Ogden will host the 99th Statehood Day observance and centennial send-off Jan. 4.

Titled "Rendezvous with History," the Ogden celebration will feature tours of historic sites and museums, daylong entertainment and the official Statehood Day banquet.The activities begin with walking and self-guided driving tours starting at 9 a.m. at the Ogden Park Hotel, 24th Street and Lincoln, and continue with a bus tour to the Hill Aerospace Museum in the afternoon and a visit to Ogden's Christmas village in the evening.

The banquet follows at 6:30 p.m. at the Ogden Park Hotel. The program includes remarks from Gov. Mike Leavitt and Ogden Mayor Glenn Mecham and a State-hood Day address by WSU profes-sor Ri-chard W. Sadler.

Also on Jan. 4, Leavitt will launch a massive undertaking called "Faces of Utah" with a reading of his personal essay titled "What Living in Utah Means to Me."

Coordinators of the ambitious project hope to gather hundreds of thousands of essays from Utah residents during January and compile them into "the nation's largest social history document."

Shannon R. Hoskins, project co-leader and associate director of Utah State University's Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, said more than one million of the essay forms have been printed and distributed.

The forms are available at Smith's Food and Drug Center, local libraries and other locations and also will be printed in the Jan. 3 edition of the Deseret News.

"For generations to come, researchers, educators and Utah citizens will be able to consult this document. The material will define the Utah of the Centennial," Hoskins said.

Looking ahead to the state's 100th birthday, communities, institutions and organizations have scheduled more than 600 centennial activities during 1995. Filling a 40-page master calendar, they include a special series of Utah Symphony concerts, a lecture series, displays and exhibits, release of a centennial minted coin, seminars for history teachers, school performances, authentic wagon-train trek, publication of state centennial histories and other activities.

Many of the projects and activities are being funded by the Utah Statehood Centennial Commission through the sale of centennial license plates and other products, ticket revenues, donations and sponsors. According to the commission's year-end report, more than $800,000 in grants have been approved for centennial privately and publicly sponsored projects.

Also, the commission awarded $10,000 to each of Utah's 29 counties to help them in planning and developing centennial legacy projects. The projects include a centennial circle driving tour in Iron County, museum in Kane Coun-ty, improvements to Uintah County's court house park, connecting Ogden and Weber canyons with a recreational trail, restoring the Garr Ranch on Antelope Island and developing the Washington Coun-ty Pioneer Center for the Arts.

The state plans to enhance Pioneer Trail State Park, which will be renamed "This is the Place" on Jan. 1. The Legislature appropriated $1.5 million for a new visitors center, and the Centennial Commission is raising additional money to expand and improve the facilities in Old Deseret Village.