BELLEVILLE — Bellevillians shared ideas of how to celebrate the city's 200th birthday at a public meeting on Wednesday.
Laura Grandy suggested a long run from Lindenwood University to Southwestern Illinois College, or a relay from one end of Main Street to another.
Victoria Weygandt brought a book of St. Clair County's history from 1686 to 1881 for inspiration.
The 27-member steering committee is looking for more ideas and more volunteers for the bicentennial in 2014.
"We want to engage everybody to think, 'What can I do special for this year?'" said Debbie Belleville, manager of operations for the Parks and Recreation Department. "We're trying to think outside the box."
Mayor Mark Eckert said he sees the events being celebratory, educational and a "springboard" to excite residents about Belleville.
The year-long celebration will, tentatively, involve a kick-off party earlier in the year and a main celebration to coincide with Oktoberfest.
Belleville hopes schools, churches, Scott Air Force Base and other organizations will plan events throughout the year.
For example, Grandy was in kindergarten during the 150th anniversary year. She and other schoolchildren dressed as little ducklings and sang songs in German.
Other ideas included a gala, parade, city store and history book, which were done in previous anniversary celebrations.
Another idea is to do 200 service events, including having groups help build the city's new Bicentennial Park, and having all organizations do something special to commemorate the bicentennial, such as a Belleville Philharmonic Society performance on how music has changed through the years.
Planners have already created a mission statement, code of conduct form and sub-committees.
Next, organizers say it's imperative for them to start raising money. A weekend celebration for the city's 175th birthday in 1989 cost $145,000 -- which the committee estimated to equal about $280,000 today.
Belleville, who was also involved in the 175th anniversary, said she wants the 2014 events to inspire children, who will then return to help plan the city's 225th birthday.
Belleville was part of the Parks and Recreation Department group that dressed in old German attire and organized a hospitality room.
"I remember it was a great time, so I want to be part of it again," Belleville said.