300 Modern-Day 'Franklins,' Including Pennsylvania Governor and Fellow Statesmen, Joined by Musicians and the American Public, Celebrate Benjamin Franklin's 300th Birthday

Jan 17, 2006, 00:00 ET from Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary

    PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Three hundred modern-day
 "Franklins," including Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell and United
 States Congressmen, along with musicians and other revelers, took over the
 Grand Hall Lobby of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia this
 morning for an extraordinary birthday party thrown by the Benjamin Franklin
 Tercentenary, a private non-profit organization created to mark the 300-year
 anniversary of Franklin's birth.  Well-known and everyday Americans, one for
 each of Franklin's 300 years, were chosen to represent the many facets and
 contributions of this founding father.  Each "Franklin" played a special role
 in this morning's inspirational ceremony, lighting specially designed
 electrical candles on a remarkable eight-foot-high and 14-foot-wide birthday
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060117/PHTU054)
     The program was presented by CBS 3 (Philadelphia) Anchors Larry Mendte,
 Alycia Lane and Ukee Washington; United States Congressmen Mike Castle (DE)
 and Chaka Fattah (PA); and the Honorable Governor Edward G. Rendell, who
 invited the 300 participants, each of whom have been influenced by Franklin,
 to light the 300 candles and present their unique birthday wishes for the man
 of honor.
     At the end of the program, Judge Marjorie Rendell, Pennsylvania's First
 Lady, and CBS 3 Anchor Ukee Washington led more than 800 attendees in singing
 "Happy Birthday" to the nation's first founding father to reach this
 milestone.  Other highlights from the event can be found at
     "Benjamin Franklin embodied so many admirable qualities and his legacy
 continues to influence so many aspects of modern-day life," said Dr. Rosalind
 Remer, executive director, the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.  "I think
 Franklin would have been very proud to see such a diverse group gathered in
 his honor for his 300th birthday."
     During the celebration, Philadelphia's Singing City Choir, a 58-year-old
 vocal group and America's first integrated community choir, which works to
 make a difference through music, performed "Poor Richard's Almanac," composed
 by Philadelphia-area teen Daniel Schlosberg.
     The host of the celebration, the National Constitution Center, is the
 world-premiere venue for Benjamin Franklin:  In Search of a Better World, the
 international traveling exhibition that is the centerpiece of Franklin's
 birthday celebration.  The exhibition will be at the National Constitution
 Center in Philadelphia through April 30, 2006, before traveling to venues in
 St. Louis, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, and Paris, France.
     Ben Franklin 300 Philadelphia is a year-long celebration of Benjamin
 Franklin's 300th birthday, coordinated and marketed by the Benjamin Franklin
 Tercentenary, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the
 National Constitution Center and CBS 3. Festivities will run from fall 2005
 through 2006 and will focus on the world premiere of the international
 traveling exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World at the
 National Constitution Center. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, a non-profit
 organization, is supported by a lead grant of $4 million from The Pew
 Charitable Trusts and established to reaffirm Franklin's enduring legacy in
 his 300th birthday year. The Tercentenary was founded in 2000 by the American
 Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, the Library Company of
 Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the University of
 Pennsylvania. For more information about the exhibition, related programs and
 traveling to Philadelphia, visit http://www.gophila.com/ben.

SOURCE Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary