It is important to draw travelers to Logan County to support the
businesses by eating in our restaurants, shopping in our shops, and
staying in our hotels. Logan County has many great historical
landmarks/sites to see and an amazing new museum that rivals the
best in the Country. The Bureau and event organizers felt it
important to enhance the visitors experience by creating more
opportunities for people to come experience the uniqueness of the
Conversations began in September of last year among organizers of
the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival and a few leaders in the
community. The conversation soon expanded to include many others.
The objective was clear: have more events to draw people to Lincoln.
The first step was to spread out the events that currently existed
throughout the year instead of all of them happening in a one or
two-month period. Step number two was to add events that
complimented our community and the other event schedule that
currently existed. There were many meetings over the year that
included thoughtful questions, discussions and much investigation of
how this would work.
Ultimately it was decided that Logan County’s largest event needs to
expand in order to allow each component the room it needs to grow on
its own. The components of the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival will
become four separate events:
- The balloon portion will become a stand-alone event, and
activities will be added at the Logan County Airport during that
weekend to enhance this large attraction.
- Landing on a different weekend during the year, the wildly
popular Up in Smoke on the Square BBQ competition will be joined
with the car cruise-in, craft fair/flea market, and what is
currently known as the Art of Wine & Brew.
- The fine art fair and a version of the Art of Wine & Brew
will be pared together to bring entertainment to the downtown on
a separate weekend with the addition of live music.
- In addition, the group is exploring combining the 1800’s
Craft Fair, that takes place at Postville Courthouse, with the
National Railsplitter Festival on a weekend in early Fall.
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By expanding the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival and combining
other events, Lincoln will have four events to draw tourists to
our community. David Lanterman, owner of Lincoln Theater 4,
participated in the discussions from the very beginning.
Lanterman plans to bring a unique event to Central Illinois in
the future that will likely draw a very large group of people
from out of the community. He plans to host a film festival in
Lincoln that will be co-hosted by friend and Academy Award
winner, Brenda Chapman.
Additional benefits will likely emerge from the expansion of
these events throughout the year. Currently organizers are competing
for funding (sponsors), space, and volunteers. With the festival as
it currently is volunteers, sponsors, and guests of the event are
restricted to choosing one or two components to help/visit in one
weekend. Under the new structure all of these people/businesses can
participate in all of the events if they choose to do so. The
community’s resources will not be as stretched by spreading out
these events throughout the year, instead of having an ‘all our
eggs-in-one-basket’ kind of event that the Lincoln Art & Balloon
Festival has grown into.
On Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 4:00pm the Logan County Tourism
Bureau along with event organizers will hold a press conference to
announce more details of the expansion and the 2015 calendar of
events. The press conference will be held on the west side of the
Logan County Courthouse lawn, where the BBQ awards will be announced
following the press conference.
For questions concerning the 2015 calendar of events in Lincoln, IL
or for details on the 2014 Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival (no
changes to this schedule will take place this year), please contact
Andi Hake at 217-732-8687 or 217-735-2385.
[Text received; ANDI HAKE, INTERIM
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LOGAN COUNTY TOURISM BUREAU]