Lincoln Wide Awake Parade 1860 coming to Springfield on Aug. 4

Illinois Humanities welcomes all-ages to participate in a re-enactment of a Lincoln Wide Awake Parade at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Lincoln Home (413 S. Eightth St., Springfield) as part of the celebration of the Illinois Bicentennial.

The Lincoln Wide Awake Parade is a free participatory event celebrating a parade that first occurred on August 8, 1860 in Springfield to champion the election of Abraham Lincoln. The public is going to wear Wide Awake caps and capes and carry banners as they parade from the Lincoln Home to the Old State Capitol. There will be lights; music by the 10th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Regiment Band; a giant rolling Campaign Ball; a log cabin on wheels; and more. Fritz Klein is portraying Mr. Lincoln.

After the parade, the public is invited to join a free conversation at 8pm at the Old State Capitol (S. Sixth St. and Adams St.) about the 1860 presidential campaign and the significance of the Wide Awakes, clubs of young men and some women that arose spontaneously all across the country to drum up support for Lincoln’s candidacy. The conversation is going to be led by Anne E. Moseley, Lincoln Heritage Museum; Sam Wheeler, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; and Paul Durica, Illinois Humanities. Musician Chris Vallillo and the 10th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Regiment Band are going to play songs from the Wide Awake songbook. Pies and cookies popular in the 1860s are being provided by Three Twigs Bakery.

Prior to the parade, the Wide Awake caps, capes, and banners are going to be made during three crafting workshops by 4-H community club members and Springfield Urban League youth under the guidance of the Soldiers’ Aid Society on June 22 and June 29 at the Old State Capitol and on July 21 at the Springfield Art Association (700 N. 4th St.) from 12:30-4:30pm. Like the parade and conversation with the historians, the crafting workshops are free and open to the public.

“The Soldiers’ Aid Society is looking forward to working in collaboration with Illinois Humanities, 4-H, the Old State Capitol, and the Springfield Art Association on the unique Wide Awake series of summer workshops and the culminating parade in Springfield,” said Laura Reyman of the Soldier’ Aid Society. “This is an exciting opportunity to work with young people and to celebrate the Bicentennial of Illinois Statehood in a meaningful way that will bring history to life for not only the participants but for those who will be observers on August 4.”

Added Erica Austin, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, University of Illinois Extension, “Abraham Lincoln was a man of honor, dignity, and integrity, which are all leadership qualities we instill in our 4-H’ers. Being a part of the Lincoln Wide Awake Parade is a chance for us not only to learn about Lincoln and his leadership but a way to see how far we have come. As Lincoln himself said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.’”

The Lincoln Wide Awake Parade is one of four participatory reenactments that explore key moments in Illinois political history and past forms of political expression and engagement being produced by Illinois Humanities as part of its celebration of the state bicentennial. The Parade is being done in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Lincoln Home, Looking for Lincoln, 4-H, Soldiers’ Aid Society, Springfield Art Association, Springfield Urban League, and Three Twigs Bakery.

Established in 1974, Illinois Humanities is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and produces free programs and events, gives out grants, and offers educational opportunities to youth and adults all across Illinois. Its mission is to strengthen the social, political, and economic fabric of Illinois through constructive conversation and community engagement. For more information, please go to

CONTACT: Paul Durica, Director of Programs, Illinois Humanities, 312-422-5583,