St. Louis events to mark city's 250th year

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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis is about to turn 250, and several events are planned for the big anniversary.

Organizers of a group known as stl250 announced celebration plans on Monday.

The city was founded by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau of Feb. 15, 1764. Many of the anniversary events are around the actual anniversary date, but others will occur throughout 2014. The first is New Year's Eve, when performers at the First Night event will incorporate the anniversary into their acts.

Other highlights will include a reenactment of the founding on Feb. 15 at the Laclede's Landing area downtown. Public "Birthday Bash" celebrations are Feb. 14, Feb. 15 and Feb. 17 at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

Other highlights will include a "Burnin' Love Festival" featuring live musical performances, fireworks and a 250-couple engagement ceremony on Feb. 14 on Art Hill in Forest Park; a cocktail party at the Missouri History Museum on Feb. 16; an effort to match 250,000 volunteers to projects and agencies through the United Way of Greater St. Louis throughout 2014; and a collection of online story gathering through a social media application.

Erin Budde, executive director of stl250, said the celebration events seek to help residents and visitors "learn our city's history as well as share their personal stories and resources to improve the region."

Mayor Francis Slay said the celebration "provides all of us with opportunities to reflect on who we are, where we came from and the bright future ahead of us."