In 1865, the year after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, America began celebrating Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th. Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays. In 1971, President Richard Nixon combined the two holidays into one and ever since we have honored all past presidents on the third Monday of February. Special festivities are held in the Washington DC area throughout the weekend.
Special Events for Presidents' DayAbraham Lincoln Birthday Observance
Lincoln Memorial, - February 12, 2013, noon. 23rd & Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC. Honor Abraham Lincoln at a Presidential wreath laying ceremony and a dramatic reading of the "Gettysburg Address."
George Washington Birthday Parade
February 18, 2013, 1-3 p.m. See the country’s largest Presidents' Day Parade in Old Town Alexandria through the streets where Washington once walked. See photos of the parade. Spend the day exploring historic sites in Old Town Alexandria, the historic Virginia town that was an important port during the colonial, revolutionary and Civil War periods.
Ford's Theatre Center
February 18, 2013. 511-5114 Tenth Street NW Washington DC. Visitors may attend ranger talks and performances of One Destiny, a one-act play about Abraham Lincoln and the events of the assassination; explore the Ford’s Theatre Museum and Center for Education and Leadership, including a temporary exhibition titled Torn in Two, which features maps and political cartoons from the Civil War era; listen to master storyteller Jon Spelman explain the many myths of Abraham Lincoln; and hear a dynamic performance of select Lincoln speeches by members of the Ford’s Theatre Youth Leaders Ensemble. Piano-playing political satirist Mark Russell will perform a special one-night engagement at 7 p.m. (tickets required)
February 16-18, 2013. Celebrate George Washington's birthday with three days of special events at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. Presidents’ Day weekend is a great time to explore the 500-acre estate and learn more about the life of the first president of the United States. See this schedule of Presidents' Day Events at Mount Vernon.
Madame Tussauds US Presidents Gallery
Madame Tussauds Washington DC houses a US Presidents Gallery, which features wax figures of all 44 US Presidents. The interactive attraction brings historical figures and events to life through wax figures that visitors can touch, see and hear.
A Birthnight Ball at Gadsby's Tavern Museum
Each year, the Saturday night before President’s Day, a Birthnight Ball is held at Gadby's Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia. The ball is complete with toasts, dinner, a historical program and George Washington's favorite 18th century dances. Gadsby's Tavern is one of the few 18th century taverns still in use in the United States. George Washington, John Adams, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson frequently attended dances, theatrical performances and meetings here. Reservations are required as this event always sells out!
Alexandria's Annual George Washington Classic 10K Race
February 17, 2013. Get your running shoes laced up and celebrate George Washington’s Birthday at Alexandria's Annual George Washington Classic 10K Race.
Revolutionary War Reenactment
February 17, 2013. The Fort Ward Museum located at 4301 W. Braddock Road, in Alexandria, Virginia, stages “Historic Camp and Tactical Demonstrations throughout the day including a Revolutionary War skirmish between the “Redcoats” and the Colonials.” See Photos of the Revolutionary War Reenactment.
Presidents' Day Events at Colonial Williamsburg
Throughout the weekend, the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia offers theatrical programs and interpretive characters telling the inspirational stories of our nation's founding men and women. Hear the stories and meet with America's forefathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.