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Decatur is celebrating its bicentennial this weekend

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Decatur is celebrating its bicentennial this weekend

FILE PHOTO: Siam Thai restaurant owner Narit Narajit McCrary, one of the event organizers (left) helps Mayor Patti Garrett fire off biodegradable confetti to celebrate the start the International Festival on the Decatur Square on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The city of Decatur is turning 200 on Dec. 10 and the city hosting several events this weekend to celebrate.

DeKalb County was established in 1822 and that year the Georgia General Assembly designated a site for a new courthouse in the county. A year later, in 1823, the city of Decatur was incorporated, making it one of the oldest in the state, according to a proclamation Mayor Patti Garrett read during the Dec. 4 city commission meeting.

“Whereas, it is acknowledged that the land upon which the city was established was home to the Muscogee (Creek) Tribe of Native Americans, and they were forced from their homeland; and, whereas, it is further acknowledged that the city’s early economy relied on slave labor, and enslaved Africans were sold at the current location of the historic DeKalb County Courthouse,” Garrett said.

The proclamation additionally says that as early as 1849, Decatur promoted itself as a small town that offered an attractive and quiet place to live. The city also centers on a thriving business area surrounded by historic neighborhoods, schools, parks, playgrounds and places of worship.

Here is what’s happening this weekend:

– A bicentennial walk/run will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Legacy Park, located at 500 S. Columbia Drive. A one-mile youth race will begin at 8:45 a.m. and a 5K walk/run begins at 9:30 a.m. To register, click here. Proceeds raised from the walk/run will go to the bicentennial fund.

– The bicentennial parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9. The parade will line up at 2 p.m. at the Decatur Post Office. The parade steps off at 3 p.m. and heads to the Square. To sign up to be in the parade, click here. The tail end of the parade will feature a dog parade. Leashes are required. To register to walk your dog in the dog portion of the parade, click here.

The parade route is about one mile long, along West Ponce de Leon Ave. The parade will go down West Ponce, turn right onto Church Street, turn right onto West Trinity Place, and end at North McDonough Street, according to the city’s website.

After the parade, 200th birthday activities will take place on the Square. There will be a family-friendly community celebration, cupcakes, and attendees are encouraged to fill out a “What I Wish for Decatur’s Future” card. The Metronomes will perform at 4 p.m. on the community bandstand and fireworks will launch at dark, which is around 5:30 p.m.

– City Planner Aileen de la Torre will lead a walking tour on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 12:30 p.m. The hour-long walking tour will focus on the downtown area, which is the oldest part of the city.

– The city will hold a screening and panel discussion of the 200 Stories project on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Agnes Scott College, located at 141 E. College Avenue.

“In celebration of Decatur’s bicentennial, the City partnered with Agnes Scott College, Story Corps and the Savannah College of Art and Design – Atlanta (SCAD) to collect stories from Decatur community members, past and present,” the city’s website states. “The 200 Stories initiative was created to help preserve and document the history of those who are or have been a part of the Decatur community. Through the power of storytelling, we get to meet, connect with, and learn from those who have and continue to make Decatur what it is today and will be in the future.”

The screening is free to attend, but anyone interested in attending is encouraged to register. To register for the event, click here.

– The Chabad Intown menorah lighting will be held on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4:30 p.m. on the Square and will feature donuts, dreidels, latkes, crafts for kids and more.

For more information about the bicentennial events, click here.

Also in celebration of the bicentennial, a beer and mocktail have been created and brewed.

Nick Brackett, the lead bartender and bar manager for the White Bull restaurant, created the bicentennial mocktail. Brackett began researching how larger ceremonies were celebrated when the city’s events coordinator asked him about creating a bicentennial mocktail. He noticed punches have been a popular drink, according to the Decatur Focus.

“As Nick was developing the mocktail recipe, he started thinking of ways to create a glamorous beverage that could be
enjoyed by all and feature seasonal winter ingredients. To start, Nick included persimmons, his favorite fruit, and incorporated winter spices like cinnamon and clove,” the Focus article says. “There are two ways to enjoy this beverage: cold as a punch or hot as a wassail.”

To see the recipe in the November Focus, click here.

Three Taverns Brewery also released a commemorative beer to celebrate Decatur’s 200th birthday. The beer is available in 6-packs at the brewery and in very limited distribution. Decaturish has seen the cans at S&N Package Store on Lawrenceville Highway.

“When city leaders asked us to make a beer for the 200th year anniversary of the founding of Decatur, we happily agreed and brewed an approachable cold pale ale to celebrate our amazing hometown,” the brewery staff said in a Facebook post. “Decatur 200 cold pale ale is a hybrid ale fermented with lager yeast and dry hopped with Centennial (of course), Mosaic, and Riwaka.”

The pale ale is available on draft as well at Three Taverns Brewery, as well as at other Decatur bars and restaurants.

“Cheers to 200 years and the craft beer centric community of Decatur,” the Facebook post says.

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