Corporations and other groups contributed more than $3 million to pay for Alabama’s 200th birthday celebration, which includes public festivities and educational programs but also an invitation-only event that the governor and other state officials will attend.
Alabama Power Co., Regions, Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Altec and the Poarch Creek Indians are among the groups that collectively donated more than $3 million to the foundation created to raise money for the bicentennial celebration, according to the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
Alabama’s lengthy celebration of the 200th anniversary of its admission to the United States will culminate Saturday at the state Capitol.
The state’s only federally recognized Indian Tribe, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, is paying for a “state of the art” digital projection and sound show for the finale of the Saturday celebration. The commission did not disclose how much that event will cost.
The donations funded grants, exhibits, a bicentennial park at the state Capitol and other public aspects of the celebration, according to a news release from the commission. Daniel Sparkman, a spokesman for the commission, said the donations are also paying for the closed-door event.
The program for the invitation-only event Friday at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center will include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a special guest of honor. “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard is scheduled to perform.
The commission said state and federal officials, including the governor; city and county leaders; and college and university presidents will also attend the private event.
The Alabama Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion in 2016 saying the donations to the foundation did not violate the law as long as business leaders, and not the public officials on the commission and foundation, sent the letters requesting money.
The public bicentennial celebrations this weekend include a full day of events Saturday at the Alabama Capitol, including a parade, park dedication, concerts, educational events and the light and sound show.
Republished with the Permission of the Associated Press.