Won't you come along on a field trip to celebrate Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday?
On February 6th, my mom and I drove out to Tampico, Illinois, where Reagan was born in 1911. There were all kinds of celebrations that week, including a fancy fund raising dinner in Chicago and another in Reagan's boyhood town of Dixon. Unfortunately, the keynote speakers, Dennis Hastert and Newt Gingrich forgot to send me free tickets and I didn't have money for the $250 a plate event. Besides, I prefer the small town, home grown affair.
My mom and I attend every year. Last year she wasn't able to attend and I dragged the Farmer. Remember? We met Reagan's son Michael, who was in attendance.
The road to Tampico is the typical northern Illinois scene. It's flat and sparsely populated. Farmhouses in this area are spaced apart by many acres. The roads are straight and set up in a grid pattern. Think straight and flat.
Tampico is small, only 800 residents and I always say that must include pets and livestock. It's only a few blocks square.
We've arrived at the small storefront that houses the Historical Museum. This is not a museum devoted to Reagan, but a place where all the local history is housed. The Reagan Birthplace Museum is a few doors down.
Mom stands under the bunting.
They're open for the party and we're all invited to come in.
Sign the guest book. They've had vistors from as far away as Iceland. Lots of Germans have visited also and there's a large piece of the Berlin Wall displayed in nearby Dixon, Illinois.
The local history contained in this building includes class photos from the local schools.
There are lots of other interesting items including this barber's chair.
Many of the locals gather to celebrate and catch up on their lives.
The press is in attendance to get the story.
The press contingent includes this photographer from the Associated Press. Photographers hate to have their photos taken, so I see this as a coup! He was a very interesting person. He had the choice of staying in the city and covering the snow removal or driving out to Tampico to cover the birthday celebration. He chose birthday!
Three local schoolchildren were chosen and crowned king, queen and prince. Their task was to cut the cake.
The queen took her job very seriously.
The prince was a bit confused about why we were singing happy birthday to someone who'd died.
Lighting the candles.
Thanks for coming along with us. I hope the drive was not too boring.
Grab some red, white and blue jelly beans on your way out.