Weekend Events in Central Illinois


Central Illinois encompasses major cities such as Bloomington, Peoria and Springfield, home of the Lincoln Home and Tomb. The central area is famous for its monuments and memorials dedicated to former President Abraham Lincoln. The central Illinois region offers a variety of indoor and outdoor events in all seasons of the year.


The International Route 66 Mother Road Festival & Car Show takes place Friday through Sunday in the end of September. It is located in downtown Springfield and is open to the general public. The festival displays more than 1,000 cars and attracts over 80,000 visitors every year. It is family-friendly and offers continuous food, live music and entertainment activities. Featured activities have included the Friday Route 66 City Nights Cruise, which departs from the Capital City Shopping Center; Horsepower Alley, a showcase of high-horsepower equipment such as Mickey Thompson Tires; a Power Race; Monet of Cars, which displays a variety of classic and modern models; a Family Fun Zone with kid activities; and a Commemorative Exhibit honoring the late Rob Waldmire, a Route 66 artist.


The city of Urbana hosts a Holiday Market on Saturdays in November and December. The event is located in downtown Urbana inside the Lincoln Square Mall. It features a variety of local vendors from the Urbana and Champaign area selling fresh produce grown locally, baked goods, arts and crafts and holiday items. The market includes a large Christmas tree for holiday pictures, music, gift-wrapping and a visit from Santa. On select dates, the Holiday Market features special activities such as gift-wrapping fundraisers from local schools. The market also has special holiday giveaways.


Arthur Amish County hosts an annual Arthur Quilt Show at the end of April or beginning of May, depending on the year, and other scheduled events. The show features a competition of quilt devotees. More than 100 quilts are displayed with a description of their history and back-story attached to the displays to illustrate the significance of the quilt. The show features music from local musicians and local quilters will be present to answer questions and provide quilt designs. The Arthur Quilt Show is partially sponsored by the Arthur Area Association of Commerce. The show starts Friday and ends Sunday, and there is a small admission fee for all visitors.


The Chatham Illinois Junior Chamber, often called the Jaycees, sponsors an annual Sweetcorn Festival in the middle of July. The event is typically held at Chatham Community Park and begins on Friday evening and ends at midnight on Saturday. It features a sweet and grilled corn, a variety of other food items, beer wagons and a Pirate Bar offering a variety of alcoholic beverages. Many different activities occur during the festival, including the Miss Chatham Sweetcorn Pageant, basketball tournament, football games, live music, game competitions and recreational demonstrations such as martial arts and gymnastics. A children’s area featuring a variety of kid-friendly activities is also set up at the festival.

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