By Charlie Langford and Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal
Both Aberdeen and Amory are celebrating big birthdays this year and have festivities planned to commemorate their history and future.
To commemorate its 175th birthday, Aberdeen will begin a yearlong celebration this May. Events observing the Septaquintaquinque- centennial will include observances during Christmas and the 2013 Pilgrimage, but the spotlighted event will take place on the Fourth of July.
A downtown parade celebrating the timeline from the city’s founding on May 12, 1835, by Scotsman Robert Gordon to the present will begin on the Fourth.
“We want to spotlight modes of transportation, music and clothing to represent different decades and periods of the past 175 years,” said Mayor Jim Ballard.
Different historical places throughout town also will be open for tours to reflect on the town’s past.
Ballard is extending an invitation to Aberdeen, Scotland’s Lord Provost Peter Stephen, as part of the planned events recognizing the town’s Scottish heritage.
Following the parade, the event will shift to an afternoon concert featuring local talent. The nighttime ceremony will include gospel and patriotic music, a brief history of the town, a tribute to the 223rd Engineer Combat Battalion of Aberdeen’s National Guard unit currently stationed in Afghanistan and the debut of Aberdeen’s community band. The night will wrap up with a fireworks show over the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
“It’s going to be a great day to celebrate the history of Aberdeen and we encourage everybody to bring their Fourth of July picnic to Blue Bluff for it,” Ballard said.
Amory’s birthday celebration is planned for a little later this year.
Lorie Bryant of Amory Main Street and Bo Miller of the Amory Regional Museum are serving as co-chairs of a committee that will be organizing the 125th birthday bash on Saturday, Nov. 10.
The big day’s activities planned around Frisco Park include a parade starting at 10 a.m. followed by the placement of a time capsule, the release of 125 balloons and birthday cake for 1,000 people.
For those who want to sponsor the party, if they sign on by March 15, they will have a logo placed on the 125th birthday commemorative T-shirt, which will be available for purchase for $15 beginning at the Amory Railroad Festival, which takes place April 11-15.