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

Lincoln's Festival on Route 66

Saturday, July 20
Starts at 9:00 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 19, 20, and 21. Activities during the festival weekend to include; living history performances, a cruise-in for car enthusiasts around the Museum Square, period crafts and children’s activities on the Museum’s lawn. Civil War skirmishes and cavalry encampment, walking tours, a vintage bicycle display, plus speakers and musicians to share the journey along the prairie path on the Mother Road.

On Saturday, July 20, we will feature the highly popular So you think you know Lincoln and Kicking it on Route 66 trivia games.  Contestants can test their knowledge of our 16th President of the United States and the entire Route 66.  Prizes will be awarded for correct answers! Trivia will continue on Sunday, July 21 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Lincoln and Route 66 themed crafts for children of all ages are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s events begin 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 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 1:30 p.m. in the second floor Governor Fifer Courtroom, retired historian for the National Park Service, Frank Norris, will present Courageous Motorists: African American Pioneers on Route 66. Driving on Route 66 suggests the freedom of the open road, the chance to discover America behind the wheel, and the fascination of heading out west. However, as the recent motion picture The Green Book suggests, African Americans during the Jim Crow era could not drive on either Route 66 or other American roads without navigating an oftentimes hostile world in which most motels, restaurants, and other roadside services refused service to them. Norris’s presentation will show what it was like for African Americans to drive west on Route 66, and how that experience changed over the years as the west developed and racial attitudes began to change. 

The day’s activities will conclude at 7:00 p.m. with the theatrical production Mr. Lincoln, by Herbert Mitgang and performed by John O’Connor. At times comic, at other times poignant, Mr. Lincoln is a one-man play that hits the high points of Lincoln’s personal and political life.  Actor and political writer for the Associated Press in Springfield, John O’Connor, portrays Lincoln with questioning, resolve, struggle, warmth, humor, and just about every other adjective you can imagine as the audience is taken on a two-act journey into the struggles and triumphs of our sixteenth President. Tickets will be $12 for the general public and $10 for members of the Museum. Tickets will go on sale June 3 and be available for purchase at the Museum or online via the Museum’s website.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Lincoln  (Kevin Wood) who will be visiting the Museum during the festival. He will be available to meet visitors and even do a photo or two. 

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