Monroe St. Press rounded out a busy spring season with back to back events in Montello, Wis. and Bloomington, Ill.
Cog County Faire VI, held May 31-June 2 at White Lake Beach Resort in Montello, featured old-fashioned carnival-style entertainment and games, lake cruises, and plenty of time to relax and catch up with old and new acquaintances.
We were especially pleased to see some returning customers, including Marie, Eric and their 7-month old daughter Ingrid from Minneapolis, who received a signed copy of the futuristic anthology Unto This Last.
As always, thanks to White Lake Beach Resort for hosting this event every year and making all "time travelers" feel welcome!
The very next weekend (June 7-9), we took part for the first time in Cogs & Corsets: A Steampunk Happening in downtown Bloomington.
Vendors were originally scheduled to set up outdoors but due to strong winds, many (including Monroe St. Press) took advantage of an opportunity to move to the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. This historic building, formerly the Scottish Rite Temple, is best known for hosting the American Passion Play but also hosts numerous other events. We enjoyed the surroundings and our visitors, including some we've seen at other events, and hope to return again next year.
Outside of the Center is a unique sculpture monument, titled "Convergence of Purpose", honoring Abraham Lincoln and his connections to Bloomington. The statue shows Lincoln flanked by two close friends who were Bloomington residents: David Davis (1815-1886), a fellow circuit riding attorney and eventual Supreme Court Justice, and Jesse W. Fell (1808-1887), a businessman and land owner who helped establish what is now Illinois State University in Normal. Davis and Fell encouraged Lincoln to run for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas and also took part in his 1860 presidential campaign. Lincoln frequently kept important papers under his signature stovepipe hat and is depicted pulling documents out of the hat.
At the base of the statues are plaques commemorating speeches and presentations that Lincoln made in Bloomington, including the "Lost Speech" of 1856 and a lecture in 1858 at which Lincoln remarked: "Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship. This improvement, he effects by Discoveries and Inventions" — an appropriate focus for a steampunk-themed celebration.
We'll be returning to Bloomington for our next scheduled event, the FlatCon gaming convention Oct. 11-13 at the Interstate Center. Watch this blog and on our Facebook page for more details!