‘Abraham Lincoln’ returning to Pioneer Festival to entertain youth

Danny Russel, in character as Abraham Lincoln, brings the 16th president of the United States to life during the 2017 Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival. Russel will return to this year’s festival on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23.
Danny Russel, in character as Abraham Lincoln, brings the 16th president of the United States to life during the 2017 Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival. Russel will return to this year’s festival on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23. Photo provided.

Abraham Lincoln will return to the Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival this year to entertain the youngsters, who can also create scarecrows to display at the festival and show their pioneer spirit by participating in a children’s parade.

Those activities are in addition to the many children’s games and activities in the festival’s relocated Younguns’ Fun area, which has been moved to a more central spot near the Taylor Street entrance of the Huntington County Fairgrounds. Vintage tractors and engines, which previously occupied that space, have moved adjacent to the motorcars and bicycles display area.

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are invited to create a scarecrow to be displayed during the festival and compete for a chance to win cash prizes.

Scarecrows must be family-friendly; no gory, offensive or political scarecrows will be accepted.

The completed scarecrows should be brought to the Younguns’ Fun area at the fairgrounds on Friday, Sept. 21, between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Awards to the top three entries will be announced on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m. in the Younguns’ Fun area. The scarecrows can be picked up Sunday, Sept. 23, at 5:30 p.m.

The children’s parade is set to take place both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23, at 1 p.m. The parade will line up at the information booth and wind through the fairgrounds.

Children must be in period clothing to participate. Each child will receive a participation gift. The regular festival entrance fee is charged.

Lincoln is portrayed by Danny Russel, an Indianapolis resident who has used his training at the Chicago Actors Studio to travel the country to bring to life poet James Whitcomb Riley and frontiersman Daniel Boone as well as the 16th president of the United States.

In character as Lincoln, Russel regales his audience with tales of his youth in Indiana and his journey toward leading his country during the dark days of the Civil War.

Russel will present his program in the festival’s Pioneer Village schoolhouse on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23, at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day.

Youngsters can also take their seats in the one-room schoolhouse for old-time learnin’ several times during the festival, on Saturday at 10:45 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.; and on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

The 43rd annual Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Huntington County Fairgrounds. Admission is charged, with proceeds supporting a host of community programs.

The festival is sponsored by Phi Chapter of Psi Iota Xi and Friends of the Festival.