Greenville’s Bicentennial celebration on Sept. 5 and 6 will feature not only free concerts by the Bellamy Brothers and the Little River Band but also a variety of activities and performances for historians of all ages.
Two of Illinois’ most respected historic re-enactors — Kathryn Harris and Brian “Fox” Ellis — will perform Saturday 5 on the south grounds of the Bond County Courthouse. Both programs are free.
Ellis has toured the world over the past 35 years playing dozens of famous names from American history. He will actually be in Greenville the day prior to the Bicentennial celebration to perform a program on Abraham Lincoln at local schools. On Saturday, he will perform as Black Jack Logan, a Civil War hero and U.S. senator from Illinois, who was a key figure in Memorial Day becoming a national holiday. The program is at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Kathryn Harris, who recently retired as library services director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, will portray Harriet Tubman, legendary Underground Railroad conductor, from 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Harris’ program on Ms. Tubman is a nod to the efforts of abolitionists in Greenville and Bond County prior to the Civil War.
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For those who yearn for the old West, “Cowboy” Randy Erwin will entertain with cowboy music, folklore, and rope tricks Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on the south courthouse lawn.
Erwin is also a renowned yodeler whose voice was heard in the Disney animated film Home On The Range. There is no cost to watch Cowboy Randy’s roping and yodeling.
When Greenville was founded on the bluff overlooking Shoal Creek in 1815 by George Davidson, Native American Indians resided in the county. The Bicentennial will celebrate this heritage with free performances at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday on the courthouse grounds by the Kahok Dancers. Based in Collinsville, this interpretive dance group specializes in Native American story dancing. They often perform at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
A Historic Greenville Geocache Tour will be available from dawn to dusk both days of the Bicentennial celebration. Researched and coordinated by Greenville High School students, participants will need a GPS device to follow coordinates to the nine stops. A geocaching guide sheet will be posted on the Greenville Bicentennial website a few days prior to the celebration.
The following Greenville museums will be open during the Bicentennial:
▪ American Farm Heritage Museum, Railroad, and Hill’s Fort (Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.);
▪ Bond County Historical Society’s Hoiles-Davis Museum (Saturday 10 a.m. to noon and Sunday 2 to 4 p.m.);
▪ DeMoulin Museum (Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.);
▪ One Room School Museum (Saturday 10 a.m. to noon); and
▪ Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum (Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.).
A tour of Montrose Cemetery will be offered Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. Local residents in period costumes will be stationed at various spots around the cemetery and portray early Greenville residents like Will Carson, U.S. DeMoulin, and Dr. Luzader.
“You’ll learn about some fascinating Greenville residents including someone who played an important role in the development of our public library, a Bond County Civil War hero and a preacher who is buried facing the opposite direction as everyone else,” said tour organizer Nancy Gillard.
Montrose Mausoleum will also be open during that time.
A trolley will shuttle passengers for free to the museums and Montrose Cemetery on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information on these and other activities at the Greenville Bicentennial, visit www.greenville200.com.
About the Bands
Little River Band
One of the most popular bands of the late 1970s, the Little River Band will celebrate its 40th anniversary by performing at Greenville’s 200th birthday party. Known by their fans as “LRB,” the group was formed in Australia in 1975. They scored 13 Top 40 hits in the United States between 1975 and 1983 with classics like “Reminiscing,” “Lonesome Loser,” and “Help Is On Its Way.”
LRB is led by Wayne Nelson, a member since 1980, whose vocals were prominently featured on the hits “Night Owls” and “Take It Easy On Me.” Today, LRB performs over 100 concerts a year across the United States.
The Bellamy Brothers is one of the most successful duos in country music history. Howard and David Bellamy skyrocketed to fame in 1976 when their song “Let Your Love Flow” hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts. Influenced by 1960s rhythm and blues as well as the country/rock scene of the early 1970s, the Bellamys developed their own signature sound.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the brothers regularly appeared on the country charts where they notched 10 No. 1 songs. Their hits included “Old Hippie” and “For All The Wrong Reasons.” The Bellamys received numerous award nominations from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
Today, the Bellamys’ dedicated fan base continues to allow the legendary brothers to tour around the globe at their leisure, having performed for fans and military personnel in just about every country imaginable.
David Bellamy summed it up, “Touring has always been the lifeblood of our career. We’ve played shows in roughly 60 different countries.”