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While Vandalia traditionally has observed Abraham Lincoln’s birthday with a celebration, the one for his 200th birthday next Thursday will be a little bit bigger.
As always, the main birthday celebration will be at the Vandalia Statehouse, but even that program will be a little different than the one in years past.
This year’s birthday program will be on the second floor of the Statehouse, in the House of Representatives chambers, where Lincoln began his career in politics.
The Statehouse will open at 5:45 p.m., and those attending the celebration will be greeted by a Lincoln presenter.
At 6 p.m., local historian Dale Timmermann, who researched and scripted local Lincoln stories for Vandalia’s Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits, will give a presentation on those exhibits.
The First United Methodist Church SpiritSingers will perform at 6:45 p.m., and they will be followed by Kevin Kaegy, a Bond County resident and Lincoln enthusiast who will give a presentation on “The Lincoln Boys in the White House.”
For those unable to make it up to the second floor of the Statehouse, the upstairs proceedings will be broadcast in the Supreme Court Room on the first floor and also on the local cable TV access channel.
Birthday cake, punch and coffee will be served at the Statehouse celebration.
Earlier in the day, the National Road Association of Illinois will participate in the birthday celebration by holding an open house at its new Interpretive Center, located in the building just north of Vandalia City Hall in the 100 block of South Fifth Street.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the start of the open house, which runs until 5:30 p.m.
One room in the center is dedicated to Lincoln’s life on the National Road, which is also known as the Cumberland Road. It was the only road completely surveyed and built with federal funding.
The Fayette County Museum is marking Lincoln’s 200th birthday with a special display throughout February.
On display in three exhibit cases are 84 items on loan from Lincoln historian and collector Tom Mathis of Louisville.
Included in the exhibit is one case of Civil War items.
Statues, photos and items from historic sites in Springfield, Vandalia, Lerna and Charleston are featured in the third case.
The museum, located at 301 W. Main St., is open from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On Feb. 12, it will stay open until 5:30 p.m., so visitors can see the display before attending the birthday celebration at the Statehouse.
For more information or to schedule tours, call 283-4866.