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Allen County kicks off bicentennial celebration

Allen County, Fort Wayne, and state officials kick off the county's Bicentennial Celebration Monday morning.
Tony Sandleben
Allen County, Fort Wayne, and state officials kick off the county's Bicentennial Celebration Monday morning.

Allen County kicked off its Bicentennial celebration, on its actual 200th birthday on Monday at the Rousseau Centre in downtown Fort Wayne.

The opening ceremony featured county and state officials highlighting the past, present and future of Allen County.

After opening with a moment of silence in honor of the late Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, Indiana House Minority Leader and Fort Wayne State Representative Phil GiaQuinta said Henry was a major supporter of the bicentennial celebration.

“Mayor Henry was a big believer in civic pride and celebrations,” GiaQuinta said.

Allen County Councilman Tom Harris is chair of the Bicentennial Executive Board. He said there will be community events over the next nine months to both honor the county’s past and look forward to its future.

“On Saturday, April 20, we invite the entire community to celebrate Allen County’s bicentennial at the block party.”

That block party will be at the Allen County Courthouse and will have food trucks as well as tours of the Allen County Courthouse. It will coincide with the Fort 4 Fitness Historic Hustle.

“So, that will be an opportunity to be able to walk around and run around and be able to see some of the neat events and different locations in downtown,” Harris said.

Harris also said the bicentennial celebration will have a permanent imprint on the communities in Allen County.

“One of the exciting legacy projects will be a series of sculptures, and they’re called ‘I am Allen,’” Harris said.

The “I am Allen” sculpture series will feature 15 sculptures that will be placed in 15 different communities in Allen County. They will be done by local artists. Harris said each one will be unique.

“An artist will paint some of the history or the important things that have happened in that community's history on the sculpture,” Harris said.

Officials said they expect the sculptures to start going up in the late summer or early fall, not long after they reveal the first ever Allen County flag in June. The bicentennial celebration will culminate in November with the Bicentennial Bash at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Harris said to “look out for more details on that.”

At 200 years old, Allen County is one of the oldest counties in Indiana.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.