Iowan Lance Mack will portray Abraham Lincoln and perform true Civil War era stories during this year’s Story! Festival, which will be held Sept. 20-22 in Story City. Lance started portraying Mister Lincoln in 1989 when he was teaching German at the University of Michigan. At the time he had a full beard with mustache. His wife commented one day that if he shaved off the mustache, he’d look just like Abraham Lincoln. "I shaved it off, and lo-and-behold, there he was!" After this revelation, all Lance needed to do was "to figure out what to do with it." He has been portraying Lincoln ever since.
Lance’s presentations are all in Mister Lincoln’s own words, which he’s selected from Lincoln’s collected works and assembled into a large sum of presentation material. Since Lance was always awed by the President’s command of the English language, he has made only minimal editorial changes to his words, like those necessary to make transitions possible or to update some of his 19th-century vocabulary. Lance has performed at hundreds of events around the country, including Civil War Reenactments, school visits, political functions, and on patriotic holidays.
"It is a high honor, it is a tremendous privilege, and it is a great responsibility to wear this face and to present Abraham Lincoln to our time. I marvel again and again every time I perform, how timeless his wisdom continues to be," stated Mack.
Mr. Lincoln’s performances at the Story! Festival include a stop at the Roland-Story Middle School on Friday, September 20. He will also perform on Friday evening during Dinner and A Story at 6:30 p.m. at the Story City Community Center. At 1:00 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 21st, Mr. Lincoln will visit the Sheldall Schoolhouse Museum where local residents voted for the real Abraham Lincoln during the 1860 presidential election. This performance is free, but a free-will donation will be taken. Mr. Lincoln will also tell stories during the Saturday evening concert at 7:00 p.m. at the Story Theater, 512 Broad Street.
Tickets for the Saturday evening concert are $15 and can be purchased at the GCC office. Call 515-733-4214 for more details. In conjunction with Mack’s Abraham Lincoln visit to Story City, the Academy Award winning film Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, will be presented at the Story Theater Thursday and Friday night at 7 p.m. Admission is free and the movie is sponsored by the Story! Festival. To find out more about the Story! Festival, visit the festival’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StoryFestivalSC.
—submitted by Kate Feil, Story City Historical Society Director