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DECATUR — The Chicago Bears on Tuesday released more details about an event celebrating Decatur as the original home of the team. 

"Return to Decatur" is planned at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K Anderson Plaza. Tickets are $5, plus a processing fee.

The team was founded in 1919 as the Decatur Staleys and moved to Chicago two years later. 

Events on July 21 will include: 

  • 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.: Outdoor activities and appearances by the Staley Da Bear mascot and Chicago Bears Drumline, mobile pro shop, concessions, photo opportunities, face painting, balloon artists and interactive activities. Autographs and book signing opportunities will be available.
  • 3 p.m.: Hour-long discussion in the Civic Center with Hall of Fame writer Don Pierson, Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey and Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. Moderators will be Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer of Chicago radio station WBBM.
  • 4:45 p.m.: Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy will meet with the public to discuss the upcoming season, also moderated by Joniak and Thayer.

Tickets are at chicagobears.com/fan-zone/bears100. The event is sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland and Tate & Lyle. Proceeds benefit the Staley Museum

The Bears are having various events this year to celebrate their 100th anniversary and the start of the National Football League. A three-day fan convention was held in Rosemont.

The Decatur Staleys were formed by food starch company A.E. Staley, with player-coach George Halas. They were known as the Chicago Staleys in 1921 before becoming the Bears in 1922. The team's mascot is named after Staley. 

The Staley Museum, at 361 N. College St. in Decatur, has dedicated a room to the original Decatur Staleys and their history, including photos and uniforms.

The museum also is hosting "History of the Decatur Staleys" at 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 20. Local historian Mark Sorensen will be leading the discussion. 

GALLERY: Looking back at the Decatur roots of the Chicago Bears 🏈

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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"Together Decatur" Columnist and Food and Drink Reporter

“Together Decatur” columnist and food and drink reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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