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Jordan Ercit file photo

Jordan Ercit file photo

Longest picnic one of Centennial highlights

A number of events were held around Kitchener in 2012 to celebrate the centennial of the Town of Berlin becoming the City of Berlin.

Back in 1912, the festivities were marked with the reading of a royal proclamation from King George V. The proclamation declared Berlin, which had recently surpassed Galt as the largest community in the area, to be a city. The name change to Kitchener would come four years later, in the midst of First World War-era anti-German sentiment.

As well, the proclamation kicked off a week-long festival featuring parades, concerts, a midway, sports events and the first aeroplane ever seen in the region.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of that milestone, organizers turned to 21st-century technology.

People and groups were able to submit ideas for centennial events to an online website, with the public voting for four projects to receive city funding.

The winning projects were two downtown gardens, a turn-back-the-clock day at TheMuseum and a retro baseball game at Victoria Park, with players dressed in the vintage flannel jerseys and baggy, knicker-style pants of the early-1900s Berlin Maple Leafs and the 1919 Kitchener Beavers.

A website was launched at www.kitchener100.ca to handle the contest. It also contains an interactive timeline of events from the past 100 years, photos, maps and more.

To garner worldwide recognition for Kitchener’s 100th anniversary, an attempt to make the Guinness Book of World Records was organized.

The chosen record was ‘world’s longest picnic,’ and thousands of people turned out July 15 to fill the 1,000 tables and 8,000 chairs spread out in the downtown core.

Another centennial project made its way to the Berlin Tower Artspace in City Hall this summer.

For the month of August, the Artspace displayed Women in Kitchener History — portraits of some of the community’s remarkable women.

The Kitchener Post celebrated the city’s centennial with a special series looking at 100 of the people who have shaped Kitchener into the city it is today, as nominated by readers.

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