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 cake. (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 http://www.benfranklin300.org. "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