Presidential visit no lie


President Abraham Lincoln (aka Stan Wernz), center, greets Clermont County Park District Direct Chris Clingman, left, and Capt. Bill Judd during Steamboat Days Aug. 25 at the Chilo Lock 34 Park Visitors Center.

CHILO – It’s not every day the guy whose portrait graces the American penny and five dollar bill pays a visit.

So when Abraham Lincoln walked into the Chilo Lock 34 Park Visitors Center Aug. 25, plenty of heads turned and did double takes.

Staff included.

The 16th American President (as portrayed by Stan Wernz, president of the Association of Lincoln Presenters since 2005) may have been the most famous visitor to the second installment of the Clermont County Park District’s Steamboat Days, but he wasn’t alone.

Dozens of people enjoyed model boat displays by award-winning builder John Fryant, toured the museum and watched former Meldahl Lockmaster Jim Noble’s presentation on river navigation.

Featured entertainment for the day was a live recreation of the television game show The Liars Club. Panelists included Lee Woodruff, chairmen of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen; Johanna Huddleston, Visitors Center attendant; and Bill Judd, a riverboat captain on the Ohio for more than 50 years.

While one showed a wicket bolt and described its purpose, the other two tried to convince the audience it was a captain’s bolt and the other called it a Usain bolt. (Nobody fell for the latter gag; bright guests at the Park District.)

The second item was a steamboat boiler pressure gage that two liars tried to pass off as a tachometer or a coal scale.

The final piece on display was an oil can – which all three panelists agreed on – although one of them said it contained oil for cooking and salad dressing while the other said it was for extracting oil, not dispensing it.

“We had a lot of fun trying to trick people,” said Liars Club host Mark D. Motz, who also serves as community relations manager for the Park District. “We had some neat items to show and some fun facts to share once the truth came out.”

After the actual game, Capt. Judd spun a few river yarns.

“The thing is,” Judd said, “river men don’t ever lie. Never.

“We just stretch the truth a bit.”