Rain did not wreck our Lincoln Days.
A downpour cut short the festivities and events were moved around a bit. There were a few hitches – and no doubt, some disappointments – but overall, it was an excellent festival.
Many participants embraced the “Lincoln Goes Hollywood” theme and you just had to smile when you saw Abe Lincoln walk by wearing a pair of glitter sunglasses.
This may be the only time a Mary Todd Lincoln presenter has asked a Hodgenville crowd if her dress made her backside look big. A few smiled, a few gasped, a few tried to remember where they’d heard that line before. (It was the Geico commercial.)
The parade was great – not too long, not too short – and we got to hear our Band of Hawks play. Very nice.
It may be the first time a float had to lean its crow’s nest to fit under an electric wire. Argh, maties!
But it was the railsplitting competition that made the biggest impact. The competitors agreed to move the contest from Sunday to Saturday afternoon due to the rain threat. Many of them competed in absolutely miserable conditions when the downpour hit.
After it was over, almost everyone donated their winnings to Gary Rock, a local farmer who lost both legs in a silage chopper.
Larry Hill of Missouri, who has been attending and competing at Lincoln Days for many years, said he would donate $500 to Rock “if he didn’t win.”
Hill, who is in his mid-50s, almost always wins. This year, he “threw” the contest, taking frequent breaks and even letting a Lincoln Look-Alike swing the ax.
Grand total: $2,100 from one event to assist Rock with the purchase of prosthetic legs.
On the other side of town, our national park – dedicated to the memory of native son Abraham Lincoln – was barricaded to visitors due to a federal government squabble.
At Creek Front Park, hearts were open as out-of-town guests and long-time residents dug in their pockets to help someone in need.
I kept hoping some of those long-legged Lincoln presenters – or Mary Todds with their hooped skirts – would hop the barricades, much like our veterans have been doing in Washington to reach national monuments. What a great photo opportunity.
The real Abe would have done so, I think.
Mary Todd? Oh yeah, Mary Todd would have gone through those gates.
That didn’t happen. But we managed to show the spirit of Lincoln – his generosity and humility – in other ways.
What an excellent festival.
On a side note:
I missed my 35th class reunion Saturday night. After covering the festival, I was way too low on energy.
Just to let you know – I was thinking of you guys. Thanks for posting the photos to Facebook. You all looked great, LaRue County High School Class of 1978.