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What's a small town community without a Fourth of July celebration and spring and summer festivals? While each of our communities has its own claim to fame, they pull out all the stops and open their towns to visitors to enjoy the festival fun.

Aikman Wildlife Adventure
Located between Arthur and Arcola, less than 6 miles west from Interstate 57 exit 203, this is a wildlife drive-thru park where you can get up close and personal with animals you’ve only seen behind fencing at a zoo or on television. You’ll have the opportunity to see and take pictures of animals right out of your vehicle while you drive the 1-mile long path through our Drive-thru.

This three-day festival celebrates the best of the Mattoon community centered around a local plant that produces more bagels that anywhere else in the US. The festive celebration includes music, a parade, beauty pageant, food, and fun!

Charleston is downstate Illinois’ biggest secret. It offers world class arts and culture through top-rated Eastern Illinois University. Superior schools, parks & recreation in a friendly historic setting, as well a vibrant downtown and pulsating main street, are available. Charleston gives you the best of rural living in a friendly tight-knit community.

Charleston's Red, White & Blue Days
Held at Morton Park, the festival is a patriotic celebration that features national entertainment, community spirit, games, a parade and fireworks.

Coles County Fair
The most fun filled week of the year in Coles County has something for everyone! A big week  filled with Exciting Carnival and Games, Horse Racing, Livestock Shows and Competition, Arts and Crafts Exhibits, Tractor Pulls, Demolition Derby, Queen Pageant, Bands, Bull Riding, and much much more. Join us during the last weekend in July through the first weekend in August as we carry on a tradition that's been gong strong since 1854!

Mattoon Arts Council
Founded in 1999 by an act of the Mattoon City Council, the Mattoon Arts Council supports, develops, facilitates and promotes high-quality, affordable arts programs and activities for people of all ages.

Historical landmarks

Five Mile House
Built ca. 1840 with a Civil War-era kitchen addition, the restored and furnished house received its name because it sits exactly five miles south east of the Coles County Courthouse in Charleston on Ill. Highway 130

Greenwood School Museum
This authentic one-room school house offers visitors a look at how education was taught from 1895 to 1945. 

Mattoon Train Depot
The original Railroad Depot was constructed in 1918 by the Illinois Central Railroad. The Depot was remodeled in 2011. The Depot is still an active Amtrak Station with 3,000 passengers departing and arriving per month.

Old City Cemetery and Chambers Cemetery
Discover the graves of Charleston’s earliest residents among which include Lincoln’s extended family, local friends and victims of the 1864 Charleston Riot. The cemetery sits across the street from the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum. Located on the corner of Madison and ‘E’ Street.

Exploring Lincoln

The community is rich in Lincoln heritage as our favorite son's boyhood home is located south of Charleston. The area was fortunate that his path crossed through our community many times leaving behind several historical markers. 

Lincoln Log Cabin

Lincoln Log Cabin is an 86-acre historic site that is owned and operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Division of Historic Sites. Lincoln Log Cabin Historic Site was the 1840s home of Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, father and stepmother of our 16th president. The site includes a working, living historic farm developed around a two-room cabin. A second farmstead, the Stephen Sargent Farm, has been moved to the site to help broaden visitors’ understanding of the 1840s rural life in Illinois. Both offer an array of interpretive programs. 

Thomas Lincoln Cemetery
Many visit this cemetery to see the burial site of Abraham Lincoln’s father and stepmother, Thomas Lincoln and Sarah Bush Lincoln.

Moore Home State Historic Site

Located just one mile north of Lincoln Log Cabin, the Moore Home is the 1860s home of Abraham Lincoln's stepsister, Matilda Hall Moore and the location of President-elect Lincoln’s last visit with his Coles County family on January 31, 1861.

Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum
Coles County Fairgrounds
Tour the only museum in Illinois retracing the senatorial debates of 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephan Douglas. The museum offers exhibits and interactive displays that tell the debates’ story through film, audio selections, artifacts and photos. The museum also includes a children’s hands-on area and a gift shop. Docents may be available at various times. 

Downtown Square
Charleston’s Downtown Square has been the site of the Coles County seat since 1835. As a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln practiced law in a previous version of the courthouse. Today, the late 19th century Romanesque courthouse sits at the center of the square. Historic buildings display stunning architectural details and serve as home to current professional offices, unique shops and restaurants.

Charleston Riot Historic Marker
Courthouse Square
The Civil War spread to Charleston when a face-to-face encounter took place between southern sympathizers called “Copperheads,” Union soldiers and citizens who favored the Lincoln Administration. An artistic mural of the rendition can be seen one block west of the Historic Marker at the corner of Sixth street and Jackson Avenue. Charleston Tourism

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield 
This amazing museum offers a wonderful interactive experience to help the visitors understand the era, the hardships and accomplishments of our 16th President of the United States. Springfield is just 90 miles west.