South Bend 150 Website Prepares for City’s Sesquicentennial Celebration

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Sesquicentennial. Try saying that five times fast.

The word does not exactly roll off the tongue, but it is an important milestone that South Bend is about to reach next year. South Bend will turn one-hundred and fifty years old on May 22, 2015.

Yep, the big 1-5-0.

The Northern Indiana city — which has evolved from a small agrarian trading post to a bustling manufacturing hub — is undergoing a rebirth as an “eds and meds” economy with important growing sectors in technology and advanced manufacturing.

The University of Notre Dame has supplanted former industrial titans like Studebaker and Bendix as the largest employer in St. Joseph County. Indiana University South Bend, Ivy Tech and other local colleges, along with regional hospitals combine to employ thousands more.

But South Bend’s 150 year anniversary is as much about celebrating the future as the past and present.

A new website dedicated to the milestone says that “South Bend 150 is a yearlong, community-wide celebration of our rich history and the promise of an even brighter future.”

“Anniversary events will provide opportunities for residents to deepen their connection to the community,” says Aaron Perri, chairperson of the South Bend 150 committee.

The website — which has a countdown clock to the city’s sesquicentennial year — includes a list of events, details for how to register an event, and information on the city’s history.

A timeline ranges from the city’s “early history” and “incorporation” to “peak industry” and “rediscovery”. The site regards 2015 as a “new era” for South Bend.

Birthday weekend events include a downtown volleyball tournament and an outdoor “adventure park” along the St. Joseph River.

The adventure park will have “zip lines, ropes course, bumper cars, mini golf, roller skating, yoga, zumba, skateboarding, and competitions.”

If outdoor sports are not your thing, an artisan festival, a kids’ zone, and wine tasting will also take place.

More events are likely to be added in the run-up to the city’s sesquicentennial in May 2015.

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