Activities are free to the public unless indicated otherwise.
Friday, July 19 is a preview-like day when visitors can experience permanent exhibits on Lincoln and Route 66 during regular hours at the McLean County Museum of History (MCMH). The Bloomington Public Library (BPL) will show a Lincoln-related movie at 1 p.m.
Saturday, July 20 is a full day of activity spread out at several locations including four Bloomington sites linked by a free Trolley bus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This transportation loop starts at MCMH, then goes to Bloomington’s BPL, onward to the David Davis Mansion (DDM) and finally to the Illinois Wesleyan University Ames Library before returning to downtown Bloomington. Many events are repeated on Sunday, some like Encounters with Lincoln in a different venue.
Events include: (See descriptions of all events by clicking the button below)
The Prairie Chickens Base Ball Club of McLean County hosts a tournament of 1850’s-style baseball as Abe played it himself. All day Saturday and Sunday in Normal at One Normal Plaza, former site of the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children’s School beginning at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. July 20 & 21.
See up to 200 antique and vintage vehicles parked around several blocks adjoining Museum Square as Mid State Cruiser’s presents Cruising Lincoln’s Festival. Awards given to the top three entries. Downtown Bloomington 2:00 p.m.
MCMH presents Courageous Motorists: African American Pioneers on Route 66, presented by Frank Norris, retired historian for the National Park Service. Seating limited. 1:30 p.m.
In addition to hands-on activities for children and teens, BPL presents Abraham Lincoln: Railroad Man by noted historian Don Chamberlain at 1:30, and Mary Lincoln’s Photograph Album presented by scholar Laura Keyes at 3:00 p.m.
Encounters with Lincoln’s Legacy featuring the Historic Acting Troupe portraying men and women of McLean County whose experiences with Lincoln had an impact on Bloomington-Normal society during the pre-war years. (See Festival program above for details)
Wheels Through Time, a display and two different talks on vintage bicycles by Thomas Burr and Christopher Sweet at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. DDM
Illinois Shakespeare Festival presents Lincoln & Shakespeare. Ewing Manor 4 p.m.
Saturday’s grand finale is the play Mr. Lincoln by Herbert Mitgang performed by John O’Connor at MCMH at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 available ($10 for MCMH members) at the museum or online at www.mchistory.org.
Lincoln on Leadership Kevin Wood, as Mr. Lincoln talks about his leadership values and style, e.g., "management by walking around.” BPL 1:30
Music of Lincoln and the Civil War performed by the Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra BPL at 3:15.
Once again there will be a Civil War encampment with demonstrations on the grounds of IWU’s Ames Library, and many other family- friendly activities including trivia games and crafts. Coloring sheets for BPL’s popular Lincoln Coloring contest for various age categories, are available in the Children’s Department. Entries are due at the library by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 19.
Established in 2009, LF66 is an all-volunteer, 501-C3 nonprofit group that began and continues to be associated with Looking for Lincoln, the action arm of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. In 2017 it expanded its scope to include Route 66 as another major historical asset of the Bloomington-Normal metro area.
Partner organizations include the Bloomington Public Library, the Davis Mansion State Historic Site, McLean County Museum of History, and Mid State Cruisers. Other participants include Illinois Shakespeare Festival and the Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service.
Support for the Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 comes from Looking for Lincoln, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Bloomington Downtown Association.
You can help! Volunteer and/or make a donation by going to the “Get Involved” page.