Hall of Fame to Host Bicentennial Bell Casting

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Hall of Fame to Host Bicentennial Bell Casting

The State of Ohio will celebrate its 200th birthday in 2003, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame is throwing an early birthday party. On May 18 & 19, 2002, the Stark County Bicentennial Kickoff will be held on the Hall of Fame grounds. The main event of the weekend-long kickoff celebration will be a Bicentennial Bell Casting for Stark County.

The Bicentennial Bell Casting is a part of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission's statewide initiative to cast a bronze commemorative bell in each of Ohio's 88 counties. The Commission selected the Hall of Fame as the site for the casting of the Stark County bell.

The Verdin Company of Cincinnati will conduct the casting process in full view of the public, using a "foundry on wheels." The Verdin Company, founded in 1842, is one of the world's leading bell casting companies and Ohio's oldest family-owned manufacturing company. Verdin commissions include the 33-ton, 12-foot-tall World Peace Bell commissioned for the millennium celebration, and the famed "Big Ben" bell in London.

On the first day of the two-day event, bronze ingots will be placed into a furnace that will reach temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees. Over a period of several hours the furnace will melt the ingots, which will then be poured into the mold. On day two, after cooling overnight, the mold will be cracked open by a sledgehammer.

The engraved bell, which will weigh approximately 250 pounds and measure two feet in height, will then be cleaned, polished, and formally presented to the County Commissioners.

There will be a festival-like atmosphere at the Hall of Fame during the two-day ceremony. Area attractions, museums, cultural institutions, historical agencies, recreation groups, and businesses and industry leaders all will participate. There will be vender booths, food, and entertainment throughout the weekend.

(Updated: Mar. 13, 2002)

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