Chilton County 150th birthday celebration set for October 2018

Published 1:49 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017


The Chilton County Sesquicentennial celebrating 150 years of existence is officially set for Oct. 21 – 27, 2018, its location most likely to be centered in the downtown Clanton area.

“We’re calling this an observation commemoration,” Billy Singleton, Chilton County Celebration Committee co-chair, said. “It’s not so much that we’re going to be just having this big celebration all week, but we’re going to be having events from Oct. 21 – 27 of 2018.”

Singleton said the events aim to commemorate Chilton County’s 150th anniversary while complementing the state’s 200th anniversary — possibly with the inclusion of a Chilton County historical exhibit, much like the Alabama traveling exhibit scheduled to be in town at Jefferson State Community College in November 2018.

“We’re trying to set these events up in a manner that will encourage our citizens not only to learn about the county in which they live, but also to appreciate that historical heritage,” Singleton said. “So I think that is going to be one of the guiding tenets of what we’re trying to do.”

A “kickoff” is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 21, although specific details will be under way for some time.

Singleton said the plan is to have scheduled “lunch and learn” events each day of the celebratory week, featuring relatively short presentations by “a local historian or local personality” at a downtown Clanton venue still to be determined.

Presentations will highlight special county events over the past 150 years, Singleton said.

The celebration will climax that Saturday, Oct. 27, with possible activities such as historical period music, a car show and “peach treat” contests, Singleton said.

In the meantime, Singleton said the celebration committee will encourage schools to have students commemorate Chilton history with essay contests and art projects, and eventually will ask churches to research their historical backgrounds to learn how they’ve “evolved” over the years and perhaps celebrate their histories with organized church events.

“We’re looking at all different aspects of it,” Singleton said.

“We’re looking at working with the local NAACP chapter to look at the African American heritage in Chilton County, possibly some Native American events — of course, that was a big part early in the county’s history,” Singleton said.

The committee will also encourage civic organizations and businesses to theme their events to the county anniversary.

The Clanton-Chilton Library is one such organization already in the works for co-commemorating its 50th anniversary with the county’s 150th anniversary.

“I’ve long held the belief that people should be proud of this community,” Singleton said.

The committee hopes to bring former Chilton residents back home for the celebration, and has even posted the celebration on Alabama Travel to spread the word past the county borders.

Residents interested in volunteering can attend the next committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the Jemison Municipal Complex.

The committee is looking for volunteers to contribute any special skills or knowledge to organizing the sesquicentennial commemoration.

A website and Facebook page are still in the making, but until they are launched, people can contact Billy Singleton for more information at (205) 389-0864.