Fort Smith Bicentennial Leaders Tapped

 In Press

Four Fort Smith residents have been selected to chair quarterly events during the city’s 200th birthday beginning Christmas 2017.

According to Mayor Sandy Sanders, the co-chairs are ABF Freight marketing manager Jim Perry, Fort Smith Western Heritage Committee vice president Kermit Walsh, Hanna Oil & Gas accountant Megan Raynor and Randall Ford general manager Bradford Randall.

“With the large number of activities we anticipate, it is important to have outstanding leaders to ensure we communicate event details in an effective manner,” Sanders stated in a news release.

A series of bicentennial-related celebrations will take place from Christmas 2017 through December 2018. The 200th Anniversary Committee of about two dozen residents will be collecting ideas from the public and private sectors, as well as from area nonprofits.

Perry will chair the first quarter, spotlighting Fort Smith’s history of arts and culture.

“I want to work with all of the committee members and community to find creative ideas to revere our heritage in ways that will give us cause to celebrate our past while also inspiring us all to strive to better our community through the arts into the future,” he stated in the news release.

Walsh will chair the second quarter, which will encompass annual traditions associated with the Old Fort Days Rodeo, the parade and a number of new events that have been added during the past two years.

“From early exploration to transportation, the Civil War era, Judge Parker’s time here with the U.S. Marshals and ‘Hell on the Border,’ there’s so much for our residents to learn and share,” he stated in the news release.

Raynor, a community volunteer, will chair the third quarter celebration, centered on “Coming Home.“

“I love being involved in my home town,” she stated in the news release. “We envision a summer that brings people home to Fort Smith to visit family, reconnect with lifelong friends and to experience the positive changes occurring here.”

Randall will chair the fourth quarter of the 2018 commemoration.

“Through my family business and car-enthusiast friends,” he stated in the news release, “I’m in a great position to help organize a parade and car show for the bicentennial celebration, but am also excited about the ‘Future Fort Smith’ theme for the fourth quarter.”

A website,, along with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts, have been established to support the bicentennial celebration.

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