Two hundred years ago Eden was formed, along with Hamburg and Concord, on March 20 and March 21 when a large township called Willink, which included all of Erie County south of the center of the Buffalo Creek Reservation, split into four towns: Eden, Hamburg, Willink and Concord; Willink no longer exists today. During that time, Eden included the areas of the current towns of Brant, Evans and a part of Boston.
As time went on, sections of Eden have split off and other municipalities were formed until it became the town known today.
Now, the three towns are celebrating their bicentennials with different celebrations and events.
On July 27 through July 29 part of the Bicentennial Celebration for Eden will take place at the same time as Eden Alumni Weekend; the three days will be packed full of events for persons of all ages to enjoy.
On Friday night, July 27, the Paul Zittel band will be playing at the Legion barn at American Legion Post 880 in Eden on Legion Drive from 7:30 until 11:30 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., the band will take a break and the fireworks which were postponed from January will be shooting off at the Legion.
On Saturday, July 28 there will be historical trolley tours from noon until 3 p.m.
“What’s happening there is that we will put people on a trolley and we will go to 10 different spots in town and have re-enactors who will be representing the particular spots we are stopping at,” said Sue Minekime, the co-town historian and co-chair of the Bicentennial Committee. “They will actually get on the trolley and do a little spiel about who they are and how they fit into Eden’s history. We’ll also have narrators on the bus to talk about in between sites and that kind of thing as we go along.”
Reservations need to be made for the trolley tours at www.eden200.com.
There will also be a car show from 4 to 9 p.m. at the American Legion and a Taste of Eden from 2 to 5 p.m. ongoing through Saturday as well.
The Alumni Association Dinner will start at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 880. Following the dinner will be a Dancing through the Decades of Eden. There will be music from the 1940s through 2012 and feel free to come dressed from any era.
On Sunday, July 29 at 10:30 a.m. there will be a mass at St. Mary’s in East Eden. The trolley tours will continue on Sunday.
In addition, people will be able to visit American Legion Post 880 to see the largest traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall starting at noon on July 19 until 3 p.m. on July 22. The morning ceremonies will be at 8 a.m. and evening ceremonies will be at 8 p.m. The wall will be available for viewing 24 hours a day.
During the Alumni Weekend, there will be a store front at 8561 North Main St., in Eden, selling bicentennial merchandise. Hours will be announced.
Citizens also have up until Aug. 15 to enter the Giant Trees of Eden Contest. Contest will need to identify and measure their favorite giant tree located in Eden. Entrants must be Eden residents between the ages of 7 to 13-years-old. There will be 10 winners for 10 different species of trees. Winners will be notified by mail and be present at a formal presentation during the Board Meeting on Sept. 12. Each winner will receive a framed photo of the tree and recipient, a bicentennial pin and a $5 Dairy Queen certificate. No tree can be selected which was a winner in the past contest in 2004. For the rules, visit eden200.com/giant-trees-of-eden-contest/
There are some current on-going events for the bicentennial such as a cemetery tour. Citizens can pick up the free brochure at the town clerk’s office, Randall Agency, Pennysaver office and the Kazoo factory. The brochure highlights different graves in the Evergreen Cemetery in Eden and lists all the other cemeteries in town.
In addition, a self-guided audio CD driving tour of historic sites can be purchased. The tour will direct people from location to location, informing participants about the history for each of the 11 sites visited.
The tour takes approximately 90 minutes and covers 20 miles in the town of Eden. It can be picked up at either the Eden Town Hall or 2795 East Church Street for $7.
For more information on the CD, visit www.eden200.com or call 648-1497.
Future events for the Eden Bicentennial will include participating in the Corn Festival. The Bicentennial will have a float in the parade and will be on grounds with information and merchandise in the Eden Agricultural and Community Showcase tent.
“There will be opportunities to do cut-outs, the photo opportunities in the old fashioned dress kind of thing,” said Minekime.
There will also be a Heritage Day Weekend from Sept. 21 through Sept. 23.