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Erie County set to celebrate 200th birthday

April 2 is the anniversary of Erie County's recognition as a county.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County is set to celebrate its bicentennial birthday this year. 

More than 200 partners and volunteers from across the county will take part in the celebration, being called 'EC200' which kicks off April 2, 2021 and runs through April 2022.

April 2 is the anniversary of Erie County's recognition as a county.

“This bicentennial celebration will spotlight Erie County’s history, from its incorporation to today, and will also commemorate the hardworking men and women who built what we know today. A year of education, fun, and history is in store and set to begin on April 2,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I want to thank the many, many partners and community volunteers who are joining in this effort and supporting EC200 by presenting programs or volunteering to help in some way. Throughout Erie County’s history, our people have always been our greatest asset and we are seeing that again with EC200.”

Planning for EC200 has been two years in the making that included the County Executive's office, the Buffalo History Museum, as well as historical, cultural and community stakeholders. 

Erie County Historian Douglas Kohler said, “The county's bicentennial commemoration provides us an exciting opportunity to illuminate the little-known stories of our past. Throughout the coming year, we will strive to honor the men and women, who through their contributions and sacrifices, helped to build our community. We will endeavor to commemorate the many moments, like the War of 1812 and the Pan-American Exposition, when the eyes of the world were upon us, and we will celebrate the presidents, the inventors, the businessmen and women and the millions of immigrants who helped to forge our community and county.”

Among the activities residents can participate to celebrate: 

•    an EC200 Passport with over thirty historical sites to visit around Erie County; 

•    a special bicentennial concert to be recorded by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for later air; 

•    WNED-TV will bring back the “Our Town” series along with other videos of local historical significance to be aired locally for the first time in many years, or ever;

•    various speaker series and reading events will be held, virtually and in-person when safe; this will include the Erie County Department of Senior Services’ University Express program; 

•    virtual historical story maps will be created by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and students at Buffalo State College;

•    an Erie County bicentennial exhibit will be opening at the Buffalo History Museum;

•    Flying Bison Brewery will release “Erie County Parks and Recreation” pilsner, a celebratory brew, with other breweries expected to release their own bicentennial editions; 

•    a Community Calendar of events and bicentennial information will be hosted by Visit Buffalo Niagara;

•    events highlighting the many ways that local groups celebrate their traditions and holidays; 

•    self-guided tours and group tours of historical sites across Erie County;

•    a curriculum is being developed for Erie County students on local history; and

•    free or discounted admission to local historical sites, museums and cultural attractions where noted.    

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the events planned will follow restrictions and guidelines put forth by New York State and the Erie County Department of Health. 

For more information on EC200, check out their website here: https://www3.erie.gov/ec200/