, but there are still hundreds of other events planned in 225 cities and towns to mark Alabama’s bicentennial year.
Some of the events are quiet and humble; others will blare through the streets. One happens Feb. 23 on the state’s highest land, when bands and choirs will mark the release of a U.S. Postal Service Bicentennial stamp on Mount Cheaha. Shortly after that, the party moves to Constitution Village, where legislators crafted Alabama’s first constitution.
“From small towns to big cities, the bicentennial is going to have an enormous impact during 2019,” says Jay Lamar, executive director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
On March 30, Tuscaloosa will hold The Bicentennial Bash, a celebration in the heart of downtown, featuring Alabama entertainers, food trucks, fireworks and a kids’ zone.
President James Monroe, who signed a congressional resolution in December 1819 admitting Alabama as the 22nd state, made a surprise visit to Alabama months earlier. There will be a re-enactment of Monroe’s visit to Huntsville on June 1 at Constitution Village.
From July 15-20, Huntsville and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center will host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s role in landing a man on the moon with a variety of events, including a July 16 attempt to break the Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets simultaneously at 8:32 a.m. — the exact time of the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. In addition there will be a July 16 celebration dinner featuring Apollo astronauts and a July 20 concert.
From Sept. 11-15, there will be a Ride Alabama 200 “Civil Rights Ride.” In all there will be three designated cycling routes that will take riders to historic sites throughout the state, including this four-day Civil Rights Trail ride spanning 200 miles and more than 50 historic sites.
Dec. 13-15 will mark the culmination of the bicentennial in Montgomery with parades, fireworks, music and the dedication of Bicentennial Park.
A complete schedule of events is available at ALABAMA200.org.