PALMYRA, Mo. -- Planning for Palmyra's bicentennial celebration in 2019 is starting to pick up speed.
More than 30 people showed up for an organizational meeting Oct. 17 to show their willingness to help get the ball rolling. A second startup meeting -- open to the public -- will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Sesquicentennial Building at Flower City Park.
"Everybody is welcome to come," said David Hastings, who by consensus was selected to be chairman of a newly formed bicentennial steering committee.
Hastings, president of Palmyra's Heritage Seekers organization, stepped forward more than a year ago when Mayor Loren Graham began looking for volunteers to assist with long-range planning for the city's 200th anniversary celebration.
"He's interested in history and has already done a lot of work to get some things set up," Graham said. "So it was natural that he would be selected to serve as chairman."
Hastings said he is happy to take a lead role to help prepare for this momentous occasion in Palmyra's history.
"I like doing this kind of stuff," said Hastings, who for many years was chairman of the 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Palmyra.
Hastings said planning for the bicentennial is still in the early stages. While no plans have been set, one thing he'd like to see is a big bicentennial parade in September 2019.
Hastings' goal with the parade is "to have something completely different than what we've done before," he said. "I want to have that ‘wow' factor."
Hastings said the first order of business is to establish a theme for the celebration. Community members are being invited to submit ideas. The person submitting the winning theme will earn a $200 prize symbolic of the 200th anniversary.
Theme proposals can be dropped off at City Hall or submitted by phone to Hastings at 660-679-1276.
Hastings said the theme suggestions will be reviewed at next week's meeting.
"We'll look them over and try to pick something out and go from there," he said.
Once a theme is selected and a logo developed, "then we can go full force" in planning details, he said. "We've got some ideas on where we want to go, but it's a matter of getting a lot of other stuff lined up, too."
Graham said one key decision is how long the celebration will last.
In 1969, when Palmyra marked its 150th anniversary, the town celebrated with lots of different activities through the year.?"We need to decide if we want a yearlong celebration like they did back then, or do we want a one-month celebration or a one-week celebration?" Graham said. "That's one thing the committee will try to decide."
During the Oct. 17 meeting, representatives of the Palmyra American Legion noted that the Legion will celebrate its 100th anniversary in March 2019. There was talk about using the Legion's anniversary as a way to kick off Palmyra's bicentennial celebration.
"We're looking at how we might tie things in with that," Hastings said.
Graham and Hastings said they were encouraged by strong interest by those attending the Oct. 17 meeting.
"The people who showed up were very serious about wanting to put something together and help as much as they can," Graham said.
Hastings said once a solid core is formed to serve on the steering committee, he and other volunteers will begin making presentations to local service clubs, churches and business groups to seek additional volunteers, ideas and support for activities related to the bicentennial.
"The people in Palmyra have always supported everything," Hastings said. "Everybody just kind of pitches in and helps out."