By DAVE GYMBURCH Staff writer

THE YEAR WAS mdcccxII — In the Leap Year of 1812, when the Town of Lee was founded, there were 18 stars in the flag and President James Madison obtained from Congress a declaration of war on Great Britain. Two years later His Majesty’s troops would burn the White House and Capitol.

TOWN OF LEE — Multiple rounds of fireworks, concerts, car shows and plays will help the public celebrate Lee’s bicentennial observance in 2012, as part of the schedule that has been set. And, as it is a "Leap Year" folks will get an extra day to celebrate.

Schedule details were presented to the Town Board last week by Paul Phister, chair of a citizens’ steering committee, who estimated that only about half of the $25,000 allocated by the town for the events would be needed thanks to fundraiser "offsets."

Already in place as a tie-in with the bicentennial are new 3-by-2-foot road signs at Lee’s borders with other municipalities, stating "Welcome to the Town of Lee — Est. 1812." Locations so far include Elmer Hill Road, Stokes-Westernville Road, Lee Center-Taberg Road, and Point Rock Road, while another may be placed near the Thomas Street-Sleepy Hollow Road intersection. In addition, at least three 4-by-6-foot signs may be installed along Route 26 and Route 69, pending state approvals. The smaller signs cost $192 each while the larger signs would cost $306 each, said councilman Patrick Hetherington. They were funded within the town’s regular 2011 budget, separately from money allotted in 2012 for the bicentennial.

Among upcoming bicentennial event dates:

¿ Opening ceremonies March 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, recognizing the first town meeting held on that date in 1812. Included is a Town Board meeting that councilman Alan Trombley said could involve a "dress-up day" for the board in early 19th century apparel, drawing chuckles from members about possible wigs and high socks.

¿ A one-act play including a children’s performance on April 28 at noon at the Town Hall, plus additional one-act plays there on Sept. 21 and 28, both at 7 p.m.

¿ A concert and ice cream social on June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. Performing will be the Boxed Set group. Additional concerts include Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, featuring the Easy Money group, and Aug. 19 at the Lee Center Firemen’s Field, featuring the String Bee group, Old Time Fiddlers and Charles Coville as part of "Old Home Days" festivities that day.

¿ Car shows including "car cruising" events July 13 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall and Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at the firemen’s field, plus a domestic car show Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. at the firemen’s field. Also listed is the annual "Tappet Twirlers" show at the town park, on Aug. 12 at 9 a.m.

¿ Fireworks displays, including July 6 during the annual Lee Center Firemen’s Field Days, Aug. 19 at the firemen’s field for "Old Home Days," and Oct. 27 at the town park as part of the closing ceremonies that also will include a Halloween parade.

¿ Parades also July 7 during the field days, and Aug. 19 for "Old Home Days."

¿ Fifteen slide shows on historical topics, presented on various dates from March-October at the Town Hall by town historian Virginia Ackerman.

¿ Church dinners April 21, May 19, Sept. 22 and Oct. 20 at Lee Methodist, and Sept. 28 at Delta United Methodist.

Estimated costs presented by Phister total $28,000, including $10,000 for a Monopoly-style board game tailored to the town, $4,500 for "Old Home Days" fireworks, and $2,400 for a commemorative calendar among the expenses. Partially offsetting that are projections that about $15,000 will be generated from local sales of the Monopoly-style game and calendar, leaving about $12,850 to be funded via the town’s budget allotment.

Brochures about the bicentennial will be mailed to town residents by March, said Phister.

The event schedule is listed on the town’s website, within the "calendars" section.

The bicentennial details reflect "an awful lot of effort by people involved...on the committee," said Lee Supervisor John Urtz. He cited "a great job of putting this all together" for people in the town to enjoy.