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Vulcan Park to celebrate Birmingham’s 150th, number of festivities announced

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Braylon Walters, sixth-grader at John Herbert Phillips Academy, read his letter about his love for Birmingham. (Ryan Michaels, The Birmingham Times)

By Ryan Michaels

The Birmingham Times

A city of Birmingham summer celebration, a Fourth of July fireworks show at Vulcan Park and Museum and a photo competition were all announced Monday as part of the city’s 150th anniversary.

Mayor Randall Woodfin and Vulcan CEO Darlene Negrotto said during a press conference this year’s Thunder on the Mountain fireworks July 4 show at the park will be “the largest fireworks show in the state,” with synchronized music including a tribute to Birmingham.

“For the majority of our 150 years, our Vulcan has stood as a symbol of Birmingham,” Negrotto said. “He has stood as the symbol of hard work and sacrifice upon which our community and our nation have been built.”

While Birmingham was founded June 1, 1871, the city was incorporated on Dec. 19, 1871, which the city recognizes as the official anniversary.

In addition to public celebrations, Woodfin said there will be a photo competition where Birmingham residents submit pictures of events, landmarks and people around the city, some of which will be selected for a showcase at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

“This is our opportunity to not only celebrate Birmingham but also people who live, play and work here,” Woodfin said.

The photo competition is in line with other social media initiatives already announced by the city, such as Milestone Monday, which will post stories and pictures of people, businesses and other organizations in the community celebrating personal milestones, and Did You Know, a series which posts historic Birmingham tidbits on Thursdays.

There is also the “I Love Birmingham Because…” letter writing campaign, which asks for letters with a maximum of 150 words that detail what individual residents love about Birmingham. The submissions will be put into the archives at the Birmingham Public Library “to be stored as part of our history,” Woodfin said.

“We want to know why you love Birmingham,” the mayor said. “Let me repeat that. We want to know why you love Birmingham.”

Braylon Walters, sixth-grader at John Herbert Phillips Academy, read his letter about his love for Birmingham.

“I learned so much about Birmingham while visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where I obtained a great deal of knowledge about the Civil Rights era,” Walters said.

The theme for 150th celebration is “Built to Last” to represent the resilience of the city, Woodfin said.

“Birmingham has been through a lot this past year,” Woodfin said. “But true to our legacy, we are still here, as a people, as a community as a city. We’re still standing.”

More details about the individual initiatives for Birmingham’s 150th are available at https://birminghamal.gov/150.