Andrew M. Loveless
Tiny Hodgenville (pop. 2600), County Seat of Larue County in Central Kentucky is celebrated as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, the nation's 16th President, and that area's most famous citizen.
President Lincoln was born on the 300-acre Sinking Spring Farm, three miles south of Hodgen's Mill, in the early morning hours of February 12, 1809. Today a 116-acre National Historic Site preserves the homesite and birthplace cabin of the Great Emancipator. Administered by the National Park Service, the Birthplace park is visited by over one half million people each year.
While many of the States of the nation observe February 12 as a legal holiday, citizens of Larue County join together each year on the nearest Saturday to the 12th of February to stage a day-long pageant. Highlights include a parade, costume and beard contests, an art competition, craft displays and demonstrations, historical exhibits, and a Lincoln Day dinner.
The celebration evokes memories of an earlier era when outdoor pageants and speech-making, often of a patriotic nature, were a major form of public enlightenment and entertainment.