A public ceremony at the Jennings County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Wednesday will mark the 200th birthday of Jennings County.

The event will include the raising of the first official flag of Jennings County and kick off a year of celebrations and projects to celebrate the county’s bicentennial.

“Wednesday’s ceremony will mark the official 200th birthday of our county and we are asking the local churches to ring their bells when we raise the flag,” said Tom Taylor, a member of the county’s bicentennial committee.

Many organizations and volunteers will be present and involved in the ceremony, and organizers are hoping many residents attend, Taylor added.

The ceremony will begin the third in a string of bicentennial celebrations. Vernon celebrated its 200th birthday in 2015 and Indiana celebrated its bicentennial in 2016.

While Indiana became a state Dec. 11, 1816, the official paperwork to establish Jennings County was not filed until Dec. 27, 1816, and did not go into effect until Feb. 1, 1817.

In order to avoid historical inaccuracies in the future, it was decided Jennings County would celebrate its bicentennial separately and in addition to the state’s bicentennial.

While it would have been easier to go with the state’s bicentennial celebration, it would not have been accurate, Taylor said.

“It would be a little like asking someone born on December 26 to always celebrate their birthday on Christmas. It would not be the same,” Taylor added.

A bicentennial committee was formed to organize the county’s activities. The four-member team titled the bicentennial celebration as JC 200.

Taylor and the other members of the committee — Rodger Ruddick, Tom Rice and Sheila Kell — worked with the Jennings County Commissioners and a group that coordinated state bicentennial celebrations locally to develop a plan for JC 200.

The first projects of JC 200 were the creation of an official seal and an official flag for the county. The committee also opted against celebration efforts featuring a festival.

“We decided to go with forward-looking projects that would involve the community and make our community a better community for the future,” Taylor said.

“We are hoping many different people with different interests get involved with projects of their own. The projects don’t have to be large or important. They can be just simple things like planting wild flowers or photography projects, historical or forward thinking,” he added.

Any individual, organization, school or business who has an idea for a project under the JC 200 banner may contact Kell at the Jennings County Public Library. Kell will review the projects and then refer each one to other committee members for assistance.

“We have no budget, but the committee and other volunteers are available to advise on how to get the project done,” Taylor said.

If you go

WHAT: Ceremony in honor of Jennings County’s 200th birthday, and reception following

WHEN: 11 a.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Jennings County Courthouse, 24 N. Pike St., Vernon

NOTABLE: The free, public ceremony will begin in the Circuit Court room, will be followed by a flag raising outside and will conclude with a short reception at the Jennings County Historical Society,  across the street at 134 E. Brown St.