Somehow, it seems strange that Columbia County waited until this year to celebrate Columbus Day.
After all, it's where the county's name came from.
Actually, Augusta's Italian-American Society held the first Columbus Day recognition in Columbia County last year, but the event was mixed in with the Renaissance Festival.
The Renaissance Festival never really took off quite like planners had hoped. And besides: Columbia County didn't even exist during the Renaissance era. Hopes are higher that Columbia County will hit upon a more meaningful annual event by instead focusing on Columbus Day.
If nothing else, it's long overdue - say, 218 years.
When Columbia County was formed in 1790, it was in the midst of a frenzy surrounding the pending 300th anniversary of the "discovery" of the western world by Christopher Columbus.
A few years earlier, many of the Founding Fathers had argued that the new nation itself should be called Columbia, a feminine form of Columbus. According to Wikipedia - the usually helpful, though sometimes suspect, online encyclopedia - the English had preferred to attribute the nation's discovery to British explorers John and Sebastian Cabot.
Once the British were booted out, however, Columbus' Spanish-sponsored contribution became more popular among the colonists. And while the name Columbia lost out to the United States of America, the moniker found its way to numerous cities and towns across the country. For example, Columbia, S.C., was named in 1786; four years later, the year Columbia County was formed, the nation also decided its capitol would be the District of Columbia.
So why has it taken so long for Columbia County to recognize its roots? Perhaps, like many other things, we've simply taken it for granted.
One annual festival likely won't end that omission, but at least it's a start.
A final note:
In this year's elections, most of Columbia County's largely Republican voters likely are hoping for the election of Sarah Palin as vice president.
But no matter who is elected for that post, guess what ceremonial song traditionally greets the vice president at state events?
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.