For more than 100 years it stood as a testament to the resiliency of the early immigrants of what would become German Village.

For more than 100 years it stood as a testament to the resiliency of the early immigrants of what would become German Village.

Yet, the Schiller statue had fallen victim to benign neglect.

No aesthetic accouterments had celebrated its inspiration -- Friedrich Schiller, a poet, playwright, philosopher and historian.

It was a silhouette in the night, surrounded by a barren patch of grass in Schiller Park.

There was no sign to tell the history of who he was, why he was chosen or who paid to put him there.

Things are much different today.

As part of the Columbus bicentennial celebration, Friends of Schiller Park will have a rededication of sorts for the statue.

At 7:15 p.m. Sept. 8, there will be a special lighting ceremony at the statue, along with a performance by the Harmony Project.

At the moment of the lighting, the Columbus Maennerchor will sing Ode to Joy -- the lyrics of which were penned by Schiller -- in German.

A full slate of activities is also planned for the following day at Schiller.

Katharine Moore, chairwoman of Friends of Schiller Park, said the lights will be positioned on either side of the promenade of Huntington Garden and will illuminate the monument.

Poles and fixtures will be installed next week and directional boring will be done to run the power lines underground without damaging tree roots.

The lighting company already tested different sets of bulbs at different heights for the German Village Commission.

"It's just spectacular," Moore said. "You see the detail of him in ways you've never seen before."

In addition to the new lighting scheme, the Schiller statue is surrounded by a brand new garden.

Moore said recognizing Schiller provided the best opportunity to help the city of Columbus celebrate its bicentennial.

Over the years, the park has been host to the Ohio State Fair, a zoo and the Columbus Oktoberfest.

"That's where some really remarkable stories have taken place for almost as long as Columbus has been a city," Moore said.

The lighting ceremony is part of weekend full of events at the park.

Sept. 9, there will be a picnic, pie-baking contest, scavenger hunt and ice cream social.

In addition to the work of Friends of Schiller Park, the German Village Society has pitched in $2,500 toward a sign that tells the tale of Schiller.

Estimates put the sign project at $10,000. The remainder will be raised by Moore's committee.

"German Villagers have poured their time and treasure into making Schiller Park a showcase going all the way back to before 1891, when the original German settlers placed the Schiller statue in the park," said Shiloh Todorov, director of the German Village Society.

"Lighting the statue is the next major piece of that tradition, and the lighting ceremony is set to create an indelible memory for everyone who sees it," Todorov said.