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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

January 17, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Wayne Boles, Celebration Committee Chair, 434-5973
Deb Johnson, Updowntowners Inc., 434-6900
Teresa Ingram, Lincoln Benefit Life, 328-5114

Plans Announced for City's Second Abraham Lincoln Celebration
Local and national performers to be on Lied Stage February 10

Mayor Don Wesely today announced plans for the city's second annual Abraham Lincoln Celebration Sunday, February 10, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The Celebration will be free to the public and feature exhibits, children's activities, an impersonators contest, a nationally-recognized Lincoln portrayer and performances by Nebraska musicians.

"Nearly 1,500 people attended the first celebration last year, and the positive response was tremendous," said Mayor Wesely. "This is a great opportunity for families to celebrate and enjoy a performance at our city's beautiful Lied Center. It's also an opportunity to learn more about this great leader and to show the pride residents of Lincoln, Nebraska have in being the largest city in the nation named for our 16th President."

A volunteer steering committee, headed by Wayne Boles of Telesis Inc., has planned the Celebration. It is sponsored by the City of Lincoln; Lincoln Benefit Life Company, the Celebration's Inaugural Benefactor; and Updowntowners, Inc. Other supporters include the Lied Center, the Nebraska Humanities Council, the Lincoln Public Schools, the Nebraska State Historical Society, the University of Nebraska, the Advertising Federation of Lincoln, the Lincoln Journal Star, KLKN-TV, Time Warner Cable and many other individuals, corporations and organizations.

"This event touches two of the causes that our company and employees support -- family and the arts," said Gene Wraith, President and Chief Operating Officer of Lincoln Benefit Life. "We know the community will again embrace this free celebration and have some fun while learning about the Great Emancipator."

The event runs from noon to 5:30 p.m., with a two-hour performance on the main stage at 3 p.m. It will feature the 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Band based in Fremont; Springfield, Illinois actor Fritz Klein, who will speak and answer questions as President Lincoln; and the UNL Wind Ensemble performing Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait."

Activities begin at noon in the lobby areas of the Lied, with a variety of Abraham Lincoln exhibits as well as children's toys, games, crafts and displays. Storytelling is scheduled for 1 and 1:30 p.m. in the Johnny Carson Theater. An ice sculpture of Lincoln is planned at the Lied entrance. Local Civil War re-enactors in authentic uniforms will mingle with the crowd and answer questions, and those attending are encouraged to wear costumes from the era.

Other activities in the lobby areas include:

  • The Smith Family Band from Hastings will perform Civil-War area music for re-enactors and the public to dance.
  • Those dressed as Abraham Lincoln can win prizes in the "Impersonators Contest." Sign-up information will be available at the information desk, with judging scheduled at 1:30 p.m.
  • At a 2 p.m. ceremony, Mayor Wesely will issue a proclamation, present awards, lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" and cut the birthday cake.
  • Souvenirs, refreshments and books from the Nebraska Press will be available for sale.

Free parking will be available to those attending the Celebration in both the Que Place Garage, 1111 "Q" Street, and the Market Place Garage, 925 "Q" Street. Parking stubs from those garages will be stamped by volunteers at the Lied Center.

On Monday, February 11, Klein is scheduled to perform at several Lincoln schools. More information on Klein is available at

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