Sandburg Festival Events

This years Festival will be held April 23-26, 2014

April 2014

Carl Sandburg Statue4p.m. Welcome Celebration & Parade
Welcome Center, E. Main Street to 120 N. Broad St.

Join us for a once in a lifetime historic Galesburg event as the one of a kind full size Carl Sandburg statue will be escorted by police and fire vehicles down E. Main Street from the Galesburg Welcome Center to the Ameren Building (formerly Galesburg Lincoln-Mercury-Nissan), 120 N. Broad St. A ceremony will take place at approximately 4:30 once the Statue arrives at the corner 120 N. Broad and Ferris Sts. A ceremonial welcome of the Statue to Galesburg with remarks will be made by Galesburg Mayor John Pritchard, Sandburg Historic Site President Dr. Barry Swanson, Internationally Acclaimed Artist & Sculptor Lonnie Stewart Galesburg Public Art Commission President Chuck Bednar, Sandburg Biographer Penelope Niven, Sandburg Poem by Knox College Philip Sidney Post Professor of English Robin Metz


Penelope Niven11:30 a.m. Penelope Niven Presentation & Book Signing
Carl Sandburg College Library, 2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.

Sandburg Library, Penelope Niven will give a talk called "All in the Family”:  A presentation on the remarkable Sandburg and Steichen family members and their relationships with each other, with a special focus on and tribute to Helga Sandburg Crile.

Penelope Niven is the critically acclaimed author of Carl Sandburg: A Biography; co-author, with actor James Earl Jones, of Voices and Silences; and author of Steichen: A Biography. Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet, her biography of Carl Sandburg for children, published by Harcourt, received an International Reading Association Prize “for exceptionally distinguished literature for children,” one of six books honored among publications from 99 countries. Her memoir, Swimming Lessons, was published by Harcourt in 2004. Thornton Wilder: A Life, her forthcoming biography, will be published by HarperCollins in October.

Niven will speak about how her journey to becoming a biographer as well as how each of her subjects discovers themselves. She will talk about how much Galesburg played a role in Sandburg’s journey and how all four of them are connected and knew each other. She will talk about what it is like to get that rejection letter for your book as well as the acceptance letter and finding a publisher.

She has lectured across the United States and in Switzerland, Canada and Great Britain, and was principal consultant for the PBS film biography "Carl Sandburg--Echoes and Silences."  She has also served as a consultant for television films on Sandburg, Jones, Steichen and Wilder. 
Niven is the mother of award-winning author Jennifer Niven, and resides in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she recently retired after 12 years as Writer-in-Residence at Salem College. The Center for Women Writers at Salem College has honored Rita Dove, Reynolds Price and Penelope Niven by establishing international literary prizes in their names. 

Penny says, "Two of my favorite places on earth are Galesburg, where Carl Sandburg was born and grew up, and Connemara in Flat Rock, North Carolina, where he lived for the last 22 years of his life." She says she is very happy to come back to Galesburg for the 2014 Sandburg Festival and Big Read, a community reading of Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. 


1:30 p.m. “Tomorrow Belongs to You” presentation by Penelope Niven & reception to follow in Galesburg High School Library
Penelope Niven will speak to a group of HS students in the theater, reception to follow in the Library. “Tomorrow Belongs to You”:  A program for high school students based on Carl Sandburg's life growing up in Galesburg and working to make his dreams come true.


4:00 p.m.“Mr. Sandburg and Mr. Lincoln” talk by Penelope Niven
Knox College, Alumni Room
Knox College, Penelope Niven will give a talk called “Mr. Sandburg and Mr. Lincoln”:  A program on how and why Sandburg began his lifelong study of Abraham Lincoln, and how Galesburg influenced this work. This event is sponsored by the John & Elaine Fellowes Fund at Knox College and Caxton Club.


Sandburg Logo6:30 p.m.25th Annual Carl Sandburg College Poetry Awards Ceremony
Carl Sandburg College, Bldg. B, 2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Carl Sandburg College will honor the winners of the 24th annual Carl Sandburg Poetry Contest. Entries of original poems are judged by Sandburg English professors in three levels of competition: elementary (grades 1-5), intermediate (grades 6-12) and adult. Category winners are invited to the awards ceremony to read their winning poems and accept their certificates and prizes donated by Carl Sandburg College. All winning poems will be published in a booklet that will be distributed at the ceremony. Entries were due March 14. For more information contact Carol Petersen at 309.341.5416.


Sandburg Historic Logo7p.m. Reader’s Theatre to perform “The World of Carl Sandburg”

The staged reading will begin at 7 p.m. at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site Barn, 331 E. Third Street.  Refreshments will be served between acts and the performance is free to the public. 

The World of Carl Sandburg was written by Carl Sandburg’s friend, Norman Corwin,  It will be presented by a readers’ theatre group organized by Knox Corps Fellow and Knox graduate, Steve Selwa.  This play was presented on Broadway in 1960and starred Bette Davis and Gary Merrill.   It tells the lore of Sandburg through narration, poetry, and song.  

The Carl Sandburg State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, includes the home where the famed poet and biographer was born.


Galesburg Public Art Commission Logo6:30 p.m. Public Reception of the Sandburg Bronze Statue
GPAC Reception, Ameren IP Building (formerly Galesburg Lincoln Mercury Nissan) 120 N. Broad St.
Sponsored by the Galesburg Public Art Commission & the Carl Sandburg Festival

The Sandburg Statue will be stored at this location until it is placed in Central Park later this year. Short program by Sandburg Biographer Penelope Niven, Knox College Philip Sidney Post Professor of English Robin Metz, Sandburg poetry reading by Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Founder and Executive Director Donald G. Evans, Galesburg Public Art Commission President Chuck Bednar and Internationally Acclaimed Artist and Sculptor and Galesburg born Lonnie Stewart.


Girl Scouts Logo9 a.m. 3- & 5-mile Sandburg Hike
Begins at Carl Sandburg Historic Site & Visitor Center
313 E. Third and ends at Coney Island or Carl Sandburg College
Girl Scouts will offer 2 historic hikes open to any child--not just scouts--this year. Non-registered Girl Scouts must be accompanied by an adult. A 3-mile hike that will include boyhood homes of Carl Sandburg and a 5-mile hike from the Historic Site, around to various sites downtown and back. Both will start together after meeting at the Birthplace for a tour, activities, and Swedish dancing, then proceed with the hike, including a stop at historic Coney Island for lunch. There will again be a Girl Scout patch and a reading component. There will be a Sandburg talk at 9 a.m., and Swedish dance perform at 9:20 a.m., followed by Bishop Hill volunteers demonstrating Swedish dancing before we tour the Historic Site and depart for the hike.


Sandburg Cook Book10 a.m.- 4 p.m. “From Our Community to Your Table”
Recipe Book Sale ONLY $15
HyVee on 1975 National Blvd. & 2030 E. Main St.
Order your copy of the Sandburg Recipe Book today to learn plenty of new dishes from members of the community! All proceeds from the book will go toward the Carl Sandburg College Community Garden, which is a University of Illinois Extension Master Garden-approved site. The book also has valuable coupons for area businesses, and for every copy your order, you’ll receive a FREE e-book version! Last year, the Carl Sandburg College Community Garden donated more than 3,000 pounds of fresh produce to FISH Food Pantry and served more than 600 families each month. The Book is also available in 25 local businesses.
• More than 400 recipes
• Valuable coupons
• To place an order or for more information, contact Marketing at


Gena Appleby10:30 a.m. Photo Contest Winners Announced & Photography Seminar by Gena Appleby
Galesburg Public Library, Sanderson Room
Winners of the Sandburg Days Festival Photography Contest will be announced in the Sanderson Room at the Galesburg Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 26, 2014. Contest judge will be Ms. Gena Appleby of Peoria.  A $25 cash prize will be awarded to the local amateur photographer who wins the Best of Show. A $20 gift certificate from The Frame Works will be awarded for first place in four categories: pets, older Galesburg homes, the Orpheum Theatre and trains. The photo contest is sponsored by The Frame Works, Foley Photo Studio, the Galesburg Public Library and the Galesburg Register-Mail. For more information, please contact Tom Foley, 309.342.9411 or There is no fee to enter, with a limit of 12 photographs per person, three per category. Photos should be no larger than 8” x 10” and created within the last year. Photos must have a secure wire on the back and be ready to hang on the display board. Prints in a frame are preferred, but prints in a matte are acceptable. Write name, address, phone number, photo title, category and email on the back of the photo. The entries are due no later than 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24, to the Galesburg Public Library, 40 E. Simmons St., Galesburg, IL 61401.


1:30p.m. Writers Workshop by Sandburg Biography Penelope Niven "Carl Sandburg’s Advice to Writers:  Principles and Practice" 
                        Carl Sandburg Historic Site Barn, 313 E. Third St.
Penelope’s Writing Workshop:  "Carl Sandburg’s Advice to Writers:  Principles and Practice" will explore some of  Carl Sandburg’s theories about writing and try them out in our own work, whether it is prose or poetry, whether it is published or unpublished, and whether you’ve been writing for years or you are just beginning. Email with your registration and workshop questions for Penelope to answer. Cost for the workshop is $20 and FREE for area high school and college students; to register email or call 309.341.5328.


Big Read Logo2:00 p.m. Annual Creative Writing Contest Reception
Galesburg Public Library, 40 E. Simmons St.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library
A reception for winners, entrants, friends, family and the community will be held on Saturday, April 26, at 2 p.m. at the Library. Refreshments will be served and the winners will have the opportunity to read their entries. Any graphic short stories will be on display. Part of The Big Read 2014; The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Two categories of submissions are being accepted: Short Stories (including manga/graphic short stories) and Poetry and song lyrics. Submissions will be grouped into four levels: Adult, High School, Middle School and 3rd-5th Grades. Up to three winners in each age group and category will be awarded prizes of $25, $15, and $10.


song bag logo7:00 p.m. Special Songbag Performance by Dan Zahn & Kate Moretti
Sandburg Visitor Center Historic Site Barn, 313 E. Third St.
Moretti and Zahn met in 1995 and discovered how similar their musical tastes were. That year they co-founded and directed the first Lake County Folk Festival, which ran for 13 years. Over the years Dan and Kate have performed as a duo throughout the Midwest.

Kate Moretti remembers listening to the music of the ‘40s on the radio in her family’s ’64 Studebaker. It was her Dad’s car... she had no choice. She would rather have been listening to the music she later learned to play on guitar: the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Simon & Garfunkel. As her musical tastes grew she rediscovered the music that she had listened to in the old Studebaker and developed an appreciation for jazz players such as the legendary Django Reinhardt. Dan Zahn grew up listening to the music of the ‘40s when his parents would watch “Sing Along With Mitch." As a teenager, he too was influenced by the music of Gordon Lightfoot, Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. As time went by, he was also influenced by Tony Rice and Django Reinhardt. Over the years Dan has performed on the road as a soloist and in a variety of bands. As a soloist Kate performed her blend of folk and jazz at coffeehouses in Northern Illinois, opening for such great performers as Joel Mabus, Tricia Alexander, Small Potatoes, and Sons of the Never Wrong. Dan and Kate met in 1995 and discovered how similar their musical tastes were. That year they co-founded and directed the first Lake County Folk Festival, which took place in Lake Zurich, Illinois, and ran for thirteen years. Over the years Dan and Kate have performed as a duo throughout the Midwest. Playing traditional folk, blues, country swing, jazz and Dan’s originals, they have performed at such notable venues as The No Exit Café, The Hickory Ridge Coffeehouse, The Lake County Folk Festival, The Fox Valley Folk Festival and Bill’s Blues to name just a few.


Marc Smith9:00 p.m. 8th Annual Rootabaga Poetry Slam by Marc K. Smith
McGillacuddy’s, 58 S. Cherry Street (middle room), Galesburg
Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Slam begins at 9:00 p.m. This event is hosted by Slampapi Marc K. Smith, founder/creator of the International Poetry Slam movement. The Rootabaga Poetry Slam is a unique form of performance poetry competition open to all ages. Smith brings a regional slam competition to Galesburg and the Festival. Top “slammers” from across the Midwest are expected to come and compete for cash prizes totaling $350. Prizes - first place $200, second place - $100, third place - $50. Those interested in competing in the Poetry Slam may contact Marc at or call 815-656-1276. Visit Smith’s website at There is no entry fee to compete. Admission is free. However, a freewill offering will be accepted, with refreshments provided. An all-ages event, but a cash bar is available. Knox College’s Cherry Street Combo will play jazz at the Slam. Refreshments will be served and a cash bar is available. This event is sponsored by McGillicuddy’s, The Big Read, Carl Sandburg Historic Site, Carl Sandburg College, Bullis & Sundberg Insurance Services, Knox College Department of English, The John & Elaine Fellowes Fund and the Sandburg Days Festival.