Friday, Sept. 17


It's bigger and better than ever
with handicapped accessibility emphasized

Railsplitter opens Saturday     Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 17, 2004]  What is the Railsplitter?

If you think that the Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest is nothing much other than brawny men and strong women wielding sharp tools on rough timbers, think again. The festival's focus is to provide an experience that transports you 150 years back in time.

It is relaxing

…as the aroma of hickory cooking fires mingles with happy children's voices, men and women conversing while going about their pioneer day activities, live music, and craftsman demonstrations. These settings and much more show you the industrious simplicity of settlers' lives. You will see, hear, smell, touch, taste and feel the simple pleasures from a simpler time.

It is exciting

… watching already regionally titled strong, agile men and women from all over the Midwest competing in a variety of wood-splitting events in the 34th Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest.

It is fun

…because most demonstrations and events are personable, hands-on and interactive. Kids can play in directed, old-fashioned games.

The two-day festival has expanded, adding new entertainment and activities

The Logan County Fairgrounds is more packed than ever with demonstrations, period displays and activities that the whole family can enjoy.

There are also handmade arts and crafts, a flea market and festival concessions to purchase food, drink and other a variety of other items.

The barn-raising, open trail chuck wagon, rodeo and bus tours are a few of the added new attractions.

The bus tours are the only added fee attraction but are a bargain at only $2. Three off-site historical locations are offered each day. Riders can get on at the festival site and can get off and stay at any of the three other sites as long as they like. Then re-board the bus, which loops about every hour, starting at noon and ending at 5:55 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. A handicapped-accessible bus will be on the grounds and is available for the tours.

Handicapped-accessible bus

Saturday's stops include Postville Courthouse, Lincoln College Museum and Scully Mansion.

Sunday's stops travel the county to Middletown, Elkhart and Mount Pulaski.

The festival opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, and a rodeo beginning at 7 p.m. wraps up the first day.

Sunday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the national champion split starting at 3:15 p.m.

[Full event schedule]


[to top of second column in this article]

No matter what time you arrive, you will find numerous activities taking place throughout the fairgrounds. You might visit one of many settlement homes and see the quiet daily workings of a homestead. Wait. Correct that statement. Children, whether frolicking or working on chores, are not quiet.

Nearby, settlement men are erecting a full-size, rough-hewn timber barn at a neighbor's. The barn-raising takes 10 men about two hours each time it's raised.

A large display of tractors, antique vehicles and steam engines can be found at the northwest corner of the fairgrounds. The vehicles will mobilize on Sunday for a parade.

The soothing sounds of period music will drift through the air both Saturday and Sunday. A wide variety of period music adds charm to the setting. The music will be performed in tents on the grounds each afternoon.

The 33rd Volunteer Regiment Band will once again take the main stage at 1 p.m. Sunday. This band goes to the limit for authenticity, performing all-original music on period instruments. The military band music is mostly rousing, intended to lift sagging spirits of the soldiers. The strong 4/4 measures will set your foot to tapping.

On the outskirts of the settlement, a chuck wagon has just rolled in off the trail. Its master plies his cookery skills in the art of beans, beans and the stuff you add to beans that kept the folks rolling over the rough prairie. You'll hear fascinating details of trail life from this masterful historian storyteller.

What's a cooper? The Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Contest and Crafts Festival will not only have a cooper, but there are hundreds of things you could learn about this weekend. So if you don't know what a cooper is, you might just saunter on over to the Logan County Fairgrounds this Saturday or Sunday to find out.

What is the Railsplitter?

It is a great, cheap, exciting, educational family event that's lots of fun.

Saturday, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

$2 at the gate

Kids 12 and under FREE

[Jan Youngquist]

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