Monday, Dec. 3, marked the 200th anniversary of Illinois becoming the 21st state. To honor the milestone, the Illinois Bicentennial Commission hosted a birthday party at Navy Pier celebrating all things “Born, Built and Grown in Illinois.”

Many stars graced the stage representing the arts, sports, commerce and government. Gov. Bruce Rauner welcomed the crowd, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played “Happy Birthday” and there was even a 1,000-pound cheesecake made by the Chicago family-owned Eli’s Cheesecake.

Illinois REALTORS® were integrally involved in the Bicentennial events this past year with more than 35 local association legacy projects and the official dedication of Bicentennial Plaza, a REALTOR® Community Partnership on Aug. 26. Many of those involved as “Founders” of the Plaza attended the program as well as Illinois leadership.

“REALTORS® were at the table early in the planning stages for the Bicentennial year,” said President Matt Difanis. “We offered our partnership and support throughout the planning stages with REALTOR® Jim Kinney serving on the Bicentennial Commission and REALTORS® working with heart throughout 2018 all across the state.”

Among the program highlights was honoring our Illinois veterans for their service through the bicentennial “Honor 200” project. Veterans stood as the respective U.S. Armed Services songs were played, including Illinois REALTORS® Past President Doug Carpenter and National Association of REALTORS® representative John Flor.

With a nod to the future, Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker also addressed the crowd to ring in the next century for Illinois.

Take a look back at our REALTORS® working with heart throughout the bicentennial year at

(Some photos below courtesy of Matt Difanis.)