1414529305(COLLIN COUNTY, Texas) – Texas has many legendary heroes, but most people are probably not familiar with one in particular who settled in North Texas and who had a hand in Texas gaining independence from Mexico.

Collin McKinney, the namesake for Collin County and the City of McKinney (its county seat), was well-known and revered in his time, but is practically unknown today. One of five men tasked to draft the Texas Declaration of Independence, McKinney also helped draft the Texas Republic’s Constitution. Legend has it that he was presented with the quill and inkwell used to sign the declaration by the other delegates as a sign of respect and honor. He was a statesman, prominent businessman, lay preacher and frontiersman, as well as a peer and mentor to many other prominent Texans.

In honor of this Texas legend, Collin County and the City of McKinney will celebrate their namesake’s April 17 birthday — his 250th or Sestercentennial — throughout the coming year.

The Sestercentennial kicks off with a big birthday celebration in downtown McKinney on Saturday, April 16, and includes the grand opening ceremony for a special new exhibit at the Collin County History Museum, 300 E. Virginia Pkwy. The “Collin McKinney and Early Texas” exhibit features a large-scale model of the Collin McKinney home, photos of his family, the farmstead and other artifacts. The special display also includes history and art projects completed by area students. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and will include entertainment by area school choirs, birthday cake and the reading of a proclamation by Collin County Judge Keith Self.

Later the afternoon of April 16, a barbecue competition and tasting, and live entertainment, will ribs-555068_640take place in the green space located at S. Tennessee and Davis Streets. The public is invited to taste barbecue prepared by local barbecue aficionados from 4 to 7 p.m. The cost is $2 per taste. Cash or credit will be accepted.

Other events planned for the birthday weekend include:

  • Visit historic Chestnut Square for the acclaimed farmers’ market from 8 a.m. to noon. Tour the property, which includes a special Collin McKinney exhibit, from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Download the Eventzee app and participate in the free, family-friendly Eventzee photo scavenger hunt during the birthday weekend celebration, which will have historic codes scattered about the downtown McKinney area participants to capture with their Smartphones.
  • View ornamental birthday cakes displayed in local businesses during the entire month of April and use the Eventzee app to vote for your favorite. A complete list of participating businesses is available at www.collinmckinney250.org.

For more information about Collin McKinney’s 250th birthday and the activities happening around the county this year, go to www.collinmckinney250.org, the official Sestercentennial website. This site also contains a five-minute video about Collin McKinney produced by the multi-Emmy Award-winning Video Biography Company and made possible by Craig Ranch and Encore Wire, and information about a new novella written specifically for the Sestercentennial celebration.

The Collin McKinney Historical Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization formed to promote historical preservation, education and heritage tourism in Collin County. The alliance, along with its partners, sponsors and partner cities, are hosting the county-wide celebrations for the Collin McKinney Sestercentennial.