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

Lincoln's Festival on Route 66

Saturday, July 21
Starts at 10:00 AM

McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St, Bloomington IL 61701

Lincoln's Festival on Route 66

It’s time once again for the annual Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66, this year being held on July 20, 21, and 22. Activities during the festival weekend will include: living history performances, car shows and cruise-ins for car enthusiasts, period crafts and children’s activities, Civil War skirmishes and cavalry encampment, walking tours, a vintage bicycle display, plus speakers and musicians to share the journey along the prairie path, to the steel rails, and on to the Mother Road.

Museum activities will continue on Saturday, July 21 beginning at 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. with the highly popular So you think you know Lincoln and Kicking it on Route 66 trivia games! Contestants can test their knowledge about our 16th President of the United States and about the entire Route 66. Prizes will be awarded for correct answers! Trivia will continue on Sunday, July 22 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Lincoln and Route 66 themed crafts for children of all ages will also be offered from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. From 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Party Animal Balloons will be at the Museum making Lincoln inspired balloon hats and a variety of other fun balloon creatures.

Saturdays line up of speakers starts at 11:00 a.m. with the Museum’s Executive Director Emeritus, Greg Koos, who will lead the highly popular walking tour of Lincoln sites in Downtown Bloomington. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and participants will be able to gain unique insight into Lincoln, his friends and associates in Bloomington, and about the town where he spent more time than any other place outside of Springfield. Those interested in joining this tour must meet inside the Museum’s Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center, located on the ground floor of the Museum.

At 12:30 p.m. in the second floor Governor Fifer Courtroom, retired historical actor and elementary school teacher Betty Kay, will present The True Story of Mary Lincoln. Kay will tell the story of the Lincolns through the eyes of Elizabeth Todd Edwards, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln, who was among the people most closely acquainted with the Lincolns. Kay taught elementary school for more than 30 years. She has written twelve children’s books, including Illinois from A to Z (University of Illinois Press, 2000). After retiring from teaching, Kay began visiting schools in period clothing to bring Illinois History to life. As a historical actor, she has given numerous presentations throughout Illinois and is a member of the Illinois Humanities Council Roads Scholar Speakers Bureau. This program is sponsored by a grant from Illinois Humanities. Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

At 2:00 p.m. in the Governor Fifer Courtroom, Route 66 historian Cheryl Eichar Jett, will present a program on Writing Women into Route 66 History. Jett will share stories of women who blazed trails in traditionally-male careers, “moms” in mom and pop businesses along the route, and female adventurers and entrepreneurs. She’ll also discuss how various women made their mark on Route 66, why it matters, and how Route 66 women’s history is evolving. Jett is the author of six books and is currently working on her seventh which will explore women’s contributions to the culture of “The Mother Road.” She is a regular contributor to Show Me Route 66, The 66 News, and the Prairie Land Buzz, and has been published in numerous other magazines and newspapers.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Lincoln who will be visiting the Museum during the festival too. He will be available to meet visitors and even do a photo or two. Check back in our July monthly mailer for more details about his visit.

Don’t forget to visit the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center located on the ground floor of the Museum. You can explore our exhibit to learn what traveling in Lincoln’s era was like and about Route 66 in McLean County! You can also pick up many local favorites like Beer Nuts Brand Snacks, Funks Pure Maple Sirup, Steak ‘n Shake souvenirs and seasonings, great local history books, and of course books and souvenirs about Abraham Lincoln!

The Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 is an Illinois Route 66 Red, White, and Blue Corridor signature event and is a proud partner in the 42-county Looking for Lincoln Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. For more information about any of the activities and programs occurring at the Museum during Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66, please contact the Education Department at

Other locations participating in the festival include: Downtown Bloomington, McLean County Museum of History/Cruisin’ with Lincoln on Route 66 Visitors Center, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin Park, Bloomington Public Library, David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, Illinois Wesleyan University Ames Library, Sprague Service Station/Ryburn Place, and Ewing Manor Cultural Center.

For more information about Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 and a complete listing of activities at all participating locations, please visit

Exhibit-related Program