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Demopolis Bicentennial

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 09/14/2017 - 09/17/2017
7:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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Demopolis, Alabama – The People’s City, founded by French exiles in 1817, has been opening its doors to visitors for the past 200 years.
We look forward to welcoming visitors, past residents, and locals for a homecoming September 14-17, 2017. Marengo County Historical Society is celebrating Demopolis’ Bicentennial with a weekend of events, including a Pilgrimage of historic homes dating back to 1829. Tour decades of Southern architecture, art, and decoration; explore 1817 French wallpaper with historical scholar, Betje Klier; admire original paintings
by prominent artist Julyan Davis inspired by Demopolis and the Black Belt. Watch Davis create new pieces featuring the interior of Lyon Hall during a live painting exhibition. Get your groove on with the Lamont Landers Band at the Black-Tie Gala at the Demopolis Civic Center, including reworks overlooking the Tombigbee River. Celebrate 200 years in one jam-packed weekend!

Kick off the weekend at Gaineswood, a National Landmark, with a reception and time of fellowship on the front porch of the mansion from 7-7:30pm. At 7:30, guests will adjourn to the drawing room to enjoy a short theatrical drama of the history of Marengo County, Demopolis, the Whitfield family and Gaineswood presented by the Gaineswood Belles and Beaux. The drama will conclude around 8pm.

On Friday, September 15, enjoy a free talk at Demopolis Public Library’s Lunch-N-Learn! Independent scholar Betje Klier will present “Bourbons Before Bourbon,” a talk on the French exiles that settled Demopolis. Klier will clear up any confusion about the which French people were here. Pay for lunch through the Demopolis Public Library, or bring your own. Pleas contact DPL at 334.289.0595 for more information.

Centered around Public Square, dedicated in 1819, historic downtown Demopolis features structures dating back to 1843. Explore downtown during an extended-hours open house and art walk sponsored by the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce on Friday, September 15, 5pm-7pm. Just a block away, at Lyon Hall, artist Julyan Davis’ Demopolis works will be on exhibit with a talk by the artist at 6pm, sponsored by Marengo County Historical Society. Then walk back to Public Square to listen to Kenny Heard and his 4 piece band from 7-11pm sponsored by the City of Demopolis. When California funk meets Alabama soul, you get Kenny Heard!

The Bicentennial Pilgrimage of Homes kicks off Saturday, September 16, at 10am. Tour over 16 houses, including Lyon Hall, where Julyan Davis will be painting scenes of Demopolis from 10am-2pm. Davis’ Demopolis works will be on exhibit at Lyon Hall Saturday, 10am-2pm, and Sunday, 2-5pm. Get your signed copy of Visions of the Black Belt and meet authors Robin McDonald and Valerie Pope Burns at Blu Hall from 1-3pm. Pilgrimage tickets are $30 per person and are available at Blu Hall, 407 North Commissioners Ave, beginning August 15, (334.289.9644). Purchase a VIP Pilgrimage ticket for $50, and you’ll get to tour all the pilgrimage houses PLUS enjoy a boxed lunch and tour of Rooster Hall with a talk on the Rooster Auction of 1919, at 12noon on Saturday. In addition, at 2pm VIP ticket holders will be treated to a guided tour of Lyon Hall including the second floor and roof! VIP tickets are available August 15-September 8, 2017. Regular pilgrimage tickets are available prior to and on the day of the event.

Demopolis only turns 200 once! Grab your formal dress and tux and join us at the Bicentennial Gala. This black-tie event at the Demopolis Civic Center, perched on the White Bluffs overlooking the Tombigbee River, features the joyful noise of Soul, Funk, and R&B known as the Lamont Landers Band. Born and raised in Alabama, Lamont Landers grew up absorbing the soulful sounds of the south that surrounded him and became a YouTube sensation when his sister posted a candid video of him performing that went viral. Finish the night with reworks over the Tombigbee sponsored by the City of Demopolis. Bicentennial Gala tickets are $50 per person and are available at Bluff Hall, beginning August 15.

The Bicentennnial Pilgrimage of Homes continues on Sunday, September 17, 2017, from 2pm-5pm. VIP ticket holders will tour one additional house at 1pm! Learn about Demopolis’ French roots and the Vine & Olive Colony wallpaper at a talk given by Betje Klier at the Coplin Building, 203 East Washington Street, at 3pm. Ms. Klier has spent years researching the hand-painted French wallpaper painted in 1817, and will share with us interesting facts recently discovered. Klier’s talk is free to the public.

For more information, please contact Marengo County Historical Society at 334.289.9644, marengohistory@bellsouth.net, or PO Box 159, Demopolis, AL 36732.