Aiken plans year of anniversary activities

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AIKEN --- The official date is more than two years away, but plans are already under way for a yearlong, citywide celebration of Aiken's 175th birthday.

"We're still in the organizational stages for it, but we presented to council a concept to take that year prior to the actual birth date to focus on different parts of Aiken's community," City Solicitor Richard Pearce said.

The 175th anniversary of Aiken's chartering will be Dec. 19, 2010, but events will be spread through the year, allowing more opportunities for people to participate.

First-quarter events will "focus on the history of Aiken, how the town got its start, the development of the horse industry, Aiken as a health retreat and the announcement of the Savannah River Plant back in the 1950s -- the $1 agreement with President Truman and the DuPont company to start the facility," Mr. Pearce said.

Second-quarter events will highlight education, entertainment and the arts in Aiken.

"And then over the summer we'll get the business community -- business and technology and the innovation here and the hydrogen lab being located here, and several other innovated initiates we've seen in Aiken," he said.

The last three months will be celebrated by looking at the future of Aiken There will be a grand finale party on Dec. 19.

"It's going to take involvement by a lot of members of the Aiken community," Mr. Pearce said. "When I went through the file that we have from the 150th celebration, which was in 1985, you're quickly impressed that it's an effort that takes involvement by so many people that live in Aiken ... who just care very deeply about Aiken, to make it successful."

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

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