CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Over the past two days, Abe Lincoln has been spotted at Ellen's Ice Cream on Capitol Street, Appalachian Power Park on the East End and even bicycling along Kanawha Boulevard.
On Monday, the 16th president was spotted downtown in a Pontiac convertible with Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.
The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau hired a Lincoln re-enactor out of Louisville, Ky., to portray the 16th president for a series of videos that will be aired on the agency's website, said Tim Brady, vice president of sales.
The videos are being produced to promote Charleston during the state's 150th birthday celebration, Brady said.
"Our ultimate goal is to get people to come to Charleston for the Sesquicentennial celebration," Brady said.
Convention and Visitors Bureau staff members sat down and brainstormed ways to promote the state during its 150th birthday, said Jama Jarrett, vice president of office operations and communications.
The bureau came up with the plan to get the re-enactor, whose real name is Larry Elliott of Louisville. The bureau then applied for, and received, a $5,000 grant from the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission to pay for the project, Jarrett said.
"This is just another way for us to market our hip, historic Charleston, West Virginia," Jarrett said.
Elliott is a professional re-enactor who does a lot of work at schools. He has been portraying Lincoln since 2003.
Elliott speaks about everything from Lincoln's early years to his wartime leadership and the emancipation of the slaves.
He also discusses the turbulent prewar years and such decisions as the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed residents in the territories to vote on whether they would allow slavery.
The act led to a guerrilla war along the Kansas/Nebraska. "Bleeding Kansas," as it came to be known, became the landscape trod by such notorious villains as John Brown.
Elliott also strives to educate people about Lincoln's true motives, and that he was not necessarily all about freeing the slaves because he hated slavery.