This will be a special weekend on Grounds as the University of Virginia community gathers to kick off UVA’s bicentennial celebrations with historic exhibitions, in-depth discussions, joyful reunions and one spectacular show.
The marquee event of the weekend – which commemorates the laying of the University’s cornerstone on Oct. 6, 1817 – is Friday night’s Bicentennial Launch Celebration. Special guests from the entertainment world will join more than 800 student and faculty performers and a projection mapping show that will transform the Lawn before guests’ eyes, telling the history of UVA as it has never been told before.
Along with Friday night’s celebration, several other events throughout the weekend will explore the University’s 200-year history and set the stage for its third century.
If you are on Grounds this weekend – or if you are watching from afar – here are five things to remember, with links to all of the information you need.
The Bicentennial Launch Celebration will start on the Lawn at 7 p.m. Friday night. Guests may begin entering the Lawn at 6 p.m.
To find out more about other events this weekend – including talks, special exhibitions and other performances – see a full schedule of events.
Enhanced Security and Clear-Bag Policy
The University will be following a new clear-bag security policy for Friday’s Bicentennial Launch Celebration. All bags must be transparent to allow security personnel to visually inspect the contents.
Clear plastic purses, Ziploc bags or other clear bags will be accepted. Opaque bags, backpacks or any bags larger than 12-by-6-by-12 inches will not be allowed. Small clutch bags – approximately the size of your hand – will be allowed. Free clear bags will be available at parking locations and security checkpoints.
The clear-bag policy will only be in effect for Friday night’s event and for Saturday’s home football game against Duke. All other bicentennial events do not require clear bags.
Learn more about parking locations, road closures and security protocols for Friday night.
Special Guest Stars
Actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. skyrocketed to fame portraying Aaron Burr in the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” and his star is still rising. R&B powerhouse Andra Day earned several Grammy Award nominations for powerful songs like “Rise Up.” Rock band the Goo Goo Dolls have sold more than 10 million albums worldwide and entertained fans for more than 30 years.
All of them will be on hand Friday night, along with groups like the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Martin Luther King Community Choir of Charlottesville and famous alumni like Katie Couric and Jason George.
Student and Faculty Participation
Faculty members, including former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and student groups like the Cavalier Marching Band, the University Singers and more, will join special guests in entertaining the audience Friday night. Faculty members and students have spent many hours practicing for different parts of the show, as well as preparing performances taking place in some of the pavilions and creating artwork dispersed around Grounds to commemorate the bicentennial and shed light on the University’s past, present and future.
For one example, read more about the temporary addition to the Lawn created by students in the School of Architecture.
Guests without tickets may watch the show at one of three remote viewing locations on Grounds Friday night. These include the 1515 student center on University Avenue; the ballroom on the third floor of Newcomb Hall; and the theater in the bottom level of Newcomb Hall.
Find out more about the remote viewing sites.
Still have questions?
Learn more about the logistics and protocols for Friday’s event on our Frequently Asked Questions page. For more stories about the University’s history, as well as photos and stories from bicentennial celebrations, stay tuned to UVA Today’s Bicentennial news page.