FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is "The Land of Lincolns" this weekend, with the 23rd annual convention of Lincoln presenters.
More than 25 presenters in full Abraham Lincoln costumes, along with around a dozen Mary Todd Lincolns, toured the Capitol in Frankfort on Friday, as part of their three-day gathering.
The presenters rotate their convention between the three states most closely associated with America's 16th President: Kentucky, where he was born in Hodgenville; Indiana, where he grew up; and Illinois, where he spent his adulthood practicing law, before heading to Washington.
Ron Carley, a Lincoln presenter from Detroit, Michigan, said they have a busy weekend in store. "We're going to see the Mary Todd Lincoln and Henry Clay homes in Lexington, and the Frankfort Cemetery where Daniel Boone is buried."
Carley said they generally meet around April 15, the date of Lincoln's death, but delayed it this year due to it falling on Easter weekend.
There are about 150 Lincoln presenters who belong to the group, According to Carley, "Dedicated to preserving the memory of Lincoln, but more importantly, teaching it to the youth and people of America."
Among all the Abe and Mary Lincolns at the Capitol was one Jefferson Davis presenter David Walker, a retired teacher from Van Wert, Ohio.
Walker explained how he became a Davis presenter. "One of my Lincoln friends here got me started. I really wanted to do both sides of the story, without making the Confederates look like bad people," said Walker.
"The notion I want to get out of people's heads is all the northern soldiers fought to eradicate slavery and all the southerners fought to preserve it," Walker said. "That's about as ludicrous as you can get."
Walker said he doesn't have any problems when presenting as Davis, although he primarily does his work mostly in northern states.
He did chuckle at one incident in West Virginia, while he was sitting next to a Lincoln presenter. "A young man comes up and says, ‘I'd like to have my picture taken with the President.' Lincoln stood up and the young man said (pointing to Walker) "Him, not you.'"
Walker said he will be in Fairview, Ky., at the Jefferson Davis State Historic Shrine, on June 3, to mark the birthday of Davis, who was born in Fairview.