Button Gwinnett, signer of the Declaration of Independence and namesake of Georgia’s second largest county (Courtesy of the Georgia Historical Society)
Photo: HANDOUT/Georgia Historical Socie
Photo: HANDOUT/Georgia Historical Socie

Gwinnett County turns 200 on Saturday. Here’s how to celebrate.

It’s been one heckuva 200 years in Gwinnett County.

What began as a sparsely populated agrarian community, carved out of land taken from the Creek and Cherokee tribes, has given way to a bustling suburb with nearly a million people, more diverse than early settlers could have imagined. The county that started operations in the home of a man named Elisha Winn now has a $1.8 billion budget, boasts a nationally acclaimed school system and is on the verge of welcoming in mass transit.

Now it’s time to party.

Gwinnett’s yearlong celebration culminates Saturday with the county’s 200th birthday bash.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning will play host to a Family Cultural Birthday Party. The free event will include performers representing cultures from across the globe, and visitors can venture from room to room to experience different continents (and eat free cupcakes, while they last).

Kids can create crafts and get their “bicentennial passports” stamped. Food trucks and s’mores also will be involved.

Later, the grown folks play.

Starting at 6 p.m., the county will host a swanky cocktail party and dinner gala in the Infinite Energy Center ballroom.

Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased at gwinnett200birthday.com/events.

While Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said many as 1,500 people are expected at Saturday’s gala, the county has mostly eschewed large celebrations during its year-long commemoration.

More than 365 events — many organized by groups outside the actual county government — have marked the bicentennial in some form or fashion, Nash said.

The county also will dedicate next week a new bicentennial trail and plaza built near downtown Lawrenceville.

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