Festival air planned for kickoff

Published 10:17 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

BURLINGTON — The Saturday kickoff for the Burlington Courthouse fundraiser is set to be part history lessons and part old-time music festival at the original site off County Road 1 and Burlington-Macedonia Road.

At noon local historian Chris Saunders will talk about the founding of Burlington and the role the community at the first county seat played in the development of Lawrence County. Then Professor Bob Leith will follow with a talk on the history of the county that will celebrate its 200th anniversary next December.

A year of events is planned for 2016 with one of the scheduled highlights recreating the first courthouse. The plan is to use the structure as a community building for the eastern end of the county.

Approximately $250,000 is needed to build the courthouse, plus sidewalks and parking area for 33 spaces.

Saturday’s event at the courthouse site is the official start to the campaign of raising that money.

So far there is approximately $1,000 in pledges. Any donors contributing $1,000 or more will have their name engraved on a plaque to be hung inside the replica.

The $100,000 needed for the parking lot and sidewalks will come from Community Development Block Grants.

“The CDBG for $107,000 is signed off on,” said Lawrence County Commissioner Bill Pratt, who chairs the bicentennial committee that is spearheading the courthouse construction.

The CDBG money won’t be available until Oct. 1. If the committee can’t raise the money for the replica this year, CDBG funds could be used next year to pay for the structure.

At 1 p.m. dulcimer players will perform a series of Appalachian songs. Throughout the kickoff that runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. pork barbecue and old-fashioned bean dinners will be served. There will also be tours of the first jail and a nearby log cabin. A rendering of the proposed building will be on display.