Happy Birthday Mr. President

Fair Oaks, CA  |  Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner
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Honest Abe and First lady Mary Lincoln – represented by lookalikes Guy Derby and Roberta Zanolli -- were among VIPs at Mount Vernon Memorial Park’s annual celebration of American heritage.

A Heritage Celebration Event

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Two beloved US presidents and their first ladies were  joined this week by frontiersmen, Buffalo Soldiers, colonial infantry and a huge sampling of Americana at Mount Vernon Memorial Park in Fair Oaks. The annual event celebrates Presidents’ Day.

A chime from a Liberty Bell replica began hours of reenactments and educational opportunities. While prospectors panned for gold, nimble-fingered ladies demonstrated the genteel art of lace-making. Abraham Lincoln introduced “my wife, Mary” and George Washington presented a sedate Martha to hundreds of visitors.

Pony Express recruiters were on hand seeking “Young, skinny, wiry fellows… willing to risk death daily.” Activities were loudly punctuated by the firing of an antique Howitzer cannon, provided Sierra Nevada Mormon Pioneer volunteers. For a warmer and more fuzzy experience, children were encouraged to pet the baby goats that represented milk and meat to many early pioneer farmers.

Heritage Day’s historical cast was augmented by US Army officers and a Huey Vietnam helicopter. “It came on a trailer,” explains Mount Vernon manager Lisa Goudy. “Its active days are over but, for the kids who got to sit in the cockpit, a Huey is still exciting.”

The free event aims to bring history to life and honor US presidents. “It was a perfect day for everyone,” reports Goudy. “Everyone enjoyed the part they played, from our two presidents to the baby goats.”

Mount Vernon Memorial Park is located at 8201 Greenback Lane. For information on next year’s commemoration, call (916) 9691251.