AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin helped Auburn celebrate hometown son William Seward’s purchase of Alaska in 1867 as part of the upstate New York community’s inaugural Founder’s Day on Saturday.

More than 20,000 people turned out to see Palin lead a parade through downtown Auburn and sign a proclamation honoring Seward, the 19th-century Secretary of State who negotiated the $7.2 million deal with Russia for Alaska, which is celebrating its 50th year of statehood.

Later, Palin spoke to several hundred people at a private fundraiser for the Seward House Museum, where she criticized the Obama administration for its policies on national security and energy and its handling of the economic crisis.

AP-ES-06-06-09 1612EDT

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