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The Centennial Birthday Party and Mayor's Ball on March 17, 1992, will kick off a six-month celebration of the city's 100th anniversary.

The birthday party in the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center will be held on the 100th anniversary of the city's incorporation on March 17, 1882, according to Mayor Michael C. O'Laughlin and Savino P. Nanula, co-chairmen of the centennial committee. The announcement was made Tuesday in front of the Niagara Reservation State Park Visitor Center at Prospect Point.

O'Laughlin described the centennial as a huge, festive family celebration in which the whole city can be involved. He said it will focus on the city's history, ethnic heritage, business growth and quality of life.

He and Nanula arrived to make the announcement in a horse-drawn buggy and were greeted by a Dixieland band, members of the centennial committee -- some dressed in vintage costumes -- and a Color Guard from Old Fort Niagara.

A centennial parade and picnic is scheduled for Flag Day, June 14, 1992, and a marathon for May 16, 1992. The grand finale to the six-month celebration will be a picnic and fireworks display on Aug. 15, 1992, at Hyde Park.

Nanula, chairman and chief executive officer of Tops Markets Inc., said organizers hope the six months between the main events will be filled with weekly anniversary activities.

Organizers said they are announcing plans early so organizations and businesses can start planning and budgeting.

The centennial committee wants a grass-roots approach involving all segments of the community to highlight their own districts' roles in the city's history and development.

O'Laughlin said special exhibits on the city's history and the role of industry are being planned with the possibility of developing a permanent museum.

Community volunteers and corporate sponsors are being sought. Joseph C. Weber III of Joseph C. Weber Inc. is serving as coordinator of volunteers.

Nanula announced that Tops will sponsor the birthday celebration and picnics.

"Niagara Falls is the birthplace for Tops Markets and we are very gratified with the support we have received from the community for the past 30 years," he said.

He said other corporate involvement to date includes employees of Moore Business Forms, who designed the centennial logo -- a drawing of the American falls with the city's name and the dates 1892-1992 -- and Cooper Sign Co. Inc., which produced the logo.

The mayor said a broad spectrum of activities, from street events to formal programs, are expected and all types of organizations, from military to ethnic and fraternal, are invited to participate.

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