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Grand Levee to be held this weekend

A Grand Levee celebration featuring food, activities and musical entertainment will take place June 17-18 at the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site, Illinois’ oldest state capitol building.


Steve Clark, of Herrick, plays visitors a peridoc tune on the banjo as brother-in-law Jeffrey Dunmyer, who came along to help, sits and enjoys the music during last year’s Grand Levee Festival. This year’s festival returns on June 17 and 18. File Photo.

The Grand Levee is a celebration of the grand receptions that took place during the 1800s to honor government dignitaries and important visitors when Vandalia was the seat of Illinois state government. The event is free and open to the public.

This year’s celebration will begin Friday, June 17 with an old-fashioned ham and bean dinner, funnel cakes, kettle korn, porkrinds and lemon shakeups from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors can enjoy an evening a bluegrass music by the Salt Creek String Band.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 18, visitors can enjoy demonstrations, the selling of wares, and a children’s area with fun period games, a petting zoo, and an egg-toss game sponsored by Clint Simpson State Farm. Free trolley rides of historic Vandalia, sponsored by the Vandalia Historical Society, will be offered.

Visitors also can see a display by the 17th Missouri Company G., U.S. Volunteer Infantry, as well as performances by the Dulcimer Guy and an old-time medicine show by Professor Farquar and Polecat Annie.

In addition, Sweet Silhouette will offer free portrait silhouette cuttings until 2 p.m. Saturday, and members of the Fayette Art Connection will be on site with live painting demonstrations. Randy Duncan, who portrays Abraham Lincoln, will appear in the House of Representatives chamber at 1 p.m. And blacksmith Bryan Headley, featured on RFD TV, will demonstrate how to make an unfolded cross, which will be given away to one audience member.

This event is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Resources, the Old Capitol Foundation, and the Vandalia Tourism Commission.

The Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site, at 315 W. Gallatin St., is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The site is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, find Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site on Facebook or call Kim Lake at 618-283-1161.