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Madison Bicentennial

Many events continue
through remainder of the year

Musical, train excursions
among events still planned

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

Madison Bicentennial Logo

(August 2009) – Although the 200-Hour Party for the Madison’s Bicentennial ended in June, the celebration will continue with events throughout the year that include videotaped oral histories, an original musical production and a historic train excursion.
Madison Bicentennial Celebration Committee Chairwoman Jan Vetrhus said the majority of comments she has heard about the 200-Hour Party and other events of the Madison Bicentennial have been positive so far.
“Some people said they wished there had been more openings at some of the more popular events, but overall, most people had a great time,” she said. “There were so many events to choose from, and some of them were simply wonderful, but we still have events planned throughout the year, and we want people to continue enjoying them.”
Vetrhus, former Madison Mayor Al Huntington and former city special projects administrator Betsey Vonderheide began planning the Madison Bicenten-nial in 2007.
“A Bicentennial Celebration is a monumental mark for a community” said Vetrhus. “I knew we needed to do something special for our community because such a thing only happens once.”
During the 200-Hour Party, the Madison Bicentennial Celebration Committee and Digital Dreams Inc., located at 205 W. Main St. Madison, teamed to videotape oral histories and fond memories of Madison. That project is still ongoing.
Organizer Marilyn McQueen, who has an avid interest in oral history and sociology, said the idea came to her during the first few meetings of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee when everyone kept talking about the history of Madison.
“I realized that we not only needed history from the past, but we also needed history for the future,” she said. “This will be a wonderful gift for the future.”
The project started with older people but has expanded to include anyone interested in talking about their experiences, thoughts and feelings about some aspect of life in Madison.

Faces of Madison
The official Bicentennial photo essay book, “Faces of Madison,” is expected to arrive by Aug. 1 and will be available at RoundAbout Madison’s office, 314 Jefferson St., and at various locations around town. It is priced at $19.95 plus tax. Call (812) 273-2259.

“We’ve had people talk about how the community changed since they were children, and we’ve had others that described a memorable event or experience they’ve had,” said McQueen. “If someone wants to talk about how special Madison is, or even how a particular person influenced their life here, we would welcome it.”
The project will continue through at least October. Anyone who would love to participate is welcome, said McQueen.
The videotaped collection will eventually be archived at the Jefferson County Historical Society. There are also plans to offer brief showings at the Ohio Theatre, and individual copies of the tapes are available for sale.
On Oct. 17-18, Bicentennial characters will ride with other guests on the historic Railroad Excursion Train. During the event, passengers will meet at the Venture Out Business Center for a two-hour ride to Middle Fork Bridge and back. The ride will feature souvenir tickets and handbills and costumed re-enactors. The Jefferson County Historical Society and the Madison Railroad worked together for more than a year to plan this ‘historical learning experience.”
The Bicentennial characters, 22 re-enactors who portray just a fraction of the noteworthy people throughout Madison’s 200-year history, are still available for public and private events. They will make their appearance at a variety of school functions and community events through the rest of the year.
In honor of Madison’s Bicentennial, an original, two-act Broadway style musical has been commissioned to be a part of the city’s year-long celebration. The show will run for two weekends, Oct. 9-11, and Oct. 16-18, and will be performed by a cast of high schools students who auditioned in May 2009 for parts in the production.
The show, created in the style of Broadways hits, such as “Music Man” and “Oklahoma,” will feature a generic character, not a specific historic person from Madison, to be the “storyteller” of “Rivertown.” The play was written by Charles Moman, Yancy Unger and Aaron Kelsey.

• For more information about upcoming Madison Bicentennial events, visit www.MadisonBicentennial.com. For more information about the oral histories project, call Marilyn McQueen at (812) 701-3305 or Stephan DeLorenzo at Digital Dreams at (812) 265-4220.

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