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Contact: Sherry Justus, 830-868-7128 ext. 245
The Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Western National Parks Association, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park and LBJ State Park and Historic Site invite everyone to a "Celebration of the Birthday and Legacy of Lady Bird Johnson" on Sunday, December 21 beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the LBJ Ranch. This is just one part of the annual Christmas tree lighting event held every year at the state and national parks near Stonewall.
To access the LBJ Ranch, visitors stop in at the LBJ State Park Visitor Center to receive a free car permit, map and audio CD of the attractions in both parks then drive in their own vehicles to the LBJ Ranch.
Starting at 2:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Texas White House, authors Jen Ohlson; Every Town Needs A Trail, Kathi Appelt and artist/illustrator Joy Fisher Hein; Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers, will sign copies of their books and greet visitors in celebration of Mrs. Johnson’s December 22 birthday and her legacy of native plants and conservation.
Guests will be invited to mingle on the lawn of the Texas White House, share in refreshments and go on ranger-led tours of the newly opened office of President Johnson in the Texas White House.
At 5 p.m. the authors will head over to the LBJ State Park and Historic Site Visitor Center to participate in the annual tree lighting event. The authors will again sign books and greet visitors until the tree lighting program begins at 6:00 p.m.
Author and television sports reporter Jen Ohlson's passion for Austin’s Lady Bird Lake Trail led her to write the book Every Town Needs a Trail, winner of the 2008 National Independent Publisher Book Award for best regional book. As an avid athlete and proponent of outdoor physical activity, Ms. Ohlson was inspired by the trail and one of its long-time supporters, Lady Bird Johnson. Through photographs and stories Ms. Ohlson's book shares the history and importance of the trail and includes first hand testimonials from Mrs. Johnson, President Bush, Lance Armstrong, Governor Rick Perry and more. The book, which retails for $39.95, will be available for purchase at the event.
Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America, written by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein, is a beautiful introduction to Lady Bird Johnson's life and her passion for the natural world. In this warm, engaging look at the life of a great First Lady, Kathi Appelt tells the story behind Lady Bird Johnson's environmental vision. Joy Fisher Hein's colorful wildflowers burst from every page, inviting us to share in Lady Bird's love for natural beauty. Some of this original art will be available for purchase at the Texas White House event in the afternoon. These works are about 20 percent larger than printed in the books. Note cards from the art also will be available. A part of the proceeds from the sale of the prints will go to the Friends of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park to aid in their efforts to support numerous projects for the park.
Kathi Appelt has written over 20 books for children and young adults in addition to Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers, including Merry Christmas, Merry Crow and The Underneath, her latest book for young adults. These three books will be available for purchase at the event.
The tree lighting at the LBJ State Park and Historic Site Visitor Center begins at 5 p.m. with Jen Ohlson, Kathi Appelt and Joy Fisher Hein signing books, live music, shopping in the park store and a live nativity scene. The formal program begins at 6 p.m. with the lighting of a huge outdoor tree by Johnson family members, followed by a visit from Santa.
After the program, visitors are invited to see the Sauer-Beckmann Farm decorated in its early 1900s finery complete with a candle-lit live Christmas tree. Then visitors drive to the LBJ Ranch in their own vehicles to see the Junction school, LBJ's birthplace and Texas White House decorated for the holidays.
All of these events are free to the public with the exception of the tours through President Johnson’s office in the Texas White House, which are $1 per person from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The LBJ State Park is located 15 miles east of Fredericksburg or 14 miles west of Johnson City on Hwy 290. Parking is available at both the LBJ Ranch Hangar and the LBJ State Park. For more information or detailed instructions, please call 830-644-2420 or 830-868-7128, ext. 244.