Illinois’ 200th birthday party gets late start, low budget

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Planning for Illinois’ bicentennial celebration lags behind recent anniversaries elsewhere. 

But organizers in Mississippi and Indiana say the Prairie State can draw upon local enthusiasm and pride to get the most out of its 200th birthday.

Illinois turns 200 in December 2018 and events kick off Dec. 3. Celebration director Stuart Layne says a good celebration will cost $6 million.

He acknowledges Illinois got a late start but says political fights the last two years haven’t hampered plans.

Indiana and Mississippi spent tens of millions of dollars in public and private funds and created “legacy” museums and archives.

But Mississippi organizer Katie Blount says the celebration has thrived on “peoples’ ideas.” Former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton in Indiana says prodding local civic groups was key in the Hoosier State.

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