Williamsburg’s bicentennial celebration is officially underway.
Monday morning, the “Historical Picture Show” began playing on a loop in the city council meeting room at Williamsburg City Hall where it will play all month during regular business hours.
It is a pictorial history of Williamsburg throughout the town’s bygone times.
During a Williamsburg Bicentennial Planning Committee meeting Thursday, Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison announced that the historical marker commemorating Samuel Cox, who is the founder of Williamsburg, is now in town at the state highway garage and is ready to be placed in the ground adjacent to the Whitley County Judicial Center.
The historical marker will be dedicated during a ceremony scheduled for noon Saturday.
In 1818, Cox, who owned a tavern near the site of the current judicial center, agreed to donate six acres of land where the first courthouse and other government buildings could be built.
“Gina (Hamblin) has gotten in touch with a couple of his descendants. I think they are going to be here,” noted Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison.
Immediately after the historical marker dedication Saturday will be dedication ceremonies for the First Street river launch and a nature trail that was built along First Street.
Saturday from 6 – 8 p.m., the Whitley County Fine Arts Bicentennial Exhibit “ARTifacts: 20 decades of Whitley County” will debut to the public at the fine arts center, which is located across the street from city hall.
Fine Arts Extension Agent Cortney Moses told the committee Thursday that she had 82 entries so far with a few more expected before the deadline one day later.
“The reception is good to go,” she said.
Ben and Jen Shouse will perform bluegrass acoustic music live, and You and Me Coffee and Tea will have refreshments available during Saturday night’s reception.
“Some of the stuff is really neat over there,” Harrison added.
After the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display until June 29 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Whitley County Fine Arts Center.
The dedication ceremony for the “Wall of Mayors” in the city council meeting room at Williamsburg City Hall is still slated for Monday.
It was originally scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, but instead is expected to start between 5:15 – 5:20 p.m.
Harrison said that officials had hoped to have the dedication ceremony in lieu of the regularly scheduled Williamsburg City Council meeting Monday, but that the council needs to conduct a short meeting prior to the ceremony.
The council will be approving a resolution regarding some funding, and the Kentucky Travel Industry Association will be there to present an Economic Development Engine Award to tourism officials in Williamsburg, Corbin and Whitley County collectively.
Future events include an ice cream social and costume contest on April 14, and a historical homes tour and a benefit concert for the Lane Theater on April 21.
At least 25 tickets have already been sold for the historical homes tours, Harrison said. The historical homes tours is the only bicentennial event where there will be an admission charge. Proceeds from it will go towards funding other bicentennial events in town.
Tickets are $30 each and are on sale at Williamsburg City Hall and the Williamsburg Tourism and Convention Center.
The bicentennial celebration will culminate with a series of events on April 28, including a walk-run, bicycle rodeo, parade, birthday gala, and frontiersmen, colonial and civil war era encampments near the old courthouse.
Kay Martin, one of the parade organizers, said that she has already given out 200 entry forms for the parade.
Parade organizers are still looking for former local beauty queens to take part in the parade.
The committee is looking for former Miss Williamsburg Water Festival Pageant queens and princesses, Miss Whitley County Fair Pageant queens, and Corbin, Williamsburg or Whitley County High School homecoming queens.
They are also looking for homecoming queens from county high schools before Whitley County schools incorporated.
About 20 former queens have already been contacted about participating in the parade.
Also, parade organizers are looking for horses and covered wagons to take part in the parade.
Whitley County was founded in 1818 with Williamsburg as its county seat.
Williamsburg officials are concentrating their celebration in April because this is the month that Williamsburg was selected as the county seat 200 years ago.