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Hall County seeks help in planning its 200th birthday party
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The Hall County seal marks the year of the county's creation 200 years ago. The county was formed on Dec. 15, 1818. - photo by Nick Bowman

With Hall County’s bicentennial more than a year away, let’s all hope we look this good at 200.

County government and a handful of other groups are planning a year’s worth of events, exhibits and celebrations in 2018 to mark the county’s 200th birthday.

The county was created on Dec. 15, 1818, by the state legislature. The land chosen for Hall bordered the Chattahoochee River in the west and, across it, Cherokee country. When the border was drawn, Lake Lanier would not be dammed and filled for another 138 years.

The county was named for Lyman Hall, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Georgia governor and doctor.

While the day itself is 14 months away, planners are working on events to take place throughout 2018. Brainstorming for bicentennial celebrations began in early 2017, Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said, and involved the Hall County Library System, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Georgia History Center, University of North Georgia and the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Probably the big event that will mark the occasion is … a bicentennial birthday bash,” Crumley said. “The exact date and location of that has yet to be determined — Dec. 15 doesn’t lend itself to the best weather for an outside event, so we may play with that.”

Want to help plan Hall County’s 200th birthday?

Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley is leading the county’s planning for 2018.  She can be reached at kcrumley@hallcounty.org or 770-297-5504.

She added spring or fall are possibilities for the celebration. Crumley is working with Hall County Parks and Leisure to pick a date and location.

The budget for all bicentennial events is $50,000, she said.

Katie Crumley
Katie Crumley
County libraries and the history center are working with the county to provide content for a 12-month series of historical programs on TV18 — the joint television channel run by the county and city of Gainesville.

A physical exhibit showing the history of the county is also being discussed among the libraries and history center, Crumley said. The hope is that the exhibit could travel to all the county library branches, the history center on Academy Street and any local businesses that wanted to host it.

Library System Director Lisa MacKinney said it was “really early to know what (the exhibit) is going to be.”

A public art exhibit is also in the works for the lawn of the county government center at 2875 Browns Bridge Road. Vision 2030, a project of the Hall chamber dealing with public art among many other issues in the county, is helping the county coordinate the public sculptures.

“Suwanee has a biannual public art exhibit on their campus. Roswell, same thing. It’s a way of connecting the various quality of life issues with the county administration,” said Frank Norton Jr., leader of Vision 2030’s public art committee. The county administration building “has a park-like venue” needed for the sculptures, Norton added.

County staff are preparing a request for proposals from county artists. While a final number has not been set, about eight to 10 pieces could be chosen for display at the government center in 2018.

“We’re looking for art that represent in some form or fashion Hall County history, the uniqueness of the area or the quality of the work of artists from this area,” Crumley said.

Other events of the bicentennial are already well underway. At UNG’s Gainesville campus, art teacher Heather Foster and her students are working on a mosaic of paper tiles showing off Hall County’s various historical sites, from the chicken monument downtown to the Wrigley plant on Atlanta Highway.

Foster said on Wednesday that her students are spending the next week creating the tiles. With about 200 students involved in the project, the mosaic will be 14 feet wide and 8 feet tall. The tiles will be finished Wednesday.

Stacey Dickson, CEO of the Lake Lanier CVB, said the tile designs will be worked into a 2018 bicentennial calendar to be printed by The Times.

And bicentennial events will not only look to the past, but to the future. Crumley said she hopes to work with Hall County Schools on a time capsule project for the system’s younger elementary school students.

It’s still early days for much of the 2018 celebrations. Members of the public who want to get involved in the planning can reach Crumley at kcrumley@hallcounty.org or 770-297-5504.
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Students of Heather Foster's art class at University of North Georgia Gainesville campus have been working on concepts for 8.5-inch paper tiles, including this homage to Wrigley and its plant on Athens Highway. Photo courtesy of Heather Foster.
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