By Samantha Biastre
Next year, the borough of Kutztown is celebrating its 200 year anniversary of being incorporated into the state of Pennsylvania, which is also known as a bicentennial. The borough of Kutztown was incorporated into the state of Pennsylvania on March 1, 1815. Kutztown is the second oldest borough in Berks County. Even though the borough was incorporated in 1815, in 1779, George Coots (Kutz) made plans to make the area an official borough.
The bicentennial committee, led by Chairman Craig A. Koller, has many events planned for 2015 when the borough of Kutztown officially turns 200 years old. The committee is made up of some former professors from the university and many influential business and political men and women from the town. To kick off these events, the committee created a book that is filled with pictures from the 1876 observance of the American Centennial in the borough, the 1915 centennial held in town and the 1965 sesqui-centennial as well. The book was written and edited by committee members and will be released on Nov. 8, 2014. The book release is the first of many events to happen.
On Dec. 6, 2014 the annual Christmas in Kutztown event will take place downtown. After all of the holiday festivities end, banners will be put up on light posts on Main Street with the bicentennial logo on them. On Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, a Black Tie Gala will be held in the Georgian Room at the university to kick off the bicentennial events. On March 1, the bell tower at Old Main will ring two hundred times to commemorate the actual day when the borough was integrated into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A fools run will take place in March and followed by a weeklong celebration with many different events taking place from Saturday, July 25 to Sunday Aug. 2.
Some of the events that are happening this summer include a Miss Kutztown Bicentennial Pageant, a walking tour of Kutztown, an ice cream social, a parade and Kutztown Day, which will be held on Aug. 2 at Kutztown Park.
The university has been a great help to the committee with the planning of the events for the bicentennial. The university took out a full page advertisement in the book that is coming out in November, and they have been doing a lot of fundraising. It’s difficult for the students at the university to get involved since all of the main events for the bicentennial are happening in the summer when no one is really present on campus. Koller stated that he hopes “as the time gets closer more people will have more enthusiasm in the celebrations and the university will become more involved.”
For more information about the bicentennial events, the website is http://www.bokutility.com/bicentennial/index.html and there is also a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kutztown.bicentennial?fref=ts