The year will be packed with special programs and events to celebrate the history of Haywood County, from agriculture and industry to music and dance.
“This is an opportunity for everybody to celebrate,” said Mary Ann Enloe, a county commissioner and the lead organizer for the Haywood County 2008 bicentennial.
To get a handle on 200 years of history since Haywood was made a county, each month will have a different theme. January is professions and industries, May is Veterans, June is towns, August is agriculture, September is music and so on.
Since the bicentennial is an all-volunteer undertaking, Enloe is soliciting as many volunteers as possible to help with the line up of programs and projects. The direction the bicentennial takes will depend on the community groups, clubs and individuals who step forward to pitch in, Enloe said. Committees on various and sundry subjects are currently in the formation stages.
“It will be up to the committees to decide what they want to do and I will certainly help them find the venues to do it,” Enloe said. “The committees have broad parameters to establish what they would like to do.”
For example, there could be walking tours of the downtowns during June, designated for town histories, and farm tours in August for the agriculture month. There could be slide shows on the early days of logging in January for industries and old-time music workshops in September.
Volunteers can pitch in as much or as little as they can offer. For example, the veterans groups are planning multiple activities to celebrate and learn about the history of veterans during their month. But someone with an interest in the early railroad days might offer to do a one-time talk on rail history in Haywood County. Or a student might want to contribute sound recordings of oral histories from their grandparents.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to be involved if they want to be. There is something here for everybody,” Enloe said.
Several groups that host recurring events or festivals each year are jumping on the bicentennial bandwagon by incorporating historical themes.
“These are opportunities for people to come forward and promote Haywood County,” Enloe said.
Some of the projects that evolve out of the bicentennial could become permanent fixtures.
“We hope much of this will be perpetuated,” Enloe said.
Anyone who wants to help or just learn more can come to a meeting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the Mountain Area Resource Center on Russ Avenue past K-Mart 828.452.4896.