BENTON — Plans are being finalized for the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of “the first Beatle in America.”

George Harrison’s 1963 visit to Benton will be remembered during the celebration that includes the unveiling and dedication of a historical marker on the Benton Public Square.

Harrison, a member of The Beatles, was the first of his band mates to travel to the United States. He spent nearly three weeks visiting his sister, then a Benton resident, and got to know the region and a number of its residents during his travels.

The Harrison marker will be placed by the Illinois State Historical Society in Capitol Park, Harrison Committee member Robert Rea said.

“This site allows visibility to passing motorist at all times and provides much greater pedestrian traffic as opposed to the originally proposed location east of courthouse,” Rea said.

The marker will be unveiled and dedicated in a ceremony beginning at 2 p.m., Harrison Committee Chairman Jim Kirkpatrick said.

Harrison’s sister Louise will be in attendance, he said.

“We received confirmation from Louise that she will be at the dedication ceremony,” he said.

Other speakers include ISHS executive director William Furry and a number of people who got to know Harrison during his visit. Musical performances, souvenirs and memorabilia will also be a part of the


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