Yucaipa and Calimesa Scouts will be among the thousands of youth participating Saturday, Feb. 9, in the 69th annual Lincoln Pilgrimage in downtown Redlands. The event inspires those taking part to honor the ideals and life of President Abraham Lincoln.

The purpose of the pilgrimage is to encourage youth to dedicate themselves to the principles held by founding fathers, according to volunteer coordinator Don Buchanan.

The pilgrimage parade starts at 10 a.m. with participants walking from the Redlands High School baseball field area to the Redlands Bowl for a free historical presentation and music, beginning at 11 a.m.

Parade participants

The event's guest of honor, in the person of Lincoln re-enactor Don Ancell of Oxnard, will travel the pilgrimage parade route from the high school to the Redlands Bowl in an 1860's period, horse-drawn carriage.

During his portrayal as the 16th U.S. President, Ancell will be accompanied by Mary Todd Lincoln re-enactor Jane DeBeaumont of Victorville. Ancell is well-known for prior presentations at the Lincoln Shrine and as a past Lincoln Pilgrimage guest speaker. Visitors may greet and pose for photographs with them at the Bowl.

The Lincoln Pilgrimage parade will feature a colorful display of American flags carried by the Sons of the Union Veterans Reserve Color Guard and Uniformed Division, accompanied by the Ladies Auxiliary; the Mountain Fifes and Drums; the 116th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment; the McGowan Brigade, Battalion of Sharpshooters, 1st Company; 2nd U.S. Calvary; 69th New York and other Civil War units.

Middle school bands in the procession will feature the Cope Drum Line and the Clement Viking Marching Band,. The 250-member Redlands Unified School District Combined Elementary Band will perform. The elementary band will showcase Civil War and other patriotic songs. The band's conductor is Jeff Apmadoc, who is an Eagle Scout.

Additional youth groups with parents and other adult leaders will follow the bands in the pilgrimage parade. They will be joined by a horse-drawn wagon from Riley's Farm, which also is supplying the horse-drawn wagon for the President and Mrs. Lincoln re-enactors.

Redlands Mayor Pro Tem Pat Gilbreath and other distinguished local service club representatives will ride in corvette cars supplied by the Corvette Club or in classic antique cars. Bob Romero will represent the Kiwanis Club of Redlands (Noon), the Lincoln Pilgrimage sponsor since 1979.

The pilgrimage also will include antique and modern fire engines from the Redlands Fire Department, and the 4-H mounted horse units from Yucaipa and Calimesa. The Redlands Police Department will provide traffic control.

California State University San Bernardino's USAF ROTC will present and raise the American flag at the Bowl's stately flagpole to the National Anthem performed by the RUSD Elementary Bands.

Accomplished, classically-trained musicians and Troop 11 members Edward Gao, a Life Scout, and Christopher Lesyna, a Star Scout, will perform a Civil War-period musical duet on piano and violin.

Another highlight of the annual program is when the name of the Scout who designed this year's Lincoln Pilgrimage commemorative Scout patch is announced and then honored.

During the closing flag ceremony, Redlands Troop 33 Boy Scout Joseph Harris-Lesh will play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

Selected youth will walk a floral arrangement made by Hockridge Florist from the Bowl program across Eureka Street to the Lincoln Memorial Shrine, 125 W. Vine St.

The youngsters will place the arrangement in front of the Lincoln bust at the shrine as a commemorative reminder of their dedication to Lincoln's leadership and character.

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. the day of the pilgrimage. After the program, Civil War re-enactors from the 116th Pennsylvanian Volunteer Infantry Regiment will be set up in a Civil War encampment at the Shrine for the youth and adults to visit and photograph.

 Others providing pilgrimage teamwork will include Boy Scout Troop 8 of Yucaipa cleaning up following the 4-H horse units. Troop 8's Scoutmaster Brian MacGavin, EMTP, will provide the First Aid support station at the gathering site and at the Bowl.

For more information, contact Buchanan at 792-3236.

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