© 2023 WGLT
NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

GLT Datebook: Community Gears Up For Lincoln's Festival

It's the Illinois bicentennial, and as a result the 10th year of Lincoln's Festival in Bloomington-Normal will be richer and more nuanced, according to organizer Barb Adams and grant writer Marcia Young.

Three days of programs, on July 20-22, bring to life some of the exciting events and people that have made history in Illinois over the past 200 years.

Young said this year the festival will also emphasize Abraham Lincoln’s connections to Shakespeare. Lincoln carried a copy of "Macbeth" with him during his years riding the legal circuit through central Illinois including Bloomington and Normal. During his presidency, a copy of "Henry V" was on his desk along with the Bible and a copy of U.S. statutes, said Young.

The keynote presentation “Lincoln and Shakespeare” by noted author Michael Anderegg will be at Ewing Manor at 4 p.m. Saturday.

There will also be living history performances around the courthouse square in Bloomington from 5-8 p.m. Friday. That includes a suffragette, an African-American barber who saw liberties and economic gains erode in Illinois during the reconstruction era, said Young.

The festival will also look at links to historic Route 66.

Music lovers can enjoy an outdoor concert in the evening at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, featuring songs from the 1950s through the 60s.

On Saturday evening, audiences can thrill to a different beat when the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts hosts a second outdoor concert, featuring music with a Cajun vibe.

Another event during the weekend of Lincoln-era events will be a Civil War encampment on the lawn of IWU’s Ames Library both Saturday and Sunday, and ”Wheels Through Time: A Historic Bike Show” on Saturday at the David Davis Mansion—celebrating two centuries of traveling on two wheels, or sometime three, and showcasing old bikes, new bikes, serious cyclists and those who ride simply for pleasure.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.