Middletown was founded by Hiram S. Allen on Oct. 13, 1832. Abraham
Lincoln, then living in New Salem, witnessed the deed to the first
lot sold in the community in June 1833. Originally, the town was a
stagecoach stop midway on the route between Peoria and Springfield.
Now the only reminder we have from those days is the Dunlap House, a
historic site right off the Middletown square. The Dunlap House will
be open during the festival for public tours.
The festivities will
begin on Friday at 3 p.m. with the carnival, petting zoo and
historical displays opening to the public. At 4 p.m. the American
Legion will host a fish fry, followed by the opening ceremonies at 6
p.m., when you can see the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall and
hot-air balloons in the park. Stick around the park for the New
Salem Country Opry at 7 p.m. and the night's entertainment, Simply
Bent, at 9:30 p.m.
The Knapp-Chesnut-Becker Library will be selling copies of
Middletown's historic book "Memories of Middletown: 1832-2007" for
$35 each. Pre-orders can be sent in now and picked up during the
event. For shipping to your home, please add $5 more. The books will
be on sale from 3 p.m. Friday till 5 p.m. Sunday. The Knapp-Chesnut-Becker
Library is located at 101 S. Clinton in Middletown.
For more information regarding the Middletown book or the Knapp-Chesnut-Becker
Historical Society, please call 445-2050.
On Saturday, things get even better with a parade to kick off the
day at 10:30 a.m., followed immediately by a ceremony to honor the
World War II veterans, grand marshals, featuring remarks by U.S.
Rep. Ray LaHood. Then the congressman will aid in commemorating the
dedication of the Vin Fiz Drive. The Vin Fiz was the first airplane
to fly across the United States and has been called the first
transcontinental flight. Due to a fuel leak, the plane set down in
Middletown, and that event really put the town on the map. A portion
of Monroe Street will be dedicated as the Vin Fiz Drive during this
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An antique car cruise-in will begin at 11 a.m. as well as an
antique tractor show, visits to the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall
and the carnival. At noon, come and watch the kiddie tractor pull.
The Middletown and New Holland-Middletown alumni reception at the
NH-M Junior High, children's games at the park, and "Abraham Lincoln
in Song" at the Legion (air-conditioned and handicapped-accessible)
all begin at 1 p.m., followed by an old-fashioned "singspiration" at
the Little Chapel at 2:30. Enjoy a pork chop dinner at the Methodist
church at 4:30, then sit back and enjoy the variety entertainment of
Soundforce Music Services and DJ Peck in the park. At 6 p.m., the
hot-air balloons will be back, and then at 8 p.m. entertainment will
be provided by Dick Skelton, also in the park. Finally, the
fireworks display will kick off at dusk, followed by the sounds of
Saturday Night Special.
Sunday morning, the Kunken group will have a service in the park
beginning at 9 a.m. The Presbyterian church will host their chicken
dinner at 11 a.m., and at the park the carnival will open, as well
as an appearance by Ronald D. Don't miss Saved by Grace in the park
at noon, or Martha and Paul Lane at 1 p.m. Joe Burzess will be in
the park at 2 p.m., followed by New Blood Gospel and Bluegrass in
the park at 3 p.m. The celebration will come to a close with a
ceremony at 5 p.m.
We hope that everyone will come out to this historic town and
help celebrate 175 great years. For more information, call
217-445-2556 (Ron Estill) or 217-445-2769 (Terry Steinhour).
[Text from news release received from
Abraham Lincoln Tourism
Bureau of Logan County]