The Greetings from Sandusky mural finished in 2017 on Sandusky State Theatre features Washington Park’s Floral Clock and Boy with the Boot sculpture, the lighted marquee of the historic theater, Sandusky’s role in the Underground Railroad, and
Sandusky Bay and the Sandusky Coal Docks at dusk in a view from a Lyman boat. (City of Sandusky)

To celebrate Sandusky’s big bicentennial, the capital of Lake Erie vacationland is having a ball, plus a Festival of Sail, Founders Weekend parade and fireworks.

The city of 25,000 was founded in 1818 and became a major hub for shipping, lumber and ice harvesting before tourism became its flagship industry, led by Cedar Point.

“Really, we’re just stimulating pride in the community, celebrating the past but mostly building for the next 100 years,” said the city’s bicentennial coordinator McKenzie Spriggs.

The city is investing in its outdoor public art projects since 1980, including a Greetings from Sandusky mural at the Sandusky State Theatre downtown. And it’s making plans to create a park at Jackson Street Pier.

Committees are holding events throughout the year, including yoga in the city greenhouse, historical walking tours and $1 museum days. There’s a Love Letter to Sandusky project planned, a community chalk walk and an aerial photo.

Here are the four pillar events:

Bicentennial Ball, April 28: About 800 tickets for the Bicentennial Ball at the Cedar Point ballroom went on sale Jan. 1 and were sold out by Jan. 18.

“They have huge big bands there, and a lot of the stories we heard, a lot of people went there for first dates and iconic performances,” Spriggs said.

Festival of Sail, July 12-15: About 70,000 people are expected over the four days of the Tall Ships festival, which includes a downtown street fair. The World’s Largest Rubber Duck will sail into town, leading historic ships.

Founders Weekend, Aug. 18-19: The weekend is all about Sandusky pride. A parade Aug. 18 features local bands and community floats. There will be fireworks and on Aug. 19, a choral groups and high school bands will join the Firelands Symphony Orchestra for a free concert.

2018 Winter Kickoff, Nov. 22-25: An extended weekend around Thanksgiving, featuring tens of thousands of new holiday lights, a holiday movie at the Sandusky State Theatre and the arrival of Santa Claus.

“I would hope that a lot of this stuff, people are touched by this year in some way,” Spriggs said. “It’s a chance to reinvite them and give people a chance to think differently about the city they live in.”