Countdown to Illinois bicentennial to begin next month

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The 100-day countdown to Illinois’ bicentennial celebration will begin next month at the site of Illinois’ first state capital. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office announced Friday that events are planned on Kaskaskia Island and along the Kaskaskia Trail in southern Illinois on Aug. 26, or Constitution Day. State historians and local, county and state officials will hold a ceremonial signing of the 1818 Illinois Constitution. It will mark the start of a countdown to Dec. 3, the date Illinois became federally recognized as a state in 1818 and the official start of the Bicentennial Celebration. Randolph County Commissioner Dr. Marc Kiehna says it’s appropriate for the festivities to start on Kaskaskia Island. He notes Randolph County, where the site is located, is known as “Where Illinois Began.”