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Festivals throughout the year

Throughout the year, Princeton festivals and events will give you dozens of reasons to visit!

Each year, our Homestead Festival, a celebration of the Owen Lovejoy Homestead’s remarkable place in history, is held during the second weekend in September. The weekend’s activities include a window display contest; museum tours; a pulled pork barbecue dinner and ice cream social; horse-drawn wagon rides; performances by the Princeton Community Band; helicopter rides; an arts and crafts show and market; a BBQ rib cook-off; a 5K race; class reunions; and the Homestead Festival parade.

Throughout the year, the Bureau County Fairgrounds offers events like the Covered Bridge Quilt Show, the Sauk Trail Gun Show, Second Sunday Flea Markets, Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road, the Demolition Derby, and in August-the Bureau County Fair, one of our state’s longest-running county fairs!

During the late spring and summer months, the Farmers Market at Soldiers and Sailors Park provides fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables, preserves and jams, and baked goods. Also through the summer, Festival 56 provides a wonderful range of theatrical events from comedies and musicals to dramas, as well as Shakespeare in the Park performances on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.

Bicyclists at all skill levels look forward to the annual June Z Tour Bike Ride. This biking event provides six routes from ten to a hundred miles, through northwest Illinois back roads providing beautiful views of the Bureau Valley countryside.

In October, Shadows of the Blue and Gray offers a chance for families to see how Civil War soldiers lived and fought. The campgrounds are open for tours on Friday and Saturday evening, and a Civil War battle re-creation is the focus of Sunday’s events.

Princeton’s Down on Main Concert Series has become a very popular attraction through the months of June through October. Each month, a portion of Main Street is shut down for live music, dancing, and good food from local vendors.

Community Events, Performances, & Activities

Throughout the year, there are dozens of special programs and presentations by the Princeton Public Library, the Prairie Arts Council, the Bureau County Historical Society, the Bureau County Genealogical Society, and Festival 56.

Throughout the year, our Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with local merchants, hosts several special seasonal events bringing shopping, entertainment and fun together along our two unique Main Street shopping districts.