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More than 200 people attend 200th birthday party

It is not every day there is a chance to commemorate a 200th birthday, so residents of Franklin County packed the A.W. Todd Center Thursday night to celebrate the state of Alabama, Franklin County and Russellville city turning 200 years old.

More than 200 people attended the event and indulged in an old-fashioned meal of smoked chicken, pinto beans, turnip greens, potato salad, cornbread and fried pies before cutting into a birthday cake made to look like the historic Roxy Theater. Bicentennial Committee Chair Chris Ozbirn said her favorite part of the cake was all of the detail – from the KGB signs on the windows to the cigarette butt in the trash can out front.

“We have so much here to celebrate, and I’m just glad to be here celebrating with all of these people,” Ozbirn said.

In addition to enjoying the old-fashioned food, several in attendance dressed to represent different time periods, with a few attendees even dressing as Confederate and Union soldiers.

Speakers for the night were Russellville Mayor David Grissom, Franklin County Probate Judge Barry Moore and State Rep. Jamie Kiel.

Grissom presented a copy of a resolution passed at a recent city council meeting to each member of the Bicentennial Committee as a token of appreciation for all of their hard work.

“We are just so thankful for all of the work you have all put in to making this happen,” Grissom said.

Guests for the night included members of the Russellville City Council, Franklin County Commission and Vina Town Council.

Entertainment for the night was provided by the Athens Dulcimer Jam Group as guests arrived and finished their meals.

Several guests received “birthday presents,” door prizes courtesy of sponsors and local businesses, and one guest who completed the Franklin County Pastport received a basket full of items from a local business.

The night ended with Master of Ceremonies Scott Mugno reminding everyone to mark their calendars for the 2119 tricentennial.

“The time and place is to be determined, but mark your calendars so we can all make sure to come out and celebrate together again,” Mugno said with a smile.