KEENE Keene townspeople will start the new year with a blast as they prepare to celebrate the towns 200th birthday. On Monday, Dec. 31, the town of Keene will host a fireworks celebration at Marcy Field to mark its bicentennial. The fireworks start at 6 p.m. Town Supervisor Bill Ferebee called the event a major fireworks display, sponsored by the town. The event is free to the public, and theres plenty of parking available. It brings (2008) in with a very festive atmosphere, to create a feeling of festivity for the bicentennial, said Bicentennial Chairman Paul Martin. The fireworks display is the first of a series of activities to commemorate the towns 2008 bicentennial. There will be an event on March 19 to mark the actual date of incorporation. A celebration on the county level is also being planned. Memorial Day will bring a parade and the dedication of the site of the towns planned veterans memorial, which will be located near Norton Cemetery. During June, the old hill climb will be revived with a bicycle hill climb, tentatively slated for June 7. The largest celebration will take place on July 26 and 27. The centerpiece of the weekend will be food, demonstrations and entertainment at Marcy Field. The towns web site,
, is hosting historic information, calendar of events and a catalogue of bicentennial goods. Martin said the catalogue would continue to grow throughout the early parts of 2008. Bicentennial calendars are currently on sale. Keene Valley Librarian Karen Glass said the Keene Valley Library and Archives have put out an calendar featuring old pictures and stories. The calendar includes images of churches and schools, and the flood of Oct. 1, 1924. The $10 calendar is retailing in locations throughout the community. Settlers began clearing and otherwise improving land within the present borders of the Town of Keene as early as 1794, but it wasn't until 1808 that Keene was incorporated as a separate town. Parts of the town were taken from the existing towns of Elizabethtown and Jay. The main thrust of the bicentennial is to really celebrate the shoulders of people through the last 200 years that have made this such a wonderful community. They did all the hard work, and we're just going to have the fun, said Martin.