David Davis Mansion 2015 Calendar of Events
Watch for information on all upcoming events!
2015 Special Events at the David Davis Mansion
The Mansion is open for regular tours each week 9am-4pm, Wednesday-Saturday, except holidays. The events below are separate opportunities to visit, during times and dates noted, when special programs are planned for your pleasure. Call 309-828-1084 with questions.
Champagne British Car Festival
10am – 3pm
Suggested Donations: $5
Bag pipers and drums will lead the Premiere Class automobiles on a parade lap around the grounds of the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington to open the 24th annual Champagne British Car Festival at 10 AM on Sunday May 31.
Between 130 and 150 British automobiles, many antiques, coming from throughout Illinois and adjoining states, with the MG as this year's featured marque, will adorn the flag festooned grounds of the Mansion.
In addition to the cars, both the Mansion and Sarah's Garden will be open to the public for tours. Door prizes contributed by local businesses will be awarded from opening until 3 PM. Red Bird Catering will be offering lunch on the grounds with Bob's Ice Cream from Eureka providing dessert. Kids will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken in a former racing MGA and everyone will have the chance to see some outstanding examples of British automobiles and to talk with their owners.
The Festival will conclude with an awards ceremony at 3 PM with presentations given to the winners of each of the 29 car classes. Members of the Boys & Girls club will conduct their own judging with the winner given a Junior Judging award. Mayors Chris Koos of Normal and Tari Renner of Bloomington will be giving "Mayors’ Choice" awards. And finally, the winner of this year's Premiere Class will be presented with a special trophy.
For more information on the Champagne British Car Festival, its beginnings and this annual special event, see the website at cbcf-bloomington.com.
19th Annual Glorious Garden Festival
1pm – 8pm
9am – 5pm
Garden lovers, get out your walking shoes! Make a date now to discover Bloomington-Normal’s hidden treasures during the 19th annual Glorious Garden Festival Garden Walk, hosted by the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site.
This year’s Garden Walk theme is “Hidden Treasures - Gems in the Garden” and will feature tours of 10 private gardens. Hours are 1-8 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday. The Garden Walk will be held rain or shine.
Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 the weekend of the event and $7 for anyone under 18. Beginning May 1, tickets may be purchased in advance at Schnuck’s Supermarkets in Normal and Bloomington, the Garlic Press, Casey’s Garden Shop, Wendell Niepagen Greenhouse, and at the David Davis Mansion Visitors Center. You may also purchase advance tickets online here, through 5pm Wednesday, June 17th.
The walk is a fundraiser for the David Davis Mansion Foundation, which provides private support for the state-operated David Davis Mansion historic site.
As the theme suggests, Garden Walk guests are encouraged to look for the “hidden gems” -- unique items displayed among the flowers and foliage in each garden. Highlights will include square- foot vegetable gardening, a mini beach area, water features, a custom watering system, unusual trees, and fanciful yard art.
The event also includes a gardeners’ market place on the Mansion lawn, complimentary tea and desserts, and tours of Sarah’s Garden with University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners in McLean County. Guided tours of the Davis Mansion will also be offered.
The garden walk begins at the David Davis Mansion, 1000 Monroe Drive, Bloomington. Easy ticket and map pick-up, with drive-through service and free parking on the Mansion grounds, is available during the entire event weekend. For more information, call (309) 828-1084.
Over the past 18 years, more than 18,000 visitors have toured Bloomington-Normal’s most beautiful private gardens, generating more than $222,000 for the non-profit David Davis Mansion Foundation.
Proceeds from this year's event will support restoration of the historic Sarah’s Garden, a long-term project that involves research and the reintroduction of difficult-to-find heirloom plants and seeds. Proceeds will also be used to develop new science-based school field trip programs utilizing the garden.
Civil War Days
9am – 4pm
Visit the Davis Mansion as history comes to life with canon fire, recreated Civil War skirmishes, demonstrations of early battlefield surgery, the reenactment of the Surrender at Appomattox, a chance to listen and talk to the famous Civil War Generals, and much more are presented on the sprawling Mansion lawn in this 150th year since the end of the Civil War.
Antique Auto Exhibit
9am – 4pm
The McLean County Antique Auto Club and The David Davis Mansion Foundation present antique vehicles in the inviting surroundings of the Mansion lawn.
All Car Community Show
9am – 4pm
Anything goes in this lively freestyle vehicle show!! If it runs, it’s eligible to enter this event!
A Bountiful Feast
9am – 4pm
The servants are busy preparing the Mansion for Thanksgiving and we are invited to drop in. Be careful, or you might be put to work!
Thanksgiving at Clover Lawn
9am – 4pm
Focusing on Thanksgiving customs of the era, the Mansion will reflect an old fashioned Thanksgiving as the Davis family experienced it.
Christmas at the Mansions
Watch for tour hours and ticket information
Delight in an abundance of lavish Christmas décor as you tour three Mansions in the community, including the Davis Mansion, all elegantly dressed for your visit!
Christmas at Clover Lawn
November 27th-December 31st
9am – 4pm
Lavishly adorned with greens, colorful paper decorations, ornaments of glass, gold, and silver, the Davis Mansion sits in all its glory awaiting your holiday visit! Come see the many trees – each with a different theme – smell the wonderful holiday smells, learn about Christmas traditions and customs through the years, and enjoy the splendor of this Victorian jewel on the prairie!
Prologue to Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit
Funded by a total of $33,000 in grants from several organizations, this is the first of such major exhibits to be created in the local Lincoln legacy programs, and is housed in the Lincoln-era barn on the grounds of the David Davis Mansion. The project is sponsored by the former Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County as part of the celebration of the Lincoln Bicentennial. The exhibit development was also supported by the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition. The Heritage Association of McLean County is working with the Davis Mansion staff and Foundation to promote the exhibit and create related educational programs and special events. For more information, contact the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site at (309) 828-1084.
Looking for Lincoln and Davis
Special exhibits and educational programs related to Abraham Lincoln and David Davis are part of a statewide tourism program. Call (309) 828-1084 for more information.
Victorian History Program and Tour
Presented by The Tea Ladies, Inc.
Join The Tea Ladies for any of several entertaining and factual Victorian programs presented in the formal parlor of the David Davis Mansion. Programs are presented in Victorian costume by Nancy Perzo and Karen Patton. For further information on available programs, scheduling, and cost, contact Nancy Perzo at (309) 827-2200 and visit The Tea Ladies website