Illinois REALTORS® took part in the official kick-off of the state’s Bicentennial commemorations on Sunday, attending events in Chicago and Springfield. 

Illinois officially became a state Dec. 3, 1818, so the event Sunday marked Illinois’ 199th birthday. The state has a Bicentennial Commission which is overseeing the celebration lasting through 2018, and Illinois REALTOR® Jim Kinney is a member of the panel.  

The two events were:  

  • A ceremony in Springfield at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Illinois REALTORS Treasurer Ed Neaves attended on behalf of the association, along with Illinois REALTORS Bicentennial Task Force chair Vicky Turner and vice chair Sheryl Grider Whitehurst.
  • A second event was held at Navy Pier in Chicago where attendees heard from Gov. Bruce Rauner and had a chance to attend Fifth Third Bank’s Winter Wonderfest in Festival Hall. Illinois REALTORS® President Matt Difanis, President-elect Dan Wagner and Immediate Past President Doug Carpenter attended.  

Also Sunday, the 100 winners of a Bicentennial video content were able to attend a performance of Hamilton at CIBC Theater in Chicago.  

In Springfield, Mayor Jim Langfelder recognized Illinois REALTORS® for its work creating Bicentennial Plaza – A REALTOR® Community Partnership.  The plaza is under construction just north of the association’s headquarters. 

The association was recognized for its work at the Chicago event as well.

“Hearing the mayor talk about Bicentennial Plaza was a proud moment,” said Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force Chair Vicky Turner, of Dixon, at the event.  

The association has been planning for nearly two years how it would mark the anniversary. Local REALTOR® associations are playing a role by taking on projects to help the state’s historic sites, and the state association is sponsoring a Bicentennial Essay Contest 

The kickoff continued Monday with a planned Bicentennial flag raising ceremony at sites across Illinois, including at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.