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Posted: 02/13/13

Don't miss Romeo's

Observer Staff Writer
All the fun starts March 9
and continues into May
      It's not everyday the word "dodransbicentennial" is used to describe an event, and like it's length, the celebration of such an occasion should be big.
       That's what volunteers have worked on for months so local residents and out-of-town guests alike can celebrate in the 175th anniversary of the Village of Romeo on March 9 in style.
       An open house will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the Romeo Masonic Temple. Following the open house is a dinner ball to be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., also at the Romeo Masonic Temple.
       Kim Hale, co-chair of the 175th Anniversary Committee, said the idea was to create a family-friendly event that is accessible to everyone regardless of a downturned economy.
       "What we really tried to do with the whole event is make sure this is free," Hale said. "It's really just trying to give everyone a reason to get together and celebrate when Romeo formed as a village."
       Planning for the event began a year ago, with the committee meeting monthly and gathering sponsorships to keep costs to guests at a minimum.
       The newest edition to the March 9 celebration is the Michigan Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial. The wall is a movable tribute to the 2,653 Michigan soldiers that died in the Vietnam War. Of them, Hale said two were from Romeo and will be honored during the event.
       "Since so many people in the local community have experienced the local history already, we wanted to bring in something fresh and new that was a part of our history," Hale said.
       The open house also includes a ceremonial cutting and serving of an anniversary cake and refreshments to guests as well as face painting and balloon sculptures.
       Throughout the day, performances from the local groups such as the high school band, a local rock band and a theater group will take the stage throughout the afternoon.
       Kids in grades K-5 can participate in a historical costume contest at 2 p.m., where they can dress as a figure from Romeo's past or in period costumes.
       "It's getting the younger ones to embrace history and carry the mantle forward," Hale said.
       Another way youths are becoming involved is a writing contest, with the winners announced prior to the costume contest.
       Sara Murray, 175th Anniversary Committee co-chair, said the writing contest entries were submitted on Feb. 8 and will be judged this week. The winner receives a certificate and the opportunity to read their entry during the event.
       "It was free reign on what they could write, whether they wanted to write a history piece of what they know or if they wanted to write from the perspective of what it was like to live in 1838," Murray said.
       The only event that is not free during the birthday celebration is the ball, which has tickets on sale for $40 per person or two for $75. Hale said around 75 to 80 percent of the tickets have been sold already, with the proceeds going toward covering the ball itself.
       Hale said there are a couple of surprises in store for guests at the ball, including a special 175th commemorative souvenir.
       "I think people who attend the dinner ball are going to be really surprised and pleased," she said.
       Part of the ball includes the viewing of a new documentary about Romeo, put together by MiCommunity Media. The documentary focuses on Romeo's past with interviews from community members young and old alike.
       The celebration will continue on May 18 with historical exhibits and street vendors and a laser light show.
       For further information, visit

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