BELLEVILLE — Organizers of a Bicentennial Gala in March celebrating the city of Belleville's 200th birthday promise a fast-paced evening full of surprises, from a red carpet entrance to celebrity appearances.
The March 8 gala,with a "Back to Our Future" theme, will honor the city of Belleville's 200-year history and momentum for successes to come.
"We're reflecting on our past but we're also looking toward the future,"said gala co-chair Molly McKenzie.
Reservations for the $100 per person steak and champagne dinner are due Monday.
Festivities and a cash bar will open at 5 p.m. and dinner starts at 6 p.m. at Fischer's Restaurant, 2100 W. Main St. in Belleville.
To RSVP or for more information,call Belleville Tourism at 618-233-6769. Guests can also make reservations online atwww.belleville200.com or in person at the Bicentennial Store, 227 E. Main St.
Seating is limited. To RSVP after Monday, call first to see if tickets are available.
McKenzie said the "celebrities" expected to attend the gala will be a surprise, but said guests will hear from people who have roots in Belleville and attribute their success to what they learned in the city.
"Let's just say they're successful Bellevillians past and present," McKenzie said. "They're coming from all over the country: Florida, California, New York, locally. We're expecting messages from Germany as well.They're people in sports. They're people in government. They're people in the arts, education, entertainment, cultural figures.Not everyone can be there in person so their message will be seen by Skype."
The emcee for the evening is Tom Calhoun, a Belleville native who is the public address announcer for the St. Louis Blues.
A four-member band, Soul Shake, will perform rock, soul and oldies. The Belleville ensemble has played at events such as the annual Art on the Square and theWest Belleville Wing Fling.
Guests will also be treated to complimentary commemorative photographs and champagne flutes.
"I think it's going to be a very elegant evening," McKenzie said. "People will be delighted by the little surprises we have at the venue."
The event sponsors are Lindenwood University-Belleville, the city of Belleville, the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, The ROHO Group and Eckert's County Store and Farms.
The Belleville 200 Committee has planned numerous events throughout the year for the city's anniversary. There will be a Bicentennial 5K Fun Run/Walk and parade on April 25 and a main celebration during Oktoberfest weekend from Sept. 19-21 when the Beach Boys are slated to perform.