Initial plans announced for bicentennial event

Illinois Bicentennial officials and commissioners have announced the preliminary details of Illinois’ 200th birthday celebration which is planned on Dec. 3.

The event will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Illinois’ recognition as the 21st state of the union.

Illinois celebrities and contributors from all walks of life, including entertainment, sports, politics and more will be invited to participate.  

Among those who are scheduled to participate are members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Styx, blues legend Buddy Guy, the Chicago Bears, Olympic champion Jackie Joyner Kersee, Bill Kurtis and Joe Mantegna.

Illinois journalist Bill Kurtis is scheduled to emcee the celebration.

Deputy governor Leslie Munger said the theme of the year-long bicentennial celebration will be on display during the United Center gala.

“We will showcase the people, places and things that have been Born, Built and Grown in Illinois over the last 200 years that have made us Illinois Proud,” Munger said in a news release.

A special veterans commemoration, hosted by Illinois’ Joe Mantegna, will recognize the sacrifice Illinoisans have made over 200 years.  

There will be recognition of the bicentennial’s honor 200: veterans who have been chosen from across the state for going above and beyond service to their fellow veterans, with a performance by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The programming will mix historical video and live entertainment, including musical performances by an array of Illinois artists of different genres, including performances by Styx and other to be announced musical guests.

Additionally, the event will reflect on great events in Illinois sports, including a look back at the birth of the NFL, which had its roots at the University of Illinois with Papa Bear George Halas and Red Grange, as well as a presentation titled  “Chicago: The City of Champions,” which will be a salute to all of the professional championship teams featuring players, trophies and special guests.

Other segments are being developed and invitations to many celebrities are being extended.

The program’s finale will chronicle the story of how jazz and blues migrated from Louisiana through East St. Louis and to Chicago.  

A tribute to Chicago blues will feature a performance by Buddy Guy and his band.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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