Having a (bicentennial) ball
Madisonians prepare to celebrate their city’s 200-year birthday
By Kathryn Purcell
Bicentennial organizers are getting ready to party like it’s 1809.
James Madison has recently been sent to the White House with quintessential entertainer Dolly Madison at his side. And a young Georgia entrepreneur named Elijah Wyatt has just sold 25 one-acre lots in a town that the Inferior Court of Morgan County will soon name “Madison.” After the president.
Fast-forward 200 years and a big bicentennial party commemorating these Madison events are in the making.
“It’s a celebration of the birthday of this place that we all love,” said Madisonian Chris Lambert of the Bicentennial Ball planned for January 9, 2009. “We need to be together and celebrate and congratulate ourselves on how lucky we are to live here,” said Lambert.
The ball is being sponsored by the Madison Bicentennial Committee, and Lambert and Adelaide Ponder, former owner and long-time editor of The Madisonian, are heading up the planning for the event.
“We decided to have a kick-off for the bicentennial year, and a ball is a great way to do it,” said Lambert.
Much like the Morgan County Bicentennial, which took place in 2007, the upcoming Madison Bicentennial will involve a year’s worth of celebrations in the community, sponsored by schools, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, and the city itself, among others.
The ball itself has been in the works for nearly seven years.
“I called the Cultural Center in 2002 to reserve the hall,” remembers Lambert. “And they said ‘What year?’”
“This is an historic event that people are not going to want to miss,” said local business owner and ball committee member Ginger Gardner. “Anybody who calls Madison home will want to take part.”
“Save the Date” cards will soon be going out to members of the community but party organizers want citizens to know that this party is for everybody. If you don’t get a card detailing how to make a reservation call city hall and ask for one. The $100-per-person price tag might seem kind of high, but this is no fundraiser.
“The event itself is going to cost that much,” said Lambert. “It is going to be first class.” Attendees will sign a commemorative guest registry, enjoy cocktails and a three-course Presidential Dinner (think 19th-century menu). Dancing to the sounds of the Atlanta Seventeen will follow dinner. Waiters from Lee Epting Catering will serve in period costume and each guest will take away a “significant keepsake favor,” according to Lambert.
The dress code will be formal, but not fussy.
“If you put on something and you feel like you’re coming to a ball, then come on,” said Lambert. “Come and celebrate this historic event – it won’t happen again for another 100 years.”