BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Residents of Belleville have begun marking the city's 200th birthday.

TheBelleville News-Democrat reportsthe bicentennial celebration began Wednesday afternoon in the southwestern Illinois community and will include a series of events over the course of the year.

Organizers of the city's bicentennial hope to perform 200 service projects while also putting on a parade, free concerts and other events, including a gala in March.

On Wednesday, residents kicked off the effort with a ceremonial bell ringing that included more than 100 participants who jingled sleigh bells, cowbells and tambourines downtown.

Information from: Belleville News-Democrat

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