Aiken to celebrate 175th birthday all year long

AIKEN --- Details of a yearlong birthday party for Aiken are firming up.

Officials with Celebrate Aiken -- the slogan for a yearlong celebration of Aiken's 175th anniversary next year -- recently presented their latest plans to Aiken City Council members.

Bill Reynolds, the chairman for Celebrate Aiken, said the event has already exceeded its fundraising goal of $25,000.

"We will more than double our original sponsorship goal," he told council members.

Mr. Reynolds said that admission to the Jan. 9 downtown kickoff party, "Sights, Sounds and Tastes of 1835," will be free.

The year is divided in into themes: History, Horse and Health for the first quarter; Arts, Education and Entertainment the second quarter; Business, Innovation and Technology for the third quarter; and Aiken's Future for the final quarter, he said.

Street banners promoting the celebration are planned.

A grand finale for the city's 175th birthday -- "a birthday party like you've never seen," according to Mr. Reynolds -- will occur Saturday, Dec. 18, at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

A "sneak preview" of events for next year will be held Oct. 3 at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.