Impersonators Strike Poses for Presidents

It was patriotism--not low, low prices--that drew some people from their homes this Presidents Day.

Instead of scouring the bargain racks at malls, hundreds of history-buff retirees, camera-toting young parents and eager Boy Scouts flocked Monday to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to celebrate . . . presidents.

There was Dwight Eisenhower in full military regalia; two Abe Lincolns with black stovepipe hats; a pompadoured, Brooklyn-accented Reagan, trusty George Bush at his side; and George Washington in his white-powdered wig.

A retired retail sales manager, Patricia Lauren and a friend chatted up the Lincoln impersonators in honor of the holiday.


“Most women think of Presidents Day as a retail opportunity for sales,” said Lauren of Thousand Oaks, who wore red and blue baubles. “I used to think of it the same way. As I’m maturing, though, I’m realizing the importance of this day and the proper way to celebrate it.”

At the Reagan library, the proper way included a Dixieland band, a barbershop quartet and patriotic grub: relish-smothered Hebrew National hot dogs and billowy, pink cotton candy.

While moms and dads snapped photos, their children played with Lincoln Logs and quizzed the look-alikes-in-chief.

A neighborhood group from South Pasadena, led by social worker and mother Jan Harris, made the rounds.


“I learned about Lincoln,” announced 7-year-old Yara Harris. “He freed the slaves, but they had a big war.”

Added her friend, Zack Dansker: “Washington’s brother actually owned Mt. Vernon first.”

Even though their son was more interested in the library’s showy fountain than in the presidents, parents Kip and Pennie Patterson of Moorpark thought the event would help prepare 4-year-old Paul for kindergarten.

“We wanted our son to actually see and experience Presidents Day,” Pennie Patterson said. “There’s a lot of history here.”