A southern Illinois county will kick off its bicentennial celebration this weekend.
Pat Brumleve is president of the Union County Historical and Genealogy Society. He says the county actually has a longer history than the state of Illinois.
"A lot of people don't realize that Union County was created before Illinois was actually a state. The official date for Union County being created was January 2, 1818 and the state didn't become official until the end of the year in December."
Brumleve says Union County's kick-off celebration will feature historical exhibits, such as a list of squatters in the county in 1807 and 1813 and maps showing the progression of the state's development.
"Back when Union County was formed in 1818 who would have thought how the county developed and its rich history and everything and that we get to celebrate this in a new courthouse. I'm sure the county officials back then never would've dreamed of having the kind of courthouse that we have now."
The current courthouse opened in 2013 and replaced a structure that was over 150 years old.
The exhibit will remain on display at the courthouse throughout the month of January.
The kickoff event is open to the public and the wearing of pioneer type attire is encouraged.
The event is Saturday, January 6 from 2-4 p.m. in the Union County Courthouse.
The county seat, Jonesboro, is also celebrating its bicentennial. The village is planning events for later this year.