On everyone's mind these days and just one week out is the Lincoln
Art & Balloon Festival. Scheduled events begin Friday, Aug. 27, and
go through Sunday, Aug. 29. Organized by the Lincoln/Logan County
Chamber of Commerce, it is the biggest annual event of the year,
attracting thousands of visitors to Logan County.
events and activities have once again been expanded and are spread
throughout town from the airport to downtown to Postville
Courthouse. Kicking off with a parade, features include hot air
balloons, the juried art fair, Illinois wine tasting, a children's
art fair, an 1800s craft show, professional wrestling, carnival,
rock wall/dual bungee jump, paintball, bounce house, craft and flea
market, food concessions, and musical entertainment of all
Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County director Geoff
Ladd reported to the board that the bureau has just completed a
five-year strategic plan and an annual budget.
Reviewing tourism activity, Ladd said that hotel receipts are
rebounding and this week motels are seeing state fair usage. The
measurements are a comparative to prior years. A year ago the
director forecast a slump that was seen a couple of months ago,
which was due to a brief exceptionally high period last year.
Ladd said the county can look forward to continued
tourism-related successes with a number of upcoming special events:
the Art & Balloon Festival at the end of this month, the National
Railsplitting Contest and Festival a couple of weeks later, and one
day after the Atlanta and the Mount Pulaski fall festivals is the
Fall Farm Day on Sept. 12.
Featured during this year's Fall Farm Day open houses, Ladd said,
is the new Lincoln Corn Maze, shaped like a hot air balloon.
Ladd reported with pleasure about site development and
improvements continuing on Lincoln's west side, both at The Mill and
the Abraham Lincoln covered wagon. Another workday was completed at
The Mill last weekend and a couple of grants have been submitted for
new windows and flooring.
Considerable maintenance has been under way at the giant Lincoln
wagon. Volunteers have been staining boards, painting, re-covering
the wagon and adding landscaping materials around the area to create
a park-like atmosphere.
"Best Western has been footing the bill for recent improvements,"
Ladd said. He's thankful for their enthusiasm and support.
He added that a new wayside exhibit for the wagon should be in
place in about three months.
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Lincoln & Logan County Economic Development Partnership director
Joel Smiley reported the following:
He is working with
three wind energy companies and they all have meteorological
test towers up. He expects that applications for two of these
companies will begin coming in this fall and the other later
A draft of the
Logan County Economic Development Master Plan has been completed
and is scheduled to be presented to the public on Sept. 30 at
Lincoln Christian University from 6 to 8 p.m.
A $99,000 grant
application has been submitted for a business incubator. The
grant is through USDA for national funding. Sen. Dick Durbin and
congressman Aaron Schock are providing support letters for this.
consultants came across a grant that the city of Lincoln could
request. The Housing and Urban Development grant would look for
mixed uses for the former LDC grounds, including housing, and
how its development could be intertwined with the surrounding
The partnership director would help write the grant application,
which is due Aug. 23.
just had its first audit completed. Smiley said the purpose of
the audit was "to show that your dollars are going to where we
say they are going to go." He said it came back as a good, clean
business incubator program, The Center of Success plans to
launch a competition. The goal is to raise $5,000 in prize money
for the winner, and $3,000 has already been raised. The "Best
Business Plan" contest would begin this fall and wrap up around