Tourist Development Council gears up to celebrate Washington County bicentennial

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Washington County is nearing its bicentennial, which the Tourist Development Council (TDC) is excited to recognize.

The bicentennial day is the end of December 2025. 

“This is a big thing,” TDC Chairman Ted Everrett said when the matter came up for discussion during a March 7 meeting. 

A New Year’s Eve kickoff event is in the works for Downtown Chipley, the first event to celebrate the bicentennial year.

“In January (2025), we’re going to do a special event at the Ag Center for an unveiling of a nice bronze emblem we can put on the courthouse to commemorate the 200-year celebration,” TDC Director Heather Lopez said. “From there, we’re going to tag onto the annual events. What I really want to do is, in the fall, start pushing out some press releases and reaching out to people and say, hey, bicentennial is coming up, if you guy are planning anything, if you want to participate, go to our bicentennial page and request an emblem and let us know what;s going on and we can add you to the page.” 

John Warren, LLC will help add a dedicated page to the Visit Washington County Florida website honoring the occasion, including a history of the area, photo gallery of historic images and modern photos of historic sites, events feature, logos for local historical societies, and branded splash on the website’s home page for the bicentennial that links to the new section. The cost is $850. 

A separate domain for the page, washingtoncounty200.com, will also be used for branding and promotion and take them to the section, which will remain on the main Visit Washington County site. 

TDC Director Heather Lopez said she had met with local historical society members.

“We put together a plan of how we thought the celebration should go,” Lopez said. “We looked at Collier County. They did their centennial last year and that’s the website that we modeled what we wanted to do off of because, like Ted said, it was amazing.”

A bicentennial emblem will be created, with the County seal and the years marking the area’s incorporation and bicentennial. Events will be able to use the logo by request to brand themselves as bicentennial occasions.

“What we’re trying to do is get the community involved,” Lopez said. “The Watermelon Festival can brand that year’s festival as the bicentennial celebration of the Watermelon Festival, celebrating 200 years of the county and they’ve been a part of it for however long.” 

The TDC plans to promote the coming bicentennial by having booths at events and having brochures available. 

Everett said the cities and county should be brought in to discuss the details of the coming celebration. Lopez said the county wants to celebrate and there have been discussions with community groups. 

“We’re a year out, so we wanted to start getting some firm stuff together,” Lopez said.