Lansing's 200th birthday was on April 17th of this year, and on September 9th the whole community will be celebrating. The Lansing Bicentennial Celebration will begin with a parade that leads to Lansing Central Fire Station, where a carnival will include rides, food, booths, and an old fashioned ice cream truck.
"We wanted it to be more of a hometown fair," says Bicentennial Committee Co-chair Mesa Mayton. "Corn hole games, ring toss games, more of a throwback. We want to get as many people in as possible and just make it a fun day."
The event is a merged version of Lansing Day and the Lansing Fire Department carnival. In fact, it is taking place in the field behind Central Station where the old carnival used to be held. This celebration isn't about history. The Lansing Historical Association already had an exhibit at the historical North Log Cabin in Myers Park on July 4th and 5th. This celebration is simply about getting the community together for a fun day.
The parade will begin at Woodsedge Drive at 10:30, and lead to the carnival, which opens at 11.
"The next Jenneration is walking," Mayton says. "The Small Fry Cheerleaders, Kirksway Farm, Car Pride, and the Ithaca car club as well. A few others will be in the parade, including the fire trucks, of course."
The committee decided not to hold the celebration on the real anniversary date, feeling that early September would work better for families.
"Since April is not a pleasant time of year to celebrate we decided we would take the summer to raise the funds and then have it right after kids come back to school," Mayton says. "We won't interrupt people's vacations, Labor Day, or things of that nature."
T-shirts, buttons and phone wallets have been on sale all summer, and the committee has been giving out free bicentennial refrigerator magnets as well. Between sales and donations they have raised nearly $2,000to add to a $10,000 donation from Cargill Deicing Technology. Cargill is also providing volunteers to help the six or eight people who make up the core of the celebration committee, with participation from the Lansing Community Council and the Lansing Fire Department as well. The Cargill volunteers will help with parking, traffic control, crowd control, cleaning or whatever is needed. Bicentennial swag will also be on sale during the celebration.
"The buttons are one family's ticket to the carnival rides," Mayton says. "It will give that family's children the opportunity to ride the rides all day for free. We will be selling buttons on the day of the carnival, and we will be selling wrist bands when we run out of buttons.
That includes DJ Rick Uhl, food provided by the fire department, as well as the usual carnival food like funnel cakes and cotton candy. The he Mega-Moo ice cream truck will be on hand, and people who have made monetary or in-kind donations, or participate in the parade will have the opportunity to have a table at the celebration to showcase their businesses.
The first settlers came to what is now Lansing in 1791. In 1789 the area was divided into military lots to repay the Revolutionary war soldiers for their service. John Lansing, Secretary to General Schuyler, was charged with granting this land. Later the North Family, whose original log cabin now sits at the entrance to Myers Park, moved to Michigan and named Lansing, Michigan. On April 17, 1817 Milton County was split into Cayuga and Tompkins Counties, and Lansing was officially born. It was named after John Lansing, who was a New York Assemblyman after serving with Schuyler, and an attorney who eventually became the Chief Justice of the New York Supreme court. The celebration looks to more recent history.
"Originally it was a brainchild of a few people who remembered the old Lansing Day celebration," Mayton says. "We wanted to pay homage to that. It was something that I remember as a child. Moving through the process of the committee it developed into a combination of that and the old carnival that the firemen used to have. We're all pretty happy with what is coming to fruition in a couple of weeks, so we'll see how it all pans out."