GRATIS — According to the Gratis Bicentennial Committee, its closing ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon-6 p.m at the Herbert J. Coleman Park. The celebration will feature live music, food, face painting, an inflatable ride, and more.
The village celebrated its 200th birthday over the weekend beginning Saturday, June 10. According to the committee, the ceremony was a success. The entire town came together to honor the village with games, contests, and enjoyed guest speaker Donnie Lewis.
During the celebration, the committee opened the time capsule, but they decided not to close the relic right away. Instead, they decided to leave the contents on display at the Gratis Library. Now it is time to close the capsule and officially end the bicentennial year.
“We’re asking people to bring their own chairs. There will be some seating out there, but they can bring their own chairs,” Bicentennial Committee co-chair Robin Richardson said. “We will have live music by the band Fourth & York, it is made up of local fire and EMS members. We will also have a DJ, face painting, and a huge inflatable for the kids. It’s a train and it is 60 foot long, 12 feet high, and seven feet wide. We’ll have that for the kids.”
“We are also going to have a raffle of a signed autograph Peter Frampton album,” Richardson added. “It is from Donnie Lewis’ private collection. We’re going to raffle that off.”
As for food, Richardson said there will be food available, but the committee is having difficulties securing vendors due to the upcoming fall festivals. She specifically wanted Kettle Corn, but cannot seem to find an open vendor.
Other than food, there will be other items for purchase at the closing ceremony. The Gratis Bicentennial Books will be selling for $20 and will feature “the lost history of Gratis,” according to Richardson. She said, “These are things that were missed on the first book that was printed. Stuff that we found and decided to put in the book.”
The Bicentennial Plates will also be ready — those can be bought for $20. T-shirts can also still be bought for $15. There will be a Bicentennial Celebration CD that has more than 400 pictures on it for sale. Richardson was not sure of the price, but she estimated $15.
The closing of the time capsule will take place at 4 p.m. She added, “We’re asking any of the local residents of Gratis and the local businesses to drop off a small item or picture with a note to put in the time capsule. They can either bring that the day of the closing or drop it off at the council room.”
The committee will be providing paper, envelopes, and pens for anyone who wishes to write a note for the capsule.
Richardson is also looking for more volunteers. She said the committee could always use more help. If interested, contact the village office at 937-787-3728.