Home/Events /Expanded Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
Expanded Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
Date & Time
7/20/18 - 7/22/18
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 has grown in interest and attendance since the Route 66 theme was added to the festival in 2017. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) is expanding its role in the festival this year, announcing a symposium exploring the fascination that Abraham Lincoln had with William Shakespeare’s writings.  The symposium events coincide with ISF’s 2018 season of plays and other activities, beginning June 30, 2018.

“Shakespeare in the Land of Lincoln” is produced in partnership with Bloomington’s Lincoln Festival on Route 66 and the Looking for Lincoln organization in Springfield.  The Spotlight Speaker, Michael Anderegg, Ph.D., will present during the Lincoln Festival on Route 66, Saturday, July 21, at 4:00 p.m. A professor of English for most of his career, Anderegg has written several books, including Cinematic Shakespeare and Orson Welles, Shakespeare, and Popular Culture.  The lecture will be held at the historic Ewing Manor next door to ISF’s home stage the Ewing Theatre. The lecture is free. Reservations recommended.

This year at the festival, music lovers can also enjoy two outdoor concerts. The Neverly Brothers will take the stage on Friday evening and MOJO and the Bayou Gypsies on Saturday evening at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, (BCPA).  There will be wagon rides, and a trolley between locations all day on Saturday. 

The Bloomington-Normal Jaycees will present the second annual car show on Saturday, July 21, at Franklin Park.  This event is a fundraiser for local charities. This year’s recipient will be the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Franklin Park will also be the setting for a nineteenth-century-style “Saturday in the Park,” with children’s old-fashioned games, a band concert playing Lincoln-era tunes, picnic-style foods, face painting, and kids’ carnival activities. The 10th Calvary will return with civil war re-enactments and an encampment on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus. 

Sprague’s Super Service on Route 66 in Normal will welcome visitors on Saturday and Sunday, with a display of electric cars on Sunday. 

On Saturday, the David Davis Mansion will present a program, “Wheels of Time: A History of Bicycles, and Abraham Lincoln impersonator, Kevin Wood will make appearances in various locations throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.

The Bloomington Public Library (BPL) will have a full three days of programing for children and adults. Beginning on Friday at 1:00 p.m. there will be a showing of the classic film, “Young Mr. Lincoln” starring Henry Fonda and Alice Brady. The children’s coloring contest is back again this year and a special drawing for a copy of The Illinois Blue Book 2017-18. All day on Saturday, the library will have programs, including Dale Evans, dulcimer player on the patio and April Anderson, University Archivist of Dr. Jo Ann Rayfield Archives at Illinois State University, will explore the friendship of Jesse Fell and Abraham Lincoln in their early law days. Don Chamberlain will present, “The Building of the Illinois Central Railroad” and the library will have other activities for children on Saturday and Sunday. 

The McLean County Museum of History will present Encounters with Lincoln’s World on Friday, July 20, from 5-8 p.m. Lincoln in Downtown Bloomington Walking Tour with Greg Koos begins on Saturday, July 21, at 11 a.m. The True Story of Mary Lincoln with Betty Kay will take place in the Gov. Fifer Courtroom at 12:30 p.m., “Writing Women into Route 66 History” with Cheryl Eichar Jett at 2:00 p.m., and “The Illustrated 8th Judicial Circuit” with local historian Guy Fraker at 1 p.m. on Sunday July 22.

Help us celebrate ten years of sharing our local ties to Abraham Lincoln – along with Lincoln’s connections to Shakespeare and our communities’ links to historic Route 66!  Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 is part of our communities’ observance of the Illinois Bicentennial in 2018.  Three days of programs will bring to life some of the exciting events and people that have made history in Illinois over the past 200 years. 


On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the union. The Illinois Bicentennial is a yearlong celebration of what has been BORN, BUILT & GROWN in the state and a reminder of why we are #IllinoisProud. Citizens are encouraged to participate in the celebration by visiting www.illinois200.com and using the hashtag #IllinoisProud. For more information call (309) 824-8862 or visit: www.lincolnsfestival.net.

Downtown Bloomington
200 N Main St
Bloomington, IL

(309) 824-8862