Reelfoot Lake Bicentennial planners busy sharing ideas
Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 9:02 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Organizers of the up-coming Reelfoot Lake Bi-centennial celebration are starting to get a handle on the scope of their project.
Attendance at a planning meeting Monday afternoon attracted 20 people, all of whom shared a sense of enthusiasm about the project.
In fact, the group’s enthusiasm was so boisterous at times during the meeting that the meeting evolved into a melting pot of diverse ideas and proposals.
“It’s still evolving,” planning committee chairman David Haggard told The Messenger after the meeting.
The planning committee met for 90 minutes at the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Center. Haggard tried to maintain control of the meeting and was able to identify several specific projects planned during the lake’s bicentennial.
“I think we know the direction we want to go in,” he said. “And we’re still nine months out from the actual event.”
The committee has been meeting for the past few months working on coming up with an appropriate celebration marking the 200th anniversary of the formation of Reelfoot Lake.
It was during the winter of 1811 and into February of 1812 that a series of violent earthquakes forever transformed the landscape of northwest Tennessee and created Reelfoot Lake.
Organizers are having to work from scratch putting together the celebration, and one of the key elements is raising funds to finance the many planned events.
Judy Barker was one of those at Monday’s meeting and she announced she will begin work on applying for a state grant. The state’s Arts Project Support grant program awards grants to arts projects, with grant amounts ranging from $500 to $10,000.
The committee is also moving forward with plans to offer historic Reelfoot Lake postcards, bicentennial T-shirts, commemorative duck bands and restaurant placemats.
All the items are intended to help raise money for the bicentennial, while also drawing attention to the celebration.
A new bicentennial logo is still being developed and once completed will be used to help promote the celebration.
Already, wildlife artist Frank Baggett has donated an original Reelfoot Lake painting to the committee, and local artist David Flood attended Monday’s meeting and said he would work with the committee.
Other events being planned in conjunction with the upcoming Reelfoot Lake Bicentennial include a 10K walk and run, an Indian pow wow and a play entitled, “Lake of Thunder.” All those events are being planned for this fall at Reelfoot Lake.
The bicentennial celebration is expected to take place over several months, beginning this fall. Organizers are having to plan all their events without any kind of specific budget. One of the key expenses for the celebration — insurance coverage — was discussed during Monday afternoon’s meeting. Although no action was taken, organizers agreed a blanket policy covering all the bicentennial events is needed.
The committee also discussed the possibility of bringing a traveling exhibit from Indiana’s Hanover College to Reelfoot Lake this fall. The exhibit is entitled, “Mr. Roosevelt’s Steamboat Remembered,” and documents the travels of the New Orleans steamboat down the Mississippi River during the time of the 1811-12 earthquakes.
Haggard also advised the committee during Monday’s meeting that he has already contacted the Central United States Earthquake Consortium in Memphis about putting on a program at Reelfoot Lake this fall. He also announced that the Reelfoot Lake Visitors Center’s earthquake display is being renovated and, once completed, will be more interactive.
The bicentennial committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council.
Published in The Messenger 2.1.11