Illinois to kick off bicentennial events

The first activities have been planned for the commemoration of Illinois’ bicentennial in 2018.

Events are scheduled to include a craft beer competition and a video contest with students in Illinois.

“The Illinois bicentennial is an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate our great state,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said. 

“I can’t think of a better way to kick things off than reflecting on the influential history that brought us here.”

Illinois high school and college students will have a chance to help kick off the bicentennial celebration by entering a video contest called “Something to Learn about Illinois History.”

Through Aug. 31, high school and college students registered in Illinois can submit 45- to 60-second videos about an Illinois historical fact, event, place or person at

One hundred winners will be chosen and will be posted each day as part of the 100 Day Countdown on, bicentennial social media platforms and on the digital platforms of media partners WGN Radio Plus and the State Journal Register. 

The countdown is scheduled begin on Constitution Day, Aug. 26, 2017, and run up to the state’s birthday on Dec. 3, 2017, the first day of the 200th year. 

BMO Harris Bank is the sponsor of the 100 Day Countdown to the Bicentennial Celebration. 

“We are proud and excited to support the 100 Day Countdown, especially as it is occurring during a year in which BMO is celebrating its own bicentennial,” said David Casper, president and CEO of BMO Harris Bank.

The winners of the “Something to Learn about Illinois” video contest will each receive two tickets to the Dec. 3, Chicago matinee performance of “Hamilton,” the start of the Illinois Bicentennial celebration. 

Public events to kick off the bicentennial on Dec. 3 will take place with family activities on Navy Pier. 

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield will be open for free and those who visit will have a chance to preview the 2018 bicentennial exhibit.  

At this year’s Illinois State Fair in Springfield, the Illinois bicentennial is inviting Illinois craft brewers to compete in a craft brew competition.

The competition will determine who will brew an official Illinois bicentennial craft beer. 

Those who attend the state fair will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite brewer at the Craft Beer Garden. 

The winner will brew a commemorative beer that will be distributed throughout the bicentennial celebration in 2018. 

“A bicentennial craft beer will be an exciting offering to the millions of craft beer lovers,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “We are pleased to highlight the Illinois made craft beers.”

Illinois was recognized as a state on Dec. 3, 1818, and the official Illinois bicentennial will be celebrated in 2018 with events planned across the state on Constitution Day Aug. 26, 2018, and the grand birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on Dec. 3, 2018. 

Statewide partners and event and project managers who are planning activities between Dec. 3, 2017, and Dec. 3, 2018, can apply for endorsement by Illinois bicentennial. 

To learn more, visit the Participate page at and to submit an application for endorsement.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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