Calendar | Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County

175th birthday celebration for Middletown kicks off Friday       Send a link to a friend

[June 12, 2007]  MIDDLETOWN -- The oldest town in Logan County is celebrating its 175th birthday. Come and enjoy all the fun with the residents of Middletown from Friday through Sunday.

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 event.

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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]

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