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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Saturday, April 27

Labor and Work Street Fair

Starts at 10:00 AM

To highlight industry and industriousness in McLean County—both past and present—the Museum is inviting area businesses, local unions, trades people, skilled workers, and artisans to showcase their skills and the services they provide to our community as part of an interactive Labor and Work Street Fair on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (weather permitting). This event is free and open to the public.

The Street Fair will take place on the 100 block of West Jefferson Street and 200 block of North Main Street on Museum Square. Participating businesses/trades will offer thematic activities for attendees to observe and try for themselves. Visit the Museum’s booth to pick up a map complete with information about participating businesses/trades and to make-and-take your very own job hat. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to go inside the Museum to explore the newest permanent exhibit Challenges, Choices, and Change: Working for a Living, which opened in September 2018.

Street Fair activities will include the following:

Connect Transit
will be bringing the Community Bus with information about how Connect Transit has evolved.
Brandt Consolidated
In will have Agricultural Farm Equipment on display and employment information
Ecology Action Center
will have an info booth on their programs and work regarding solid waste, recycling, clean water, energy efficiency, and a hands on recycling education activity.
Sheet Metal Workers Local 1
will be doing hands on sheet metal work.
Illinois Laborers’ & Contractors Joint Apprenticeship Training Program will have GPS & surveying, Virtual Reality goggles, traffic control and laborers work simulation.
Downtown Bloomington IL
will have information about Downtown Bloomington Businesses and the Farmers’ Market.
Prairie Aviation Museum
will have a Hughes Helicopter on display along with educational information regarding general aviation.
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Local Lodge 1000)
IAM District 8 will have information about their work with the City of Bloomington Water Department and Ferrero USA, Inc. Ferrero candy and Pepsi products will be available for sample.
Silver Back Apparel Company & One Stop Print Shop
will be doing custom apparel printing.
Painters District Council No. 30
will be painting the tool boxes created with the Carpenters Local Union 237.

Corn Belt Energy will have an informational booth, highlighting Corn Belt Energy careers.
R Way Trucking will have a semi with dump trailer, a truck with no trailer, CB radios and coloring page handouts.

Carpenters Local 237 will be building tool boxes.

Green Top Grocery will an information table to teach people about cooperative business education.

West Bloomington Grocery Store will have information on the community economic development effort to build a grocery store in West Bloomington to end the food desert.

Mister Softee Of Bloomington will be selling ice cream on the Museum Square.

Pars Rug Gallery will be doing antique rug restoration.

Bloomington Fire Department will have one of their emergency vehicles on display.

Bloomington-NORMAL Spine Clinic will have chair massages and information about chiropractic services.

Western Avenue Community Center will have a booth about their resources and services that enrich lives, and empower families and individuals in the community through their programs.

Life Goes On Organ/Tissue Donor Program will have information about the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry and information about careers in outreach.

WJBC will have a booth about radio broadcasting.

Bloomington Public Library will have information on the Bookmobiles through the years since it began in the 1930s, Bookmobile schedules, Library program guides, and the opportunity to sign up for library cards. Plus, there will be a “make and take” their own paper Bookmobile craft, and other giveaways too!

First Student will be bringing one of their school buses, have information about employment opportunities, and giveaways and treats.

Brian K. Simpson, Portraits for Tips will be doing 10 minute portraits.

Nightshop will be hosting a “Build Your Own Spice Blend Booth” that will highlight the evolution of flavors in Midwest food culture, and the impact globalization and agricultural changes have had in that evolution.

PLUS! Visit these downtown Bloomington businesses for special offers and activities on this day only:

Bobzbay will be offering 50% off comic books.

Red Raccoon Games will be offering 10% off their purchase to anyone who brings in Labor and Work Street Fair event map.

The Massage Spot will be having a Mother’s Day gift certificate sale (two one-hour sessions for $100).

The Yarn Garden will be participating in Local Yarn Store Day also and have “pick your discount” cards, drawings for door prizes, and demonstrations of various “fiber art” skills.

Common Ground Grocery will be hosting an Earth Day event in the Frontier Parking Lot south of the grocery store from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Refine 309 will be offering a 15% discount (minus anything consigned by a local artist). 

Check back regularly as more businesses and activities continue to be added!

Free parking will be available at the Lincoln Parking Deck located on Front Street. For more information about this free public program, please contact the Museum’s Education Department at or 309-827-0428.

Saturday, April 27

El Dia de Los Niños/El Dia de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day)

Starts at 11:00 AM
205 E. Olive Street, Bloomington, IL 61701

The Museum will join a variety of community organizations in celebrating the 12th annual Children’s Day/Book Day presented by Bloomington Public Library from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Attendees will be able to enjoy music, crafts, face painting, dancing, mascots, community groups, food, and fun throughout the Library.At the Museum’s table, there will be a multicultural activity, and information about the Museum’s new permanent exhibits and upcoming programs.There will also be representatives from community organizations with information about available services and opportunities. This bilingual program is FREE and open to the public.For more information, please visit

Tuesday, April 30

Lincoln, The Great Communicator

Starts at 7:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to welcome back noted Lincoln impersonator George Buss, joined by Illinois folk musician and folklorist Chris Vallillo, in their new show, Abraham Lincoln: The Great Communicator on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m. This free, public program is sponsored by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition and partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

This theatrical performance will be presented as a casual conversation between President Abraham Lincoln and Vallillo discussing Lincoln’s gifts as a communicator and way he used those skills for the betterment of mankind throughout his life and presidency. In the midst of the conversation, Vallillo will perform period music and the President will quote passages from some of his favorite speeches. Prior to the program, Sarah Watson, Executive Director of Looking for Lincoln, will share a few words about Looking for Lincoln and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.

Buss has portrayed Abraham Lincoln for over 30 years for thousands of audiences across the United States to critical acclaim, including C-Span, the Lincoln Forum, and many Civil War reenactments. He has been selected to deliver the annual address at the commemoration at Gettysburg, and is featured in a short video about Lincoln’s connection to Bloomington in the Museum’s Visitors Center.

Vallillo is a nationally known singer/songwriter and roots musician, who makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song. He has twice served as the Illinois State Scholar for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit on roots music, New Harmonies. The CD from his one man show Abraham Lincoln in Song reached #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart in March 2008. In 2016 his latest show and recording, Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement, was #6 on the folk charts.

Light refreshments will be served immediately after the program.