Plans under way for Chilton 150th birthday celebration

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017


With 2018 just around the corner, Chilton County is coming up on 150 years of existence. Ready to welcome it with a monumental celebration, the Chilton County Celebration Committee is springing into action with several plans already under way after an organizational kickoff meeting on Oct. 24 at Jemison City Hall.

The Chilton County Celebration Committee was formed by the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce after Derric Scott, Billy Singleton and Brad Carter initiated the idea to host a countywide celebration of Chilton’s birthday.

Scott said a 150-year anniversary is called a sesquicentennial.

At the meeting, representatives from various cities and organizations across the county, including the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, Chilton County Historical Society, Chilton County Extension Office, and more, provided ideas and feedback for planning the event.

Copies of Chilton’s 1968 centennial celebration research aided the collective brainstorm.

Topics discussed included possible dates, times and durations of the event, networking for sponsorships and committee memberships, brainstorming special activities, particularly as reflective of historical Chilton celebrations, and publicizing the event.

Scott, who had attended the 1968 celebration as a 7-year-old, presented several souvenirs collected by the Chilton County Historical Society from the Chilton centennial.

These items, which included a car antenna flag and squeeze coin holders, served as sample memorabilia keepsakes for the 2018 event.

Scott said the 1968 celebration had been enormous, offering a parade every day and multiple balls.

One committee member remembered the governor attending one of the parades.

“It was a big deal in ‘68,” Scott said. “I’m curious to see what everybody thinks we might do next year. It’s a different world than it was in ‘68.”

Committee members also discussed methods for publicizing the event and celebrating the milestone year by including celebration of 150 years in various traditional Chilton events, such as the Chilton County Peach Festival and a possible county fair, which is still in the works for next fall.

Committee members emphasized the important role educators, such as school systems and libraries, can play in publicizing the event. It was suggested that students recognize the 150th day of school in lieu of or in addition to the traditionally recognized 100th day of school, for which they typically dress up as 100-year-olds.

Singleton affirmed the need to integrate educators in recognizing the anniversary, “because I think all of us recognize that this history is going to be lost if we don’t preserve it some way, and preserve is especially in the minds of our young people.”

In discussing a possible date for the 150th anniversary celebration, Singleton proposed “complimenting” the event with the state’s traveling exhibit celebrating Alabama’s bicentennial, which will be on display beginning in November for two weeks at Jefferson State Community College in Clanton.

“It’s going to be a dual commemoration of not only Chilton County, but the state of Alabama’s 200th anniversary as well,” Singleton said.

The 2018 football schedule was also taken into consideration in setting a date, officially placing the weekend of Oct. 27 in the running for the official date of the culminating Chilton County sesquicentennial celebration.

The actual Chilton County founding date is Dec. 30, 1868.

In the next meeting, the committee plans to divide into subcommittees for organizing the event.

A Facebook page and Chilton County Celebration website are in the works.