A party, singing, speeches and a pep rally, that’s how.
Last week, Polk County turned 150 years old, having been created by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on Dec. 20, 1851.
Community leaders did not want to let the anniversary go unnoticed, so a birthday celebration was held Thursday to commemorate the occasion.
Several activities were planned, months in advance, for the sesquicentennial observance by the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.
The pep rally was an added bonus, that somewhat came together just last week to honor the Cedartown Bulldogs.
And Thursday, Dec. 20, the two celebrations converged for one ceremony at the Polk County Courthouse, appeasing both birthday goers and sports fans alike.
The pep rally, held at 5:30 p.m. in the courthouse parking lot, received much support from the community.
CHS Cheerleaders and the Band pumped up the Bulldog fans, in between speeches from several of the football players.
Head Football Coach Everett Kelley thanked the fans and community for rallying behind his team and staff, urging them to do the same at the state championship game.
His words must have had some effect, as that game was held in a standing-room only Cedartown Memorial Stadium Friday night.
Following the rally, players crossed near the Confederate Memorial between the courthouses, greeted by another hundred of spectators.
Polk County Commission Chairman Mike Hooper welcomed everyone in attendance and recognized the team.
Each Bulldog was given a commemorative gold coin that had the shape of the county with an American flag and 150 years on it.
The team also participated in a second Dawg Walk down Main Street at the conclusion of the ceremony.
The first walk was held downtown on the Saturday the Bulldogs traveled to the Georgia Dome and defeated Fitzgerald in the state semi-finals.
Becky Garland, a fifth grader at Eastside Elementary School in Rockmart, was also recognized for designing the Polk County’s official flag.
The student was in attendance and congratulated by County Manager Clinton Lester.
Other recognitions of the evening included:
—Oldest Married Couple: J.S. Hawkins, 94, and his wife, Gladys, 91, married for 71 years.
—Oldest Polk Citizen: Janie Brock, born July 11, 1895.
—Oldest Churches: First Baptist Church of Cedartown, 1835; and Zion Hill Baptist Church, 1869.
—Oldest Building: Van Wert Methodist Church, 1846.
Frank Burgess, Jr., read a proclamation denoting the county’s charter, followed by holiday songs performed by the First Baptist Church Choir, Paul Pitts and the Porch Pickers, the Polk County Senior Adult Choir and Cherokee Elementary School Children’s Choir.
Community officials in attendance included state Sen. Nathan Dean, Rep. Bill Cummings, City Commissioner Bert Wood, and Polk County Commissioners David Jarvis, Billy Croker, Ray Barber and Billy Williams, and Polk Chamber President Karolyn Elders.
Many of the speakers wore period neck ties and members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans wore period costumes.
A special appearance was made by Santa Claus and his wife, who mingled with the crowd and heard children wish lists.