Lincoln tourism leaders unveil Abe, with shades, in hopes of luring younger visitors By MATT OLBERDING
The is not your great-great-great-great grandma's Abraham Lincoln.
The 5-foot-tall Abe Lincoln bobblehead statue that the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled Monday is more like a 21st century hipster Abe.
The Abe statue leaning on an ax has tight, black pants, a red-and-black checked shirt with a few buttons open and sleek, black sunglasses.
"This is our buff Abe Lincoln, let's put it that way," said Jeff Maul, the CVB's executive director.
Having a cool, hip Abe is by design.
"Kids are going to love it," Maul said Monday, the 16th president's 209th birthday.
The CVB chose Lincoln's birthday to unveil its newest attraction, and the hope is that it will play a prominent role in future birthday celebrations.
Maul also is hoping the statue, custom manufactured by Florida bobblehead maker HD Design Center, will help draw more visitors to Lincoln's visitor center at Seventh and P streets in Lincoln Station.
Younger visitors are "looking for something just a little bit different," he said, and the most successful visitors bureaus have attractions that are centered around some local landmark or well-known local attraction.
One of the most famous visitor center attractions is the wood chipper used in the movie "Fargo" to "dispose of" one of its main characters. The Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau in Fargo, North Dakota, has the machine, which people come from around the world to see.
Maul realizes bobblehead Abe probably won't rise to the same level, but he's hoping to create a social-media campaign that will help the attraction go viral and bring in visitors from outside the state.
The CVB is running a promotion encouraging people to get pictures taken with Abe and share them on social media for a chance to win a free one-night stay at the Graduate Lincoln, a $50 gift card to John J's Chow Hall and two tickets to see Kinky Boots at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.