Abraham Lincoln celebration continues

Nick Stroman

Organizers of a next week’s Abraham Lincoln celebration at Five Points Washington are banking on the fact many Washington parents and students do not know much about the 16th President of the United States and his history with the city.

“Celebrating Lincoln Today in Portraits Past” will be at 7 p.m. March 26 at Five Points Washington.

The evening will feature drama, music, Civil War dancing, art, refreshments, historic maps and displays about Lincoln and his famous trials.

The celebration is a collaborative effort between Washington Community High School, Washington Historical Society, Washington Park District and Washington’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Committee.

Judy Gross, co-chair of the bicentennial group, said it was important that Washington people knew what happened with Lincoln when he was in the city.

“A lot of his politics actually happened on our square. He planned part of his presidential campaign and met with many Chicago area mayors, governors and Civil War leaders here,” Gross said.

Gross added Lincoln even tried one of his cases in Washington, in which Lincoln defended a tavern which was eventually destroyed after the owner was accused of selling bad whiskey and killing someone.

“He also hung out quite a bit at Holland’s Mercantile, and one of our goals is to pack this place for this event and others to raise money to eventually put up a plaque in the store recognizing that,” Gross said.

Mayor Gary Manier signed a proclamation in last June creating the bicentennial committee to help with citywide recognition and celebration of Lincoln’s 200th birthday and education about his unique relationship with the city.

Gross said next week’s celebration will feature three separate acts or vignettes about Lincoln’s time in Washington, including his trials and politics, and a presentation on the underground railroad.

In between acts, the WCHS chorus and Civil War dancers will perform.

“We don’t think everything will last more than an hour. At the conclusion, we would like to bring out our Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln impersonators and have them sing happy birthday with the audience,” Gross said.

Gross added there will be birthday cake and refreshments for the audience to enjoy, and they can also look at arts display, including a comparison of Washington past and present.

Gross said while people have been frequently asking about the Lincoln event, ticket sales have been fairly slow.

“It’s a school night, so I’m encouraging teachers to not give homework that night and maybe kids to attend for extra credit. It’s going to be very educational for them,” Gross said.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and are available at the door that night, or by visiting www.fivepointswashington.org.