Johnstown Independent

Bicentennial

Johnstown to begin yearlong celebration

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Johnstown is kicking off its bicentennial on ice -- literally.

On Jan 12, the Johnstown Bicentennial Committee, which is a combination of Downtown Johnstown Inc. and Johnstown Historical Society, will host an event to kick off the series of events that will occur in Johnstown throughout 2013 as the village celebrates its 200th birthday.

The Jan. 12 event will begin at 5 p.m. in Bigelow Park with several speakers, including an invocation by the Rev. Oluf Kongshaug, Monroe Township trustee Joseph Robertson, Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb and Downtown Johnstown Inc. president and Johnstown Village Councilman Christopher Speck.

"There will also be a dedication of the opening of the ice-skating rink, with hot chocolate, coffee, hot dogs and open fire pits to add the holiday feel," said Downtown Johnstown Inc. board member Ray Speck. The theme is "b-ICE-centennial Kick-off."

"This event will kick off our bicentennial year in Johnstown," Christopher Speck said. "An ice-skating rink is being constructed for the third year in a row. This is a community service provided by Downtown Johnstown."

He said the event would begin at 5 p.m. rain or shine.

"We will have our speakers speak, and there will be a choir concert in the Opera House shortly afterward," he said, adding that the choir would perform patriotic and holiday selections. "The museum operated by the Johnstown Historical Society will welcome visitors throughout the duration of the event as well."

Christopher Speck said families are invited to skate on the rink throughout the event. Hot Spot coffee house will provide refreshments.

"This year's bicentennial marks an important milestone in the history of this great village," he said. "It offers a chance for longtime residents to reflect upon the changes and challenges that have happened in our village."

He said longtime residents might see the effects and the improvements to the village of which they have participated.

"For new residents, it offers a retrospective view of their new home," he said. "It offers a chance for them to become a part of what is Johnstown and what Johnstown will be."

According to the Downtown Johnstown Inc.'s website, bicentennial events still are being planned and thus far include a salute to Johnstown's youth, featuring a performance of Les Miserables at the Johnstown-Monroe High School Performing Arts Center on Feb. 22-24, and a salute to Johnstown's schools June 8 at the center. The Johnstown Bicentennial Parade, sponsored by the Monroe Township Fire Department, is set for June 21.

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