Mayor Chris Beutler today invited the public to attend the 17th annual Abraham Lincoln Birthday Celebration Sunday, February 12 at Lincoln Southeast High School, 2930 S. 37th Street. Activities begin at 1:30 p.m. in the commons area, and "An American Patriotic Celebration!" featuring a children's choir and storytellers is set for 3 p.m. in the Jennifer L. Dorsey-Howley Performing Arts Center. All activities and events are free. The Nebraska 150 Celebration has designated it as an Official Event of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial.
"We are pleased to again celebrate the great man for whom our City is named on his 208th birthday," Mayor Beutler said. "At the same time, we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Nebraska Statehood. While President Lincoln never set foot in our State, he had an enormous impact on its future by signing the Homestead Act, the financing of the transcontinental railroad, the Morrill Land Grant College Act and the Emancipation Proclamation."
The program presented by America's Great Stories™ will feature about 50 children from across the community performing patriotic songs. The children represent Belmont Elementary, College View Academy, Lincoln Christian School and Prescott Elementary. Five adult storytellers will bring history to life: Gene Hobelman as President Lincoln; Talea Bloch as Julia Ward Howe, who wrote "Battle Hymn of the Republic"; Phil Boehr as The Rev. Samuel Francis Smith, who wrote "America"; Darla Reinwald as Mrs. Samuel Smith; and Janet Sorensen as singer Kate Smith, whose iconic version of "God Bless America" continues to inspire patriotism.
Joann Herrington, a teacher at Belmont Elementary School, is the show's Music Director. Deborah Freeman, Drama Director at Lincoln Christian School, is the Production Coordinator. The script is written by Susan Dittman, author of "Abraham Lincoln's Shining Star: The Inspirational Story of Abraham Lincoln and Nebraska."
Musician Chris Sayre will perform from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the commons area. Sayre has performed at every annual celebration. Other activities before and after the concert will include kids' crafts and games, historical displays and free birthday cake. The Homestead National Monument in Beatrice will also have an exhibit and activities. The Abe Lincoln Impersonators Contest is open to all ages, and prizes from Lazlo's/Fireworks restaurants will be awarded.
The Celebration is supported by the presenting sponsor Cornhusker Bank as well as Humanities Nebraska, and other local individuals, businesses and organizations.
Those attending are advised to use one the two parking lots east of the school: the lot off of Van Dorn Street or the lot that can be reached off of 37th Street south of the school. Enter through the Prasch entrance (door 9) or the commons entrance (door 18). Signage will be posted to direct the public to the commons and the Performing Arts Center.
More information will be posted to this page as it becomes available. You can find it again at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: abe).