Meridian, Delhi Townships celebrate 175th anniversary with Enactment Day

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In her 17 years working for Meridian Township, treasurer Julie Brixie said the township has “never done” anything like the 175th anniversary celebration it has planned for 2017.

Enactment Day will be Meridian’s first anniversary event of 2017. It will be a commemoration of Feb. 16, 1842, the day Meridian Township and Delhi Township were officially incorporated.

“Feb. 16 is our actual birthday,” Meridian Township communications director Deborah Guthrie said. “On Feb. 16, an act of the legislature made Meridian Township and Delhi Township a township. … We got together with Delhi, and we knew that we wanted to have a celebration on the 16th. And we thought, what better way to do that than to go to the state Capitol and do it there?”

Enactment Day will take place in rooms 402 and 403 of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 16, according to an official press release. The event will include presenters connected to Meridian Township, Delhi Township, and Ingham County. Enactment Day will be open to the public, and visitors will be able to enjoy Enactment Day cake and medallions, Guthrie said.

Brixie, who will attend the event, said it is an important way to teach citizens about Meridian Township’s history.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that Meridian Township is older than East Lansing and Lansing,” Brixie said. “… It’s a little historical tidbit that some of our newer residents are not aware of, and so this little anniversary celebration gives us an opportunity to kind of educate our residents about some of our history.”

Enactment Day will also celebrate Delhi Township which was also incorporated in 1842 in the same legislation that incorporated Meridian Township, according to Delhi Township clerk Evan Hope.

“I see the Enactment Dayas kind of a kickoff of the year,” Hope said. “Both of us are going to have a lot of different events throughout the year to celebrate, and this is kind of the first thing.”

Guthrie said the Enactment Day festivities will begin and end with a flag ceremony conducted by local Girl Scouts. Guthrie said members of the Friends of Historic Meridian will be present, and will dress in time period-appropriate gear representing the various eras of Meridian Township history.

A series of 12 presenters will speak at Enactment Day, according to a Meridian Township press release. These presenters include representatives from the office of state Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr., and state Reps. Sam Singh and Tom Cochran, as well as several other public officials from the affected areas.

Enactment Day will kick off a year of celebration in Meridian Township. Several other special events will be held throughout the year, culminating in a special celebration on July 1st, when Meridian Township plans to hold its first parade in 25 years.

“The year-long events are to celebrate our community, and to let everyone know what exists and that we care about all different facets of our community,” Brixie said.

Enactment Day’s location in the Michigan Capitol building makes it perhaps the most formal of the anniversary events, but Brixie said she will be attending because the event will be “fun.”
“It’s really a fun event, it’s really an educational event,” Brixie said. “A lot of times, the things that we do with the media or that our community becomes engaged with, a lot of times it can become a controversial issue instead of something that’s fun. And this is really nice because it’s really just a fun and entertaining and educational event.”