The grand finale of Celebrate Aiken! is coming up Saturday with the birthday bash that commemorates 175 years of the city's existence. Aiken Assistant City Manager Richard Pearce said he hopes to see a lot of people come out to enjoy the family-friendly event and to partake in the festivities, adding that individuals planning to go should arrive early because there is an occupation limit in the USC Aiken Convocation Center. The event is free and will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. The party will be huge and will include a video with a variety of well-known Aikenites and South Carolinians saying "happy birthday" to Aiken, along with games and entertainment. "It's going to be a lot of fun for both adults and children," said Aiken City Mayor Fred Cavanaugh. "This is it; this is when we will wish our city a happy 175th birthday." Bill Reynolds, chairman of the Celebrate Aiken! board, said this event has been 18 months in the making. He said co-chairs of the party's committee, Tommie Culligan and Kathy Huff, have done an amazing job of organizing the event. Reynolds added that the grand finale of the party is a must-see as there will be a laser light show and a large, three-tiered cake that will hold 175 residents singing "happy birthday" to Aiken. "There's something there for everybody," Reynolds said. Celebrate Aiken! was broken into four categories, including history, horses, health and high society from January through March; arts, education and entertainment from April through June; business, innovation and technology from July through September; and lastly, Aiken's future from October through December. Pearce said that the participation during this year of events by Aiken residents has been outstanding. Historic tours, social gatherings and contests were held throughout the year to get residents involved in the celebration. Here are a few of the many other events that the City has done throughout the year to celebrate Aiken's 175th: * Celebrate Aiken! kickoff - "Sights, Sounds and Tastes of 1835" was held in January and was spread out throughout the downtown area from Newberry Street Festival Site to The Alley where people enjoyed historic interpreters, foods from the time period and entertainment including a flea circus, a medicine show, clogging and more. * Greater Aiken Area Picnic - More than 150 people showed up for an 1830s-style picnic that was held May 5 in Rye Patch. The picnic was a recreation of a picnic the City held 25 years ago when participants dressed in clothing from the 17th century. * Business, Innovation and Technology Exposition - On July 17, an expo was held that had interactive displays of a variety of different technological devices. More than 50 displays were available in the USC Aiken Convocation Center. * Transportation Parade - The parade, held on Sept. 18, was a celebration of the variety ways people have traveled throughout the years from horse and buggy to electric or hybrid vehicles. The Railroad Depot had its grand opening that day as well. * Time capsule - The City of Aiken buried a time capsule at the Newberry Festival Site after the parade Sunday, and it will stay in the ground until 2035. Dr. Charles Leopold headed the project and gathered drawings, DVDs and letters from local students from schools across the City to put in the time capsule donated by Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Home. For more information about this year's celebrations or photographs of events, visit www.celebrateaiken.com. Contact Amy Banton at abanton@aikenstandard.com.