Planning underway for Minnesota's 150th birthdayby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
Gov. Pawlenty and members of a special state commission outlined early plans Thursday for next year's celebration of the 150th anniversary of Minnesota's statehood.
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesotans will celebrate the state's sesquicentennial throughout 2008. Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858.
Members of the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission are already well into the planning of some 40 events.
Cay Hellervik, chairwoman of the state commission planning the celebration, says the events will focus on specific themes such as innovation, health and wellness, arts and education.
"It might be better to talk about themes than specific programs. Because a lot of the programs are going to depend on if we can find money from sponsorships as well as our legislators," Hellervik says.
Nina Archabal, director of the Minnesota Historical Society, says an exhibition is in the works to recognize the 150 events, people, places, things and ideas that have made Minnesota what it is.
State Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson says the sesquicentennial is a time to look back at the state's rich history.
"Whether you're from the original Native American population, ancestors like mine who settled in Eden Prairie in 1850 before we became a state, to the newest arrivals in our state, we need to celebrate and look back at what we've accomplished," says Anderson.
Gov. Pawlenty is seeking legislative approval of a $2 million budget for sesquicentennial activities in 2008.
The state commission is planning a matching grant program to help local communities with sesquicentennial projects and celebrations. Organizers hope to stage events in all 87 counties.