A celebration a century in the making is set to kick off this month when Upper Arlington opens festivities for its centennial.

The village of Upper Arlington was incorporated March 20, 1918.

One hundred years later, March 20 this year, the community will mark the occasion with what organizers are calling a Centennial Birthday and Legacy Project Celebration from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Upper Arlington Library's Main Branch, 2800 Tremont Road.

The event is free and will feature historical displays, a playlist of music from each decade since the city was founded, food, drink and oodles of activities for children and adults. Centennial celebration activities will span the remainder of the year.

"We've been thinking all along that we have to do something to recognize the birthday," said Rich Simpson, chairman of the Upper Arlington Centennial Steering Committee. "There's something for everybody and I think it will be a fun event."

Simpson said the Centennial Birthday and Legacy Project Celebration is one of two key parties being planned this year.

The other will come July 4 when the Upper Arlington Civic Association holds an annual parade and party in Northam Park.

This year, Independence Day also will feature the unveiling of an 8-foot sculpture of a mother "Golden Bear" and two cubs and a historical walkway at the park.

As for the actual 100th birthday celebration, library officials said they are honored to host the event because of its significance and the library's efforts to educate others about the community's rich history.

"The library has had a longstanding role in helping to preserve our city's history through the UA Archives and we are excited to help celebrate," said Jennifer Faure, the library's community engagement specialist. "Since the Main Library is adjacent to the legacy project site, this is an ideal location to both celebrate indoors and be able to easily see the centennial plaza.

"This is going to be a great opportunity for our residents to come together and celebrate the community that we love," Faure said. "One of the great things about Upper Arlington is the strong sense of community that you feel here and I think it will be particularly strong on the day of the celebration.

"Besides, how often do you get to take part in a city's 100th birthday celebration?"

It's likely to be a one-time opportunity, Simpson said, but he noted the Centennial Steering Committee is planning to bury a time capsule this year that will be opened for the city's 200th birthday celebration in 2118. He also encouraged residents to come to the March 20 celebration and related festivities throughout the year.

"I think what people need to remember is there's a reason people like to live in Upper Arlington," Simpson said. "We have a lot of shared values -- things like neighborliness, community involvement, respect for others and education. It's a time to reflect on what it is that makes a community a special kind of place. Those community values are so deeply ingrained, and if you don't take the opportunity to reaffirm those values, they can erode. People can take them for granted."

Visit uaoh100.org for information about the Centennial Birthday and Legacy Project Celebration.

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