HENNEPIN — This year’s Hennepin Fourth of July Celebration will coincide with the Putnam County Courthouse’s 175th birthday, and events around the courthouse will be featured in this year’s festivities. The courthouse is currently the oldest continuously operating courthouse in the state.
A re-enactment of a trial in which young lawyer Abraham Lincoln defended a Woodford woman accused of murdering her husband will be presented at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. in the courtroom. In addition, some rooms of the courthouse will be open for public tours.
The trial enactment is sponsored by the Hennepin Fourth of July Committee and the Putnam County Historical Society.
A 5K run/walk will start the day at 8 a.m. with a pancake and sausage breakfast. In addition, kids’ inflatables and food vendors will be open all afternoon. A bags tournament and children’s water fights will be held in the early afternoon. The beer garden opens at noon, as does the annual cruise-in at Ernest Bassi Park.
A 50/50 raffle is being held with the winner announced in the evening. Tickets are available now at the Hennepin Village Hall or from any Fourth of July Committee member. The evening also features the presentation of the village’s Citizen of the Year and a presentation to the Putnam County Education Foundation, followed by a performance by the Putnam County Panteras and Little Panteras. The Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra will play at 6 p.m. in Walter Durley Boyle Park.
Local band The Craigs will play both before and after the fireworks starting at 8 p.m. and ending at midnight.
As always, the evening peaks at dusk with one of the largest fireworks shows in the area.
“Because of the long-standing relationship we have with the fireworks company, we have one of the best shows,” said Committeeman Quentin Buffington. “The bowl that Hennepin sits in makes it better. It makes it louder; it makes you feel it more. The fact there’s 100 feet in elevation difference, so when they’re fired off they’re at eye level for the crowd on Front Street, you feel it differently.
“People should remember there’s really only one way out of town — Route 26,” Buffington said. “Instead of sitting in long lines of traffic, why not stick around for some music. More than likely, you’ll get home at the same time and not spend half of it sitting in your car.”