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Capital city to host bicentennial celebration next week

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The capital city is gearing up to celebrate Missouri’s bicentennial next week with a series of events commemorating the milestone. 

The celebration is set to kick off Monday with the dedication of the Bicentennial Bridge, which will provide a pedestrian and bike path from the Capitol to Adrian’s Island along the Missouri River. The bridge will connect to a 30-acre parkland north of the Union Pacific Railroad. The Bicentennial Chessboard, a collaboration with the World Chess Hall of Fame, will also be unveiled on the island. 

Tuesday’s festivities will begin with a formal ceremony marking the official milestone on the front steps of the Capitol at 9 a.m. Gov. Mike Parson will join U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Wilson at the event. 

The Missouri Bicentennial Stamp, which depicts a photograph of the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site near Cape Girardeau, will also be presented Tuesday. The U.S. Postal Service is releasing the stamp as part of its 2021 lineup to honor the state’s milestone.

A United States Naturalization Ceremony will follow at 10:45 a.m. on the first floor of the statehouse, and several displays will be available in the Capitol throughout the day. Visitors can peruse special bicentennial posters designed by Missouri school children, add a note to the Bicentennial Time Capsule, and view quilts designed by the Missouri Star Quilt Company and Missouri 4H from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Visitors will also be able to view collaborative efforts from Missouri artists: The Missouri Bicentennial Mural will also be on display in the statehouse. The large aluminum panel mural depicts various Missouri landmarks, including the Capitol and the Gateway Arch, and is the work of thousands of artists from across the state. The My Missouri 2021 exhibition featuring pictures of the state’s most iconic features from professional and amateur photographers will be presented on the first floor. 

Central Dairy will host an ice cream social in downtown Jefferson City Tuesday, offering free birthday cake sundaes to its first 200 customers and $1 ice cream cones for everyone from 2-5 p.m. 

Visitors will also have access to several displays on both days of the celebration, including the Missouri Bicentennial Timeline located on the first floor of the Capitol. Illustrated by St. Louis artist Dan Zettwoch, the 80-foot timeline will highlight the highs and lows of the state’s history and contain references to the state’s folklore and culture. 

The Missouri State Museum will feature Missouri Trailblazers, an exhibit dedicated to people, groups, and places that made a lasting impact on Missouri. The Show Me Hooked Rugs display will present more than 30 traditional rugs from various artists. 

Visitors can also schedule tours of the Missouri Supreme Court both days to view the first floor, courtroom, and law library. 

The celebration will continue at this year’s State Fair, which is returning in full to commemorate the bicentennial through displays and special challenges. 

Missouri was officially incorporated as the 24th state in the union on Aug. 10, 1821.