Monroe County began planning its 200th birthday celebration on Thursday as the county’s Bicentennial Commission held its first meeting. The Georgia legislature created Monroe County on May 15, 1821, so the county will mark 200 years in 2021. Commission members reviewed a tabloid-style publication produced by the Reporter in 1972 detailing the Sesquicentennial, the county’s 150th birthday. While the county was created in 1821, the city of Forsyth was formed in 1823 so the two entities met in the middle and held a joint celebration in 1972.
While Monroe County commissioners have already created a commission and budgeted $5,000 for the celebration, the city of Forsyth hasn’t stated its plans yet. Gilda Stanbery, CEO of the Forsyth Convention and Visitors Bureau, is helping lead the commission along with county historian Ralph Bass.
Before their kickoff meeting on Thursday, Stanberry asked members to list the events they would like to see for the Bicentennial. That produced three full pages of ideas, including an outdoor festival, a formal gala, a Nancy Hanks-style train ride and historical exhibits.
Commission member Vicki Smith, however, said the commission should focus on planning just a few events rather than trying to do too much. Commission members generally agreed to plan the events around the actual May 15 birthday.
Members discussed the possibility of holding a logo design contest to let locals compete for who can develop the best logo for the Bicentennial celebration.
Commission members asked Stanbery to develop a timeline for the commission’s work and for each member to rank the proposed events on a scale of 1 to 3, 1 being highest priority and 3 being the lowest.
Commission members on hand included Stanbery, Winifred Berry, Don Daniel, Herbert Gantt, Lillian Davis, Will Davis, Todd Tolbert, Joe Reed, Jimmy Zellner and Vicki Smith. Commission members not attending included Rosemary Walker, Jackson Daniel, Chrissy Ham, Clarise Durden.
The commission will next meet at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 in the Conley Building by the railroad depot.