Abraham Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809, just outside Hodgenville.
The national kickoff for a two-year celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth was to be held in LaRue County on Feb. 12. Several dignitaries, including first lady Laura Bush and actor Sam Waterston, were slated to speak.
It turned into a huge disappointment after organizers canceled it due to an ice storm. Local leaders continued with hometown festivities, including a visit by the governor and a presidential birthday cake. However, it wasn’t enough to salve the loss of the much-anticipated celebration.
This February, the county has a second chance to honor its famous native son with plays, an unveiling of the new Lincoln penny and other ceremonies.
Feb. 12 events
Lincoln’s 200th birthday celebration begins with a flag-raising and wreath laying ceremony on Lincoln Square at 9 a.m.
Later that morning, the U.S. Mint will unveil its Kentucky Lincoln penny design at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. The schedule hasn’t been finalized, according to Sandy Brue, chief of interpretation and resource management at the park.
“Basically at 10 a.m. we will have a program that will take place in a large tent beside and slightly behind the Memorial building,” Brue said. “This program will include a speaker from the U.S. Mint, a few remarks from a historian, music, including 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic,' one of Lincoln’s favorite songs, and a wreath laying ceremony.”
The Mint will release into circulation the first 2009 penny with a picture of the birthplace cabin on the back. Three more Lincoln pennies will be released later that year.
Re-enactors dressed in period clothing will be on hand, along with Lincoln presenter Jim Sayre of Lawrenceburg.
At noon, the annual Lincoln Days luncheon will take place at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. School is dismissed for the day. Three hundred $25 tickets will be available.
At 2 p.m., the dedication of the restored replica Lincoln Boyhood cabin at Knob Creek will be held. Brue has few details, only that the event will involve “a speaker and birthday cake – all in a large tent.”
There will be no parking at Knob Creek Feb. 12. The park service will run free shuttle busses from the birthplace park to the luncheon, to downtown Hodgenville and to Knob Creek and back.
“Folks can park at any of these places and catch the bus,” Brue said.
“Also at 2 p.m., there will be a free opera “A Shirt-tail Boy” at the Hodgenville Civic Center. Groups involved include the Schmidt Opera Outreach Program, the Lexington Opera Society and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre.” Lincoln Days Inc. is organizing the program.
Plans are to be finalized at the next Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission meeting in Frankfort.
For more information about the Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, visit www.kylincoln.org