The Logan Railsplitting Association would like to announce its 42nd Annual National Abraham Lincoln Railsplitting Festival. It is September 14 through September 16 at the Logan County Fairgrounds with a weekend full of fun, family events on the schedule. Regular festival hours are both Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For the past two years, festival coordinators have not charged a booth fee for craft vendors, home based business and flea market vendors. This “no charge” policy will continue for this year’s festival as well, with first booth space rented free. Vendors needing more than one booth space will be charged an additional fee.
Flea market vendors are located outside, between the race track and the buildings, with additional booth fees at $20.00 per booth. Craft vendors and Home based businesses have the option for indoor space with additional booth fees at $30.00 per booth, but also may choose to have an outdoor space as well. Indoor booths have the luxury of added security with the buildings being locked after hours, but auxiliary police are on duty throughout the night for security purposes.
Evening events at the fairgrounds will be an added bonus this year, allowing vendors the opportunity for later hours if they so wish. Saturday, September 15, the play production, Pleasant Sage, will be performed at 5:30 pm on the main stage followed by Ozzie Pearl calling the Barn Dance starting at 7 p.m. to finish the evening out.
More information on how to join in the fun and vendor contracts can all be found at www.railsplitting.org. Food vendors are also welcome and invited to Railsplitter with the fee information and contracts available online as well.
The 42nd Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival, returning this weekend to the Logan County Fairgrounds, will have a new feature this year.
The sounds of logs being split into fence rails will be mixed with the sounds of fiddles, banjos, mandolins and guitars as the festival presents the first Dan Tackett Bluegrass Jam, which organizers are hoping will become an integral part of the celebration in ensuing years.
Tackett, a Lincoln resident, has been part of the central Illinois bluegrass scene for about 20 years. He was a member of the now-disbanded group, Leftover Biscutz, which performed at many festivals throughout central Illinois for several years.
"I originally resisted having my name attached to this event, but my daughter, Misty Bell (administrative assistant at the county's tourism bureau) pushed the point," said Tackett.
Tackett did insist that the first annual event be a memorial tribute to one of his picking pals, the late Davey Johnson of Morton.
"Davey was Mr. Bluegrass to many folks in central Illinois," said Tackett. "He not only played in bands in the area, but he was a great organizer of jam sessions and bluegrass programs. He spent an untold amount of time each year organizing the bluegrass stage shows each fall at New Salem State Historic Site, and in later years did the same thing at the railsplitter festival here in Lincoln. He made sure there were groups playing music on the railsplitter festival stage throughout the two days of the festival."
Tackett said this year's jam will be more of an informal event than organized stage shows. He hopes groups of jammers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds during its Saturday and Sunday run. Stage time is available for groups or informal jams. LincolnSpeak.com is hosting the stage time with time slots easily claimed by registering online at www.lincolnspeak.com official Dan Tackett Bluegrass Jam page. LincolnSpeak will also be publicizing during the festival who is taking the stage as well as posting photos from the event as it happens.
"We're extending an invitation for all acoustic string musicians to show up and join in the fun. And yes, the emphasis is on acoustic. Bluegrassers tend to frown on instruments that are plugged in,” said Tackett. “Along the same lines, bluegrassers have a reputation of welcoming all levels of playing ability into their circles. If you’re just learning to play an instrument, don’t be shy. Come out and do some picking.”
The festival kicks off from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday with a Civil War ball at the Lincoln Park District. Festival activities at the fairgrounds run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is $3 a day or $5 for the weekend. Those 12 and younger are admitted free, and parking on the fairgrounds is also free.
Other new additions at the festival al include the production Pleasant Sage, written by Amanda Martin with production assistance by Lisa Kuhlman. The play will be held on Saturday, September 15th at 5:00 p.m. at the Logan County Fairgrounds, with a good old fashioned Barn Dance to follow with caller Ozzie Pearl.