Sandburg Days “Festival for the Mind”

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

 A kickoff concert, poetry contest awards, children’s games and a lecture will be featured at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site at 313 E. Third Street in Galesburg during the annual Sandburg Days “Festival for the Mind” in the community April 14 - 17.  All events at the Sandburg site are free and open to the public.   

The Sandburg Days Kickoff Reception will be held Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site Barn.  Just Two Boys Travelin’ Nowhere, an ensemble featuring Scott Schwartz on guitar and vocals and Marten Stromberg on harmonica and vocals, will play American folk and roots music.  Through the melodies and words of Carl Sandburg and Woody Guthrie, Schwartz and Stromberg retell the stories of the men, women, and events that helped shape this country.   Their performance –  using such songs as “Times Are Getting Hard,” “Do Re Mi,” “Erie Canal,” “Midnight Train,” “Union Maid,” and “This Land is Your Land” – actively engages audiences of all ages with the songs and stories about America’s historical past that were sung and told by the folks who lived it.   Schwartz and Stromberg present a humorous musical journey of America’s unique past, a trip that is sure to make visitors think, sing, laugh, and clap for an hour or two.  

On Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. the Carl Sandburg Site Barn will host the Knox College Poetry Awards Ceremony.  The contest is open to all Knox County students in grades five through eight.  Winners will read their works and receive cash prizes from Knox College at the award ceremony on April 16 during the Sandburg Days Festival.

        The Carl Sandburg State Historic Site Association annual lecture series continues at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 17 at the Carl Sandburg Site Barn with Robert Wick presenting "The Historian and the Poet: James G. Randall, Carl Sandburg and the Life of Abraham Lincoln."  The lecture describes the unlikely friendship between the preeminent academic Lincoln historian of the 20th century and its best-known popular writer. While one might expect there to be a palpable tension between Randall and Sandburg, a sincere friendship developed between the two which affected their respective works on Lincoln.  How and why this friendship developed and is important is the main thrust of the lecture.  

Robert G. Wick is an independent scholar who has been interested in the life of Abraham Lincoln since the age of seven.  Wick, a native of Albion in deep southern Illinois, is a 1985 graduate of Eastern Illinois University where he received a degree in history.  He spent 14 years as a reporter and editor for small newspapers throughout southern Illinois.  For several years Wick’s interest in Lincoln revolved around the story of his assassination, and his expertise resulted in his being asked to appear in "The Hunt for Lincoln’s Assassin" which appeared in 2007 on the National Geographic Channel.

For a schedule of all activities taking place during Sandburg Days in Galesburg from April 14 – 17, visit

The Carl Sandburg State Historic Site is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.