The Grande Levée – a two-day party appropriate for the dignitaries a frontier state capital attracted during the 1830s – returns to the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site on June 16-17.
The event includes appearances by President Lincoln (portrayed by Randy Duncan), bluegrass music, craft demonstrations, children’s activities and a ham-and-bean supper.
All activities take place on the statehouse grounds. Friday’s events run 5-8 p.m. The fun goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Friday’s activities include music by the Salt Creek String Band, a ham-and-bean dinner, tours of the site and a chance to meet Abraham Lincoln.
Come back Saturday to enjoy craft demonstrations (including metal-working by a former contestant on “Forged in Fire”), music, performances by the Kahok Dancers and an exhibit of birds from the World Bird Sanctuary. President Lincoln will return, and several local historic sites and museums will be open for tours.
For more details, look for the Vandalia Grande Levee on Facebook.
The free event recalls the kind of gala that would have been thrown for important visitors when Vandalia was the seat of government in Illinois. It is sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Old Capitol Foundation, the Vandalia Historical Society and Looking for Lincoln.
Vandalia Statehouse is the oldest surviving capitol building in Illinois. It served as the state capitol from 1836 to 1839.
It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The site is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. IHPA protects the state’s historic resources, which contribute to education, culture and the economy. IHPA sites include ancient burial mounds, forts and buildings erected by settlers, and homes connected to famous Illinoisans.