Hag wasn't there but hundreds of his fans flocked to Oildale and Bakersfield Sunday to honor his 77th birthday and his major contributions to the Bakersfield Sound.
A plaque unveiled at the Bakersfield Harley-Davidson store on Merle Haggard Drive commemorates the naming of the eponymous road in 2008.
Later, at the Kern County Museum, a free music show featuring, among others, the Bluetooth Cowboys, entertained a large crowd that also enjoyed birthday cake and ice cream.
Glenda Rankin, who along with her sister, Dianne Sharman, is spearheading the effort to move Haggard's boyhood home to the museum's grounds, formed the nonprofit Citizens Preserving History to make it happen.
"I think all history is important," Rankin said. "It's so important for our children to learn about their history and past."
They've raised about half of the $100,000 needed to move the house.
"I've been involved with the Kern Historical Society for many years," said Hag's older sister, Lillian Haggard Rea, 93, who relaxed Sunday under a large umbrella while listening to the music. Her late husband, William, was president of the society.
"This has turned out to be history," she said of her childhood home. "And no better place for it could there be than the museum."
Anyone interested in contributing to the effort can visit citizenspreservinghistory.com or call 867-2511.