Welcome to the

Illinois State Society

Founded in 1854, the Illinois State Society of Washington, DC is the oldest of the state societies. Abraham Lincoln was reported to have been a member. The Society is an active member of the National Conference of State Societies. The Illinois State Society’s mission is to promote the history, culture, science, technology, commerce, and social traditions of Illinois. It also makes an effort to introduce members of the best of Washington and Illinois through various educational forums and social events. We hope you will join us.

Coming ISS Events


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April 5-12:

National Cherry Blossom Festival Events and ISS Cherry Blossom Princess Activities & Reception

Taylor Meek

ISS 2015 Cherry Blossom Princess


2015 Cherry Blossom Princess is Taylor Meek.  Originally from Wheaton, Illinois, Taylor is a sophomore at Marquette University in Wisconsin majoring in psychology.  She is an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and her local church. She is also the great-niece of ISS members Cheryl and Mark Rhoads.


2015 NCSS Cherry Blossom Festival Events


Sunday, April 5 – Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony

 2:30pm – 4:30PM

Tidal Basin at Independence Avenue & 17th Street SW, Washington, DC.


The ceremony takes place at the newly dedicated Japanese Rock Garden.  It includes traditional music by the Toho Koto Society of Washington, DC and songs by the Washington Japanese Choral Society. The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, DC presents the colors. The concert and ceremony are free and open to the public.



Wednesday, April 8 – Cherry Blossom Congressional Reception


6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, Room 345, Washington, DC


Reception draws numerous members of Congress and foreign diplomats, who escort Cherry Blossom Princesses representing their respective states, territories, or embassies.  Complimentary Sapporo Beer, American Summit water, appetizers, and beverages will be served.  To attend this event, – a reservation is required. Email maxgigle@gmail.com by Thursday, April 2, 2015 to RSVP.




Thursday, April 9 – Cherry Blossom Celebration of States and Territories Reception


6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Ft. Myer Officers’ Club, Koran Room, Arlington (Ft. Myer), VA

Thursday, April 9: Cherry Blossom Celebration of States & Territories Reception

The U.S. and Japan Cherry Blossom Queens, along with all the State, Territory, and International Cherry Blossom Princesses will be honored at an evening featuring food and drink from around the country.  This event honors all Princesses. There will be a full Cash Bar with a signature Cherry Blossom drink. Vendors will be on site with Cherry Blossom custom items available. Free parking is available at the club. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: there is strict security at the gate.  A list of ALL attendees will be given to the base 48 hours in advance.  Everyone will need to have valid ID to get onto the base. Please make sure to have a paid reservation if you plan to attend. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from NCSS at Brown Paper Tickets at : http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1117400.




Friday, April 10 – Official Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and Sushi Reception


6:00 PM – 12:00 midnight

JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Valet Parking is available on the premises, along with garage parking. This black tie affair includes the coronation of the United States Cherry Blossom Queen.  The evening starts with a sushi reception, specially prepared by master Sushi Chefs of Japan.  Guests will enjoy complimentary Sapporo Beer, Mu Sake, and American Summit Sparkling & Still Water throughout the evening.  Dinner features the entertainment program with the Princesses, family & friends, and dignitaries. The Princesses are formally introduced during the Grand March.  With a spin of the Wheel of Fortune, the princess who will serve as the 2015 U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen during the 67th Anniversary year is selected.  The evening rounds out with guests dancing to live music—the sounds of Big Band Caliente—followed by a DJ playing top hits.  Tickets are available from NCSS at Brown Paper Tickets at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1117400



Saturday, April 11 – National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade


10:00am – 12:00pm

Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC


The newly-crowned 2015 NCSS United States Cherry Blossom Queen and her Japan counterpart make their first public appearance during the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade® presented by Events DC. One of DC’s largest spectator events, the Parade runs for 10 blocks along Constitution Avenue. WUSA 9 will cover the parade locally in a delayed telecast from noon to 2:00 PM, and the Parade will be syndicated across the country this spring.  There is no charge for curbside viewing or attendees can buy grandstand tickets online at: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/2014/07/21/2015parade/ for more information, visit: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/  



Saturday, April 11 – Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival®


11:00am – 6:00 PM

12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, Washington, DC

The Japan-America Society of Washington DC presents the annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, a vibrant afternoon featuring Japanese food, arts and culture, merchandise, and live traditional and J-Pop performances on four stages, including martial arts demonstrations. Visitors to the National Conference of State Societies tent, located in the center of the festival, mingle with the 2015 U.S. and International Cherry Blossom Princesses. Attendees can buy tickets online at www.sakuramatsuri.org or pay cash at any of the entrances on the day of the festival. For more information, visit www.sakuramatsuri.org/.


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Sponsors and Corporate Members


 State Farm Logo Motorola Solutions M_Sltns_blu_rgb_h_pos_edited-1



Most events are free for members. Join now! To join ISS using your credit card through PayPal, click on the “Membership” button below.



Illinois State Society of Washington DC

3700 Fort Worth Avenue, Suite 100

Alexandria, VA 22304



http://www.illinoisstatesociety.com Click Here for a printable form that you can complete and mail, with your check (made payable to The Illinois State Society), and send to the address above.

150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural

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Actor Stephen Lang Read Lincoln’s Immortal Inaugural Address 

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The Illinois State Society (ISS) and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation (ALBF) co-sponsored an official ceremony and reception in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, to commemorate the150th anniversary of the Second Inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln.

More ….




Fall Fiesta

2014 Illinois Cherry Blossom Princess!

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Wreath Laying to Honor President Ronald W. Reagan


Illinois History Page


The Hon. Mark Q. Rhoads

Mark Rhoads, former Illinois State Senator and Past President of the ISS, has posted fascinating Illinois tidbits in his “Hall of Fame” blog. Follow his captivating trail of Illinois history, links, and other subject categories. Please Click Here to see our Illinois History Page.

To play Video of Dramatic Monologues from the “Land of Lincoln – Thy Wondrous Story,” the Annual Meeting entertainment, click here.

For more information, follow Mark’s History Page.

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