Princeton festival celebrates 180 years of abolitionist history

PRINCETON, Illinois — The Princeton Homestead Festival is underway this weekend. Though the celebration includes a variety of competitions and games, its all rooted in the town’s long history in civil rights advocacy.

According to the festival website, “The annual Homestead Festival honors Reverend Owen Lovejoy and his contributions to our nation’s history.”

The website goes on to explain Lovejoy was an abolitionist and a vital player in the nation’s Underground Railroad. He was also a founder of the Illinois and national Republican Party, and he served in congress.

After he died, his house changed possession several times before being restored and appointed to the Lovejoy Homestead Board of Trustees. A dedication ceremony was planned and the Homestead Festival was born.

You can tour Lovejoy’s home every day through Sunday. Other events include pie and rib contests and a parade.