Home/Events /Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
Date & Time
7/19/19 - 7/21/19
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


New This Year: Downtown Bloomington Cruise-In, Vintage Baseball in Normal, the play Mr. Lincoln

(Bloomington-Normal, IL) The 2019 Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 (LF66) July 19 – 21 features new and updated events along with many favorite activities. This year’s LF66 links together over a half dozen local organizations to celebrate the Twin Cities unique ties to Abraham Lincoln and the inspiring Route 66 transportation system. Activities are free to the public unless indicated otherwise. President Lincoln will be on hand at various locations to visit with everyone on Saturday and Sunday.

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.  Encounters with Lincoln’s Legacy will be in a different venue.

Events include:

●       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 where orphans of Civil War children played the game, beginning at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 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.                                                                                  

●       MCMH will have family- friendly activities including trivia games and crafts on Saturday and Sunday

●       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. DDM 9:00-12:00 

●       The Civil War encampment returns with demonstrations on the grounds of IWU’s Ames Library lawn 9:30-4:00

●       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.


Sunday summary


●       Encounters with Lincoln’s Legacy featuring the Historic Acting Troupe portraying men and women of McLean County MCMH 10:30-2:00

●       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.

Coloring sheets for BPL’s popular Lincoln Coloring contest for various age categories are available in the Children’s Department. Entries are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 19. A detailed schedule is available at www.lincolnsfestival.net.


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 David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, McLean County Museum of History, and Mid State Cruisers.  Other participants include Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service, Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center, and the Downtown Bloomington Association.

Support for the Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 comes from Looking for Lincoln, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Mirza Arts and Culture Fund, and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Donations of time and money are needed. People interested in volunteering or making a donation can do so by going to the “Get Involved” page on our website at lincolnsfestival.net



Downtown Bloomington
200 N Main St
Bloomington, IL

(309) 824-8862