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Akron prepares for city’s 200th anniversary celebration

Lillian Opsitnik
Akron Bicentennial Executive Director Mark Greer discusses Akron’s bicentennial plans at the Akron Press Club program on May 30, 2024

The Akron Bicentennial Commission discussed plans for the city of Akron’s 200th anniversary celebration this afternoon at a luncheon hosted by the Akron Press Club at Quaker Station.

The commission was founded with the goal of hosting a city-wide celebration, starting on Dec. 6, 2025, to commemorate the city’s founding.

Mark Greer, executive director and Akron native, intends to make the celebration accessible for the entire community.

“[The] key to our bicentennial mission and vision is to make sure we’re holding bicentennial events in every neighborhood,” he said. “We will have a number of signature events that happen in downtown Akron forums, whether it’s the Civic Theatre, Goodyear Hall, Lock 3, Bicentennial Plaza.”

Greer said the commission plans on having events for all ages and demographics spanning across each of Akron’s neighborhoods.

“No matter where you live, work, something from the Bicentennial will be near you,” he said.

The first event of the bicentennial celebration begins Dec. 11 at the Akron Civic Theatre, featuring live performances from the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Akron Bicentennial Chorus, among others.

The commission also intends to send a magazine to every Akron resident called the Akron Bicentennial magazine.

Published by Live Publishing Company, the magazine will contain information about the city, including its history and popular attractions.

The Akron Bicentennial Commission has yet to release its entire event calendar. Greer said the organization is still in the process of hearing ideas from the community.

“I probably see or hear from someone just about every day who has the next great idea that should be a part of the bicentennial,” he said. “We are still open to your ideas and looking forward to them as we continue to fill out the bicentennial calendar.”

Dave Lieberth, Executive Secretary of the Akron Bicentennial Commission, introduces the speaker for the Akron Press Club program on May 30, 2024. (Lillian Opsitnik)

Executive Secretary Dave Lieberth said the bicentennial is an opportunity for the city to show civic pride and for residents to learn about Akron’s history.

“The nice thing about an anniversary is that it’s not optional,” he said. “It’s 2025, so anniversaries become occasions to get things done that otherwise might not occur.”

Akron was founded by U.S. General Simon Perkins in 1825, according to the Summit County Historical Society.

The city’s centennial celebration in 1925 attracted around 500,000 people to the city, Lieberth said.

Having graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a master’s in music, Greer encourages Kent students and faculty to attend bicentennial events.

“I guarantee that there will be events, concerts and gatherings that all the campus at Kent State will want to enjoy, even if it’s in Akron,” he said.

Michael Neenan is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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Michael Neenan, General Assignment Reporter
Michael is a senior journalism major with a public relations minor. He works as a reporter, covering topics from sports to university administration. Contact him at [email protected]

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