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Batavia to celebrate its founding with Dec. 31 event

The BataviCommunity Bgave an inaugural performance Peg Bond Center for Sunday's annual tree lighting.  'There is some documentaticoronet blate

The Batavia Community Band gave an inaugural performance at the Peg Bond Center for Sunday's annual tree lighting. "There is some documentation of a coronet band in the late 1880s, but really not of a specific town band," said Linda Schielke, founder of the band. | Linda Girardi ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 27, 2013 6:05PM

Batavia will commemorate its 180th birthday with a family-friendly 30-minute event on Dec. 31.

The celebration will begin at 9 p.m. at the Peg Bond Center along the Riverwalk with a performance by the newly-formed Batavia Community Band, followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke recently gave a historical synopsis to preface an announcement that the city will commemorate its 180th birthday in 2014.

Apparently Batavia’s first settler has had people pondering when the community originally was founded, which fits in with a statement in “John Gustafson’s Historic Batavia” about the first settler.

The history book, rewritten by Schielke and the late Marilyn Robinson, says “no dramatist” could have written a better profile for a pioneer than the one created by Christopher Payne.

Schielke said Payne was the first settler to step foot here, but he left for Naperville due to “Indian disturbances,” only to return a year later in 1834 to build his log cabin.

“There has long been a Batavia historical argument over the city’s founding year,” the mayor said.

The city will set aside the debate and kickoff its 180th birthday year in 2014.

“Batavia is the first city in Kane County to commemorate that milestone,” he said.

The non-profit Batavia A.C.C.E.S.S. Committee, which hosts the annual Fourth of July fireworks, is covering the $3,000 cost for the New Year’s Eve display.

Schielke said the city had a brief fireworks show on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the arrival of the millennium in 2000.

“It will be a nice event for families to bring their kids to and hopefully some of them will remember how Batavia celebrated its 180th birthday,” he said.

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