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Farm Bureau

A quarterly magazine for members


Wheels of Fortune

Illinois company builds rides for fairs, amusement parks and beyond

Hungry travelers flock to Route 66 Chicken Basket

Growing for Generations Landowners show pride over centuries of family farming

Delicious dairy products star in summer Recipes

This Issue at a Glance


2 8

Although it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Funks Grove [“Maple Syrup on Tap,” Spring 2013], I’ve enjoyed the sirup. I would like to have some more if possible! Larry Kelm via

6 3

Syrup For Sale

We were at the Funks Grove a few years ago and purchased some of their fine product then. Is there any place you can purchase Funks sirup in a retail store? Linda Homer via




Response from Debby Funk: We really only sell our sirup at our shop and through mail order ( Sometimes The Garlic Press located in uptown Normal will purchase some, but we don’t sell it through any other retailer.

my grandmother used to make. I also enjoy the pepper jelly. I serve it poured over a brick of cream cheese with crackers or chips. The salsa is excellent! Gwen Edwards via

write to us 1. Get your “chicks” on Route 66 at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket in Hinsdale page 12 2. Read about a sesquicentennial family farm located near Lincoln page 8

Pick for Pickles Leepy’s bread and butter pickles [“Jar Star,” Summer 2012] are my favorite! They are just like

Email us at We welcome any feedback, story ideas, gardening questions or recommendations for our events section.

3. Stop and smell the petunias in Dixon page 14 4. Have a peachy keen time at the Cobden Peach Festival page 31 5. Attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in August page 23 6. Get farm-fresh raspberries from You Pick Berries in Kingston page 6 7. Learn about threshing at the annual Thresherman’s Show in Altamont page 31 8. Discover the Jacksonville link to rides such as the Scrambler and the Big Eli wheel page 20


Illinois Farm Bureau

Features 26

8 Growing for Generations Landowners show pride over centuries of family farming

12 Fried & True Hungry travelers flock to Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket on Route 66

Every Issue

14 Discover Dixon Stop and smell the petunias in the Jewel of the Sauk Valley

5 prairie state perspective Farm shop plays vital role for generations

20 Wheels of Fortune

7 Almanac

Eli Bridge carries on tradition of manufacturing fun in the form of amusement park rides

Learn how to make your yard a hummingbird haven

17 country wisdom Guide to giving charitable donations

18 Watch Us Grow Spanglers place farm and family first

24 recipes Discover delightful dairy recipes

28 Gardening Learn how to plant a moon garden

30 EVENTS Summer festivals and fairs during June, July and August


On the cover Photo by Brian McCord Fairgoers stroll the midway at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

more online A statue of Ronald Reagan stands next to his boyhood home in Dixon.

Summer 2013

Watch videos, read stories and browse photos at


Volume 5, No. 3


Farm Bureau


An official member publication of the Illinois Farm Bureau

Visit our website for videos, stories, recipes and much more




Resources Publisher Michael L. Orso Editor Dave McClelland Associate Editor Martin Ross Production Manager Bob Standard Photographic Services Director Ken Kashian President Philip Nelson Vice President Rich Guebert Jr. Executive Director of Operations, News & Communications Chris Magnuson

Content Director Jessy Yancey Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Rachel Bertone Contributing Writers Charlyn Fargo, Celeste Huttes, Cathy Lockman, Jessica Mozo, Jan Phipps, Joanie Stiers, Lorraine Zenge Creative Services Director Christina Carden Senior Graphic Designers Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams Creative Technology Analyst Becca Ary

Farm Fresh Recipes

Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto

Wondering what to do with all the squash and zucchini you’ve bought at your local farmers market or roadside stand? Find a selection of summer recipes and farmers market shopping tips online at

Staff Photographers Michael Conti, Wendy Jo O’Barr, Frank Ordonez

Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord

Web Creative Director Allison Davis Web Content Manager John Hood Web Designer II Richard Stevens Web Development Lead Yamel Hall Web Developer I Nels Noseworthy Digital Project Manager Jill Ridenour Digital Projects Designer Erica Lampley

Connect With Us

Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan

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I.T. Director Daniel Cantrell ILpartners

Accounting Diana Guzman, Maria McFarland, Lisa Owens

read past issues and online-only magazines

Chairman Greg Thurman

County Program Coordinator Kristy Duncan Receptionist Linda Bishop

President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Sr. V.P./Operations Casey Hester Sr. V.P./Sales Todd Potter Sr. V.P./Agribusiness Publishing Kim Holmberg Sr. V.P./Sales Rhonda Graham V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./External Communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens Controller Chris Dudley Distribution Director Gary Smith

grow, cook, eat, learn

recipes, tips and food for thought

Illinois Farm Bureau Partners is produced for the Illinois Farm Bureau by Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (800) 333-8842. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Illinois Farm Bureau Partners (USPS No. 255-380) is issued quarterly by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Ave., P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, IL 61702 and additional mailing offices. The individual membership fee of the Illinois Agricultural Association includes payment of $3 for a subscription to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL, 61702-2901. Member Member

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Please recycle this magazine

Browse summer recipe ideas at 4

Illinois Farm Bureau

Prairie state perspective about the author Joanie Stiers writes from Western Illinois, where farmers and farm businesses modernize their shops to accommodate today’s tractors and equipment.

The Nerve Center of the Farm Farm shop plays vital role for generations of farm family members After our wedding ceremony, we partied in the the shop door. Even the barn cats want to hang out there. farm shop. Well-equipped farm shops reduce costly downtime. It was an easy reception site to book, but a near Farm magazines highlight must-have shop tools like home nightmare to prepare. We packed the place with more magazines offer decorating ideas. So shop items surface than 400 relatives and friends before the wrenches and on the Christmas lists of 80 percent of the men in my arc welder moved back in. Guests farming family. enjoyed pulled pork barbecue A lifetime’s accumulation of sandwiches. They drank Pepsi wrenches and chains hang small The farm shop remains one from classic glass bottles chilled of our farm’s nerve centers, to large. Nuts and bolts await use, on ice in a livestock water tank. sorted by size. Cordless drills just as it was for earlier Kerosene lamps illuminated and air impact wrenches make generations in my family. the tables. Grandpa’s collection of antique My family remodeled the shop tools appear even more antiquated. in the weeks (and days) before the wedding. Minutes So do battery-powered grease guns. after my dad and a neighbor prepared the electrical My family’s farm shop contains a wish list of more outlets, we plugged in white lights. But the most exciting modern conveniences. But the shop can fit a headless part was that Dad’s shop earned a concrete floor that combine with the grain tank extension folded down. summer – a big deal on the farm, where soil, gravel (The head of a combine is the apparatus at the front of and grass dominate. a combine that gathers the grain.) That’s opposite of Fond memories flow from my family’s farm shops, my childhood, when most equipment outgrew the shop’s such as fluid from a broken hydraulic line. ceiling clearance and door widths at Grandpa’s farm. As Certainly our wedding marked a major milestone in a kid, I watched tractors and planters take their turns for farm shop history. As a kid, I fetched tools for Dad and maintenance in the barnyard space just outside his south Grandpa in a farm shop. Learned to wind an unruly air shop door. My kids grab long-handled magnets and still hose. Developed a preference for country music from find rusty nuts and bolts in that gravel. the ever-playing radio. Faced the startling air compressor. Our farm’s other nerve center is the farmhouse office. And solidified my inclination for self-sufficiency. Today, I know farmers who put their offices in their Yet the space provides more than memories and shops. They may add bathrooms and kitchenettes. In experiences. The farm shop remains one of our farm’s nerve some, heated floors warm energy-efficient buildings. centers, just as it was for earlier generations in my family. Taller ceilings and larger doors can make modern, In that shop, planters prepare for planting. Equipment high-horsepower tractors look small. Advancements receives general maintenance. Tractors undergo overhauls. improve metal fabrication and lubricant storage. And some To-do lists form. And farm partners and employees put that deafening air compressor in a room of its own. communicate. The parcel driver often drops packages at Sounds like a good place for a party.

Summer 2013


Field Trip

Berry Delightful Enjoy the simple pleasure of fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries this summer at You Pick Berries in Kingston.

A Haven for Hummingbirds Seeing a hummingbird buzz around your yard is a sure sign of summer – if you can catch a glimpse before they dart off, that is. Luckily, you can easily attract these one-of-a-kind birds by following these simple tips:

The farm, located about 70 miles west of Chicago near Rockford, invites visitors to fill their baskets with as many berries as they can pick, based on availability (blueberries will be limited this year). The cash-only operation, open from 8 a.m. till sunset during harvest season, runs on a self-serve/honor system. Owner Christine Ewald sells the berries for $3 per pint. For product availability, visit

• Plant red or orange flowers, especially tube-shaped ones such as bee balm, trumpet creepers or cardinal flowers. These colors attract hummingbirds, and the tubular shape helps the bird easily gain access to the sweet nectar. • Use a bird feeder filled with sugar water to mimic nectar. Keep the feeder clean to avoid mold, which can be harmful to the birds.

Farm Focus

melons: Melons grow well in the sandy soil of the Illinois River Valley.

In 2012, U.S. fresh market watermelon production totaled Farmers in Illinois and Indiana combined grow more than 7,500 acres of watermelons.

$520 Million

Americans eat more watermelon than any other melon variety.

followed by

$325 Million for cantaloupe production and

In 2009, Congress declared July National Watermelon Month.

$69.8 Million for honeydew production.

More online Find more melon health benefits and recipes online at

Sources: Illiana Watermelon Association, National Agriculture Statistics Service


Illinois Farm Bureau

Motorsport Mountain After a coal processing facility in Atkinson closed in 1964, the land sat vacant for more than four decades. Now, Gob Hill in Northwestern Illinois has been developed into an ATV and dirt bike paradise. Atkinson Motorsports Park bills itself as an ATV lover’s dream, full of trails, mud bogs and climbs. Riders can head to the top of the hill amid more than 200 acres dotted with lakes, hills and valleys, and experience open and unrestricted riding. The park features a stadium-style super-cross track, a motocross track and a kids-only riding area. A perimeter road with gorgeous scenery provides an option for more conservative riders, and the park welcomes overnighters with a campground for RVs and tents. Learn more about the park at or by calling (309) 936-1200.

Google Gardens Though urban agriculture has sprouted as a popular trend in recent years, tracking its growth has proven difficult. Researchers at the University of Illinois have broken through this challenge, developing a methodology used to quantify urban agriculture in Chicago by using a surprising tool: Google Earth. Using the virtual globe to examine urban gardening spots in Chicago, they were able to narrow down which gardens actually produced food through the programdocumented sites. The final estimate, published in October 2012, revealed 4,648 urban agriculture sites, with a production area of 2.85 million square feet. The findings show that garden concentration varied by neighborhoods, and crops grown varied depending on the area’s cultural groups. Ultimately, the study suggested that both backyard and vacant lot gardens contribute to Chicago’s total food production.

Summer 2013

The Face of Farming The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) selected Katie Pratt of Dixon as one of just four winners nationwide to represent the Faces of Farming & Ranching program. Chosen from a pool of more than 100 farmer applicants from across the country, Pratt has been sharing her stories and experiences on a national stage. So far, she has appeared on national television with Danny Boome of Food Network’s “Rescue Chef” to help decode food terms. “I’m excited to help consumers demystify some of today’s confusing food terms,” she says. “I hope to show viewers that knowing more about how your food is grown and raised – whether it’s organic, local, conventionally raised, etc. – can help you better understand how to make healthy choices based on your own preferences.” Pratt and husband Andy grow corn and soybeans. Pratt serves as the Lee County Agriculture in the Classroom coordinator and has also volunteered for Illinois Farm Families and participated in USFRA Food Dialogues panel discussions to answer questions about food and farming. The next food dialogue takes place June 19 at Kendall College in Chicago and will focus on information consumers look for when purchasing food.



Illinois Farm Bureau

Growing for Generations Landowners show pride over centuries of family farming story byJoanie

Stiers |

photography byJeff


David Opperman plants seeds in the same soil as did his great-greatgrandfather, Fred Dittus. It seems that distant grandfather also sowed the seeds for a long line of farmers. Farming in Opperman’s family predates Chevrolet and professional American baseball. More amazing yet is the fact that the family still owns and farms the land that Dittus bought in 1862 during the Civil War. “I think it’s not only your livelihood or income, it’s a way of life,” says Opperman, a fifth-generation farmer. “It’s become a heritage as it’s passed on from generation to generation. We’re blessed with some of the best farmland in the world right here in Central Illinois. It’s been a good source of revenue, and it’s something we like to do.” Three generations of Oppermans – Stephanie, Dave, Ruth, Sam, Megan and Jenna – grow corn and soybeans on the same land near Lincoln farmed by their family since 1862. A commemorative sign designates the land as a sesquicentennial farm.

Summer 2013


Top Century Farm Counties Where can you find the most centennial and sesquicentennial farms in Illinois? Below, we list the top counties in order of the number of farms with these historical designations. To search the database or learn more about the program, visit

Centennial Farms • Champaign • Livingston • McLean • LaSalle • Iroquois

Sesquicentennial Farms • McLean • Ogle • Macon • Bureau • Vermilion

The family’s oldest tract of land, near Lincoln, marked 150 years in the family in 2012. The state honored the farm’s sesquicentennial status at the Illinois State Fair that year. The family earned a commemorative outdoor sign and a place in the Illinois Department of Agriculture archives. Since the 1970s, the department has recognized longtime family farmland owners. The Centennial Farm Program acknowledges families who have owned their land for more than 100 years. The Sesquicentennial Program began in 2001 and honors 150 years of continuous ownership. Today, at least one century farm exists in every county, says Delayne Reeves, who coordinates the program. Statewide, more than 9,200 farms have registered for the centennial designation. The department recognizes more than 600 as sesquicentennial. They receive about 250 applications each year for the programs. Reeves says this demonstrates the state’s deep agricultural heritage and commitment to farming. “They have cared enough for the land and their family to continue it through time and usually many hardships,” she says. Farms such as Opperman’s have survived the ownership challenges of wars, economic depression, crop failures, estate tax challenges, urban development and even today’s record-high land prices. While the state in 2012 recognized the original 80 acres where Opperman lives, family members also own several farms with 100 years of continuous ownership. More approach the 150-year mark. And these milestones invite reflection. Opperman’s mother, Ruth Opperman, owns the 80-acre parcel today. She remembers when the farm’s horsepower came from actual horses, when electricity

first came to the farm, and when blacktop paved the dirt road. She shares stories of how the farm produced less by today’s standards yet required more intensive manual labor. Old aerial photos show this land’s evolution in farming practices, Opperman says. Multiple fences once partitioned the land into smaller parcels – typical at the time for livestock, such as cattle, hogs and horses, and field crops, including corn, hay, oats and wheat. Wood buildings of various sizes dotted the farm for livestock shelter and crop storage, including ear corn. Today, the land is fenceless and produces either corn or soybeans on nearly the entire 80-acre spread minus the 3-acre farmstead. That farm site today includes two metal-sided buildings to accommodate today’s tractors and implements, storage bins for corn or soybeans, and a house where Opperman lives with his wife, Stephanie, and their children. Time and weather, including a tornado, ravaged the farm’s original buildings. A garage from the 1960s survived, making it the oldest standing structure. Someone with a keen eye may even notice the improved soil conservation practices in these aerial farm photos. And a sharp observer may see narrower and straighter rows, planted with the assistance of global-positioning technology. The photo doesn’t show advanced farm equipment, crop genetics or technologies that improve production and conservation practices. Opperman wishes his ancestors could see the farm now. “I wonder what they would say,” he muses. “We have tractors that can drive themselves with auto guidance. My greatgrandfathers had to use horses to drag planters with the check wire to plant corn. “I think they’d be in awe.”

Clockwise from top: David Opperman, hauling loads of corn, says his ancestors would marvel over the technology used on the farm today; Ruth, David’s mother, still owns the farmland; Sam, David’s son, and his siblings are poised to take over the farm one day.


Illinois Farm Bureau

A Family Tradition In 1848, Fred Dittus of Germany traveled 47 days on a steamboat vessel to settle in the United States. In 1862, he bought an 80-acre farm near Lincoln for $11 per acre and started a family legacy. The farm passed through generations of the family who owned and farmed it: Charles Dittus, Norma Dittus Finke and Ruth Finke Opperman. Ruth, a retired farmer, owns it today. Her son, David Opperman, farms the land. David and his sister, Janet Dullard, share the future of the property. They hope the next generation will continue to farm it.

Summer 2013



Fried Hungry travelers flock to Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket on Route 66 story byCathy photography


Lockman byTodd Bennett

Illinois Farm Bureau

In 1946, Nat King Cole first sang, “Get your kicks on Route 66.” That same year, the Chicken Basket opened its doors at the corner of Route 66 and 79th Street in what was then rural Hinsdale. More than 66 years later, the historic roadside restaurant has its own take on that old favorite: “Get your chicks on Route 66.” The “chicks” refers to its signature fried chicken dinner, a recipe that earns the Chicken Basket praise from local customers, food critics and even fellow restaurateurs such as Food Network’s Guy Fieri of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” “We take great pride in providing quality food, made fresh and at a fair price,” says Patrick Rhea, current owner of the Chicken Basket. He learned this lesson from his parents, Dell and Grace, who bought the restaurant in 1963. “Back in the early 1950s, this area was very busy,” Rhea says. “There was an airport across the street, a miniature golf course, several restaurants, and the Chicken Basket was even a Blue Bird Bus stop. The restaurant was packed from morning until night with all that traffic. All you needed was one car out of 100 to stop.” The restaurant’s ties to the automobile began even earlier. Founder Irv Kolarik managed a gas station on the property next door to the current Chicken Basket. In those days, families had only one car, Rhea says, so while it underwent repairs, they had to wait at the gas station. Kolarik put in a small counter to serve pie, coffee and cold sandwiches. Two local farm women suggested he turn the gas station into a restaurant. They said they’d provide their fried chicken recipe if he purchased his chickens from them. He agreed, and the Chicken Basket was born. Road Less Traveled When the Rhea family bought the restaurant almost 20 years later, Interstate 55 had just opened, changing the traffic pattern

Summer 2013

on Route 66 overnight. The former main highway – a perfect stop for hungry travelers on their way to and from Chicago – quickly became a quiet back road. The change in traffic didn’t deter Dell Rhea, a well-known local businessman who had served as the executive director of the Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau. He bought the Chicken Basket from the bank, put his name on it and worked to attract customers who appreciated home-cooked food and friendly service. Fifty years later, his son carries on that tradition in the same building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, with the same sign, the same fried chicken recipe and the same determination. But a few things have changed. “We have a full menu of fresh, additive-free comfort foods,” Rhea says. “In addition to our famous chicken, we are known for our wings, our macaroni and cheese, and our fresh, homemade soups. We make our chicken stock in house and prepare our own wing sauces.” Rhea estimates that they cook about 2,000 pounds of chicken a week to serve the lunch and dinner crowds that flock to the Chicken Basket. It may be off the beaten track, but people come because they know they’ll get a delicious, fresh meal, says Rhea. Not to mention a taste of history.

if you go ... Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket Location: 645 Joliet Rd. in Willowbrook Hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays. Phone: (630) 325-0780

chicken basket Giveaway Illinois Farm Bureau members can enter to win one of four $25 gift certificates to Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket. Entries will be accepted throughout the month of June on the Partners website. Find out how to enter online at


Discover Dixon Stop and smell the petunias in the Jewel of the Sauk Valley story by Jessica Mozo photography by

Todd Bennett


Illinois Farm Bureau

Opposite page: The Memorial Arch on South Galena Avenue welcomes visitors to Dixon. Above left: The John Deere Historic Site in nearby Grand Detour marks the site where the farm equipment pioneer invented his famous plow in 1837. Above right: Ronald Reagan moved to Dixon in 1920, and his boyhood home now honors the legacy of the former president.

If you haven’t spent a weekend in Dixon, consider adding it to your list of places to visit this year. Located in Northwestern Illinois along the Rock River, Dixon (population 16,000) is the seat of Lee County and the hometown of former President Ronald Reagan. Known as the Jewel of the Sauk Valley, Dixon has a thriving Main Street organization working to revitalize its historic downtown. Established in 1830, Dixon has garnered the titles of official Petunia Capital of Illinois, as well as the Catfish Capital of Illinois, thanks to the Rock River’s reputation for great-tasting catfish. Stop and Smell the Petunias During the summer months, the streets of Dixon greet visitors with 30,000 pink petunias, planted each year by more than 200 volunteers. Every July, the Dixon Petunia Festival brings scores of tourists to the city for a week of concerts, competitions, pancake breakfasts, games, food vendors, a parade, carnival rides, a kids’ fishing derby and a 5K run/walk. Visitors can enter the festival grounds for free, though various activities have admission fees. The 2013 Dixon Petunia Festival takes place July 3-7. Stop in the Dixon Welcome Center downtown for information on local historic sites and attractions, and visit the gift shop to pick up a bottle of Petunia Wine. An interactive exhibit also details the history of the Lincoln Highway, which runs through Dixon. Love the outdoors? Dixon claims more

Summer 2013

parks per capita than any other city in the Midwest. Spend an afternoon at Lowell Park, a picturesque 200-acre green space with hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, a playground, a ball diamond, boat ramps and the Lowell Park Nature Center, which includes exhibits on native plants, live animals and birds of prey. Famous Faces Visit the blacksmith shop where John Deere developed his original self-scouring plow in 1837 at the John Deere Home & Historic Site in Grand Detour, just outside of Dixon. Former President Ronald Reagan grew up in Dixon, and his childhood home on Hennepin Avenue gives visitors a peek at how he and his family lived in the 1920s. Take a guided tour of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home & Visitors Center to discover little-known facts about Reagan, including how he worked as a lifeguard at Lowell Park and saved 77 persons from drowning in the Rock River. Find more interesting details about the area at the Dixon Historic Center, located in a former grade school attended by Reagan. It includes memorabilia from Reagan’s childhood, radio and movie careers, presidency and personal life.

Dixon Must-Sees Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home John Deere Home & Historic Site Lowell Park & Nature Center Dixon Petunia Festival (July 3-7, 2013) The Crawford House Inn Midway Drive-In Theater Ronald Reagan Trail The Next Picture Show Fine Arts Center Plum Hollow Recreation Center Lee County Courthouse

Local Eats Alley Loop Saloon & Deli Arthur’s Garden Deli Baker Street Basil Tree Ristorante BBY Carryout Flynnie’s Diner Galena Steak House Mama Cimino’s Salamandra Restaurant Spurgeon’s Bay Bar & Grill Touch of Thai


Legendary Pizza Al & Leda’s Pizzeria creates unusual pizza varieties such as spaghetti and BLT If You Go... Al & Leda’s Pizzeria Location: 325 W. Everett St. in Dixon Hours: Monday through Thursday and Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Phone: (815) 284-3932


Have a craving for pizza? Head to Al & Leda’s Pizzeria in the Northwestern Illinois town of Dixon, which has more than 50 years of spinning dough under its belt. Owner Leda Bartolomei opened the Italian restaurant with her husband, Al, in 1960. Al died in 1988, but at 80 years old, Leda continues to work at the pizzeria four days a week with the help of her daughters, Linda Lanis and Bea Brown. “Mom is friends with a lot of our customers because she’s been serving them for so many years,” Brown says. “We’ve been here so long; we’re almost like a landmark in Dixon.” The simple brick building on West Everett Street may appear a little rough around the edges, but what the building lacks in style, the restaurant makes up for in flavor and creativity. For example, take the restaurant’s Spaghetti Pizza. Leda Bartolomei created the signature item, a crispy-yet-chewy crust smothered in spaghetti noodles, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. “My mom was the first person in this area to start serving spaghetti pizza,” Brown says. “It’s very filling.”

A trio of other unusual menu items includes BBQ Cheeseburger Pizza, Chicken Alfredo Pizza and the BLT Pizza, which has mozzarella cheese and bacon baked on the crust, lettuce and tomato toppings and comes with a side of mayo. However, the restaurant’s culinary prowess extends well beyond pizza. Customers keep coming back for the pizzeria’s torpedoes and Italian cheeseburgers, Brown says. “The torpedoes are long sandwiches layered with beef, pepperoni, salami, ham, cheese, pickles, onions, peppers and spaghetti sauce,” she explains. “And our Italian cheeseburgers are oven-baked and served on rectangle-shaped Italian bread.” A huge variety of sandwiches and pasta dishes rounds out the menu, including lasagna, tortellini, ravioli, sausage burgers, ham and cheese sandwiches, and meatball and Italian beef sandwiches. “We’re a really casual place that’s great for families,” Brown says. “I’ve enjoyed working here because it’s nice to be around family members, and we’ve enjoyed being able to have the restaurant survive so many years.” – Jessica Mozo Illinois Farm Bureau

COUNTRY ® WISDOM about the author Lorraine Zenge, ChFC, is a senior advanced planner for COUNTRY Financial. Visit COUNTRY on the web at

Gifts From the Heart Follow this guide to giving charitable donations Almost all of us make gifts from the heart – charitable 20 percent of your adjusted gross income for appreciated capital gain assets, such as stock or real property. donations. Generosity and benefitting a church or charity serve as primary motivations Keep Good Records for making charitable You must be able to Generosity serves as the primary donations of property or substantiate your gift to deduct money. However, you can motivation for making charitable it. The record of your gift should also receive potential federal donations of property or money. include the name of the charity, income tax savings by the date of the contribution and However, you can also receive making such gifts. the amount of the contribution. potential federal income Most charitable giving, Keep your bank or credit card tax savings. such as donations by check statements if your gift was made to your church or alma mater, using your debit or credit card. is straightforward and easy to document for your tax Many charities and churches will provide donors with records. However, some types of giving are a little more written acknowledgement of their gifts. Sometimes these complex, and you may need more information about the letters come in January in preparation for tax-filing time. gift’s tax consequences before you complete your donation. Keep all letters for your records. IRS Publication 526 on Charitable Contributions provides a wealth of information. Consider Creative Ways to Give COUNTRY Financial does not give tax or legal advice. You don’t need to make all of your gifts in cash. You You should consult your tax adviser when planning and can also donate gently used clothing and other useful household items to certain charities that have a need for making your gifts from the heart. these items. Just make sure you get a receipt for each item Three Conditions for Deductibility for your records. Also, you must attach IRS Form 8283 if In order for your gift to be tax deductible, you must meet your total noncash contributions exceed $500. some basic requirements. First, the donation must be made You may also donate real property, stocks, bonds and to a charity that has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization other types of investments, as well as life insurance policies status or a religious organization. Most charities have on your own life. However, some of these types of property information on their websites indicating whether they may have a capital gain or loss, so you should consult your have tax-exempt status, or you can simply ask them. tax adviser prior to making such a gift. Second, the donation must actually be a completed gift Also, seniors over age 70 ½ have the opportunity to of property or cash. A pledge to pay is not a completed direct a tax-free distribution up to $100,000 from their gift and, therefore, not tax-deductible. individual retirement accounts to a public charity Finally, you must be able to itemize your deductions through the end of 2013. in order to deduct charitable contributions. Generally, For high net-worth individuals, more complex ways to the deduction limitations are 50 percent of your adjusted give include qualified conservation easements, split interest trusts and charitable gift annuities. These techniques gross income for cash contributions; 30 percent of your require detailed planning with an attorney or accountant. adjusted gross income for property contributions; and

Summer 2013


watch us grow

Farm and Family First Spangler children learn life lessons growing up in agriculture story byJoanie photography

Stiers byJeff Adkins

The Spangler kids strap into big trucks for family time during harvest afternoons. It’s a stellar after-school hangout by kid standards.


Illinois Farm Bureau

Happenings 2013 Field Moms The Illinois Farm Families’ field mom program is now in its second year. The first year, nine Chicago moms participated in the program. John and Holly Spangler say raising a family on their Marietta farm teaches lessons on responsibility and work ethic to their children, Nathan, Caroline and Jenna.

They play with barn cats and climb hay bales. They scoop the cattle barn and paint fence posts. And their farm family takes vacations, too, although they avoid weeks when they need to plant, spray, harvest or tend to calves. “The kids have learned that at certain times of year, certain things happen,” says their father, John Spangler. “There are times when the farm has to come first.” Farm life sets the Spangler family apart from nearly 99 percent of Americans. But the Spanglers’ commitment to family resonates. Including the kids, three generations of Spanglers collectively invest time in their family, their business and the lifestyle their farm provides. John and his wife, Holly, farm with his parents, Bruce and Sharon, who live across the field. The Spangler kids, Jenna, 10, Nathan, 8, and Caroline, 5, enjoy that proximity and the farm’s open space. Together, the family grows about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans in Western Illinois. They also care for a 120-head cow-calf herd. Certainly the animals – cows, barn cats and farm dog Mandy – bring the greatest joy to the kids. The girls also love nature. Their son investigates how machines work, whether tractors or four-wheelers.

Summer 2013

And in all of it, the kids learn lessons about responsibility, work ethic, life cycles, accomplishment and defeat. “They’re learning there is a purpose to what we do, and there is a purpose particularly in livestock production,” Holly Spangler says. “We raise animals and we care for them and want to provide them with the best life we can while they’re here. But they realize we’re raising them for a purpose – for food for us and others.” Holly Spangler’s farm life, farm upbringing and writing talent fuel a successful career in farm journalism. The award-winning writer and blogger works as a part-time associate editor for Prairie Farmer, the nation’s oldest farm magazine. She works out of a home office and often writes while the kids sleep or attend school. She focuses on family and farm priorities to balance her life. Spangler knew when she got married she might need to drop her to-do list to haul corn or help with a calf ’s birth. “It’s way more than a job,” Spangler says. “A lot of us who are either raised on a farm or are farming now feel that sort of devotion to what we do.”

In 2013, 23 Chicago moms will be visiting six different farms. The first tour took place earlier this year when the moms visited John and Steve Ward’s hog farm in Sycamore. Upcoming tours include a planting tour, a visit to a specialty grower’s farm, a dairy farm and a harvest tour. The moms will finish off their year with a tour of their choosing in November. To meet the new field moms, visit Also, follow the moms as they share their insights through blogs (located on the website) they submit after every tour.

Follow Holly’s Blog Holly Spangler participates as a farm mom for Illinois Farm Families. She shares the truth about farm life and answers consumer questions about growing and raising food. Read her blog at

Illinois farm Families We are Illinois farmers who support Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Beef Association and Illinois Farm Bureau through farmer membership and checkoff programs. We are committed to having conversations with consumers, answering their questions and sharing what really happens on today’s Illinois family farms. More than 94 percent of Illinois farms are family owned and operated. We are passionate about showing consumers how we grow safe, healthy food for their families and ours.



Illinois Farm Bureau

Wheels of

Fortune Eli Bridge in Jacksonville carries on tradition of manufacturing fun in the form of amusement park rides story byCeleste

Huttes |

photography byJeff


In 1893, 1.5 million people rode the very first Ferris wheel when it debuted at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. And for one young man, the magnificent creation of George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. would prove to be a wheel of fortune. “William E. Sullivan was so intrigued by the original Ferris wheel that he decided to make his own company to build and sell a portable version of it,” says Tim Noland, general manager of Eli Bridge Co., the business Sullivan founded in 1900 to bring his dream to life. Sullivan, who came from a family of bridge builders, strategically chose the company name to def lect the skeptics. “He was under a lot of scrutiny, so he

left ‘bridge’ in the name – that way, he could still build bridges if need be,” says Noland. As it turns out, the company has built just one bridge in the century-plus since its establishment. In 1909, Eli Bridge was lured from Roodhouse to become the pride of Jacksonville, where it continues to build Ferris wheels – trademarked as Big Eli – in the same building today.

A 65-foot Eli Bridge wheel, known as the Big Eli, dominates the Scheels sporting goods store in Springfield. William E. Sullivan founded the amusement park ride manufacturer in 1900 and modeled the Big Eli after the first Ferris wheel, which he saw in Chicago seven years prior.

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“There’s so much history here,” says Noland. “It’s always interesting, and it’s fun when you can come to work and ride a ride at 8 o’clock in the morning.” (Strictly for testing purposes, of course.) As CEO, Patty Sullivan enjoys the view from the top of the Illinois company founded by her greatgrandfather. Today, the business employs 18 and also builds other rides, including the popular Scrambler. None, however, surpasses the popularity of that sky-high carnival classic. Prices range from $250,000 to $500,000 each, and the Big Eli can be found all over the world, from Australia to Africa and Dollywood to Hollywood, where they have become a popular prop. “I see our wheels in movies all the time,” Noland says. “When you think of a carnival, you think of a Ferris wheel.” Perhaps that’s because the Big Eli 22

wheel has changed little since it was invented. “People like that nostalgic look, so we haven’t really changed the design on our ground models,” says Noland. Those original portable ground models were moved by oxcart from one carnival to the next. As technology advanced, Eli Bridge developed a sweat-saving, trailer-mounted model that folds down on itself. In 2009, Eli Bridge branched out beyond the amusement industry with the creation of A-1 Metal Fabricating Co. “We’re known as an amusement ride manufacturer, but we’re also a custom fabrication shop,” says Noland. “If customers come to us with an idea, we can sketch it out and build it.” Operating as A-1, workers repair and upgrade farm and heavy equipment, restore antique tractors and create decorative pieces, such as an archway they recently made for

downtown Jacksonville. “We have very talented employees and shop capabilities to do about anything,” Noland says. “Our guys in the welding shop say they can fix anything but a broken heart.” Maybe so. But it seems the Ferris wheels they make actually invite romance. In fact, this past Valentine’s Day (which falls on the same day as the lesser-known National Ferris Wheel Day), 16 couples were married on a Big Eli wheel in the Scheels sporting goods store in Sandy, Utah. “That made us feel good,” Noland says. “How cool that something we made has become such a big part of these peoples’ lives.” Of 24 Scheels stores in 10 states, five feature Big Eli Ferris wheels as part of a unique retail strategy. “We’re more of an experiencebased retailer,” says Amy Beadle, event coordinator for the Scheels store in Illinois Farm Bureau

Riding High Does the Illinois connection of Eli Bridge inspire you to seek out a nearby midway? You can find some of the company’s rides at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, which takes place Aug. 8-18. The 2013 theme, Where Illinois Comes Together, celebrates the 160-year-old fair’s status as a celebration of the state’s people, culture and agricultural heritage, according to Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Bob Flider.

Springfield. There, a 65-foot Big Eli sits under a glass ceiling, offering customers a bird’s-eye view of the 200,000-square-foot store and the surrounding area in the state capital. “The Ferris wheel is very popular with adults and kids alike,” Beadle says. “People who are in for training from stores without one will ask, ‘Are we going to get to ride the Ferris wheel?’ It can be used as an incentive.” Always enticing, Eli Bridge creations offer a brilliant blend of flash and substance. And it all starts with safety. “Patty (Sullivan) is very involved in safety committees and boards that develop standards – not just for our

rides, but for all rides,” Noland says. “We want to keep the industry strong.” That heavy-duty commitment to safety leads to some longlasting products. “We have wheels that are 100 years old that run 365 days a year,” he adds. “Our rides are built to last.” And so do the memories that are made on those rides, which have become a beloved American tradition. “When grandparents take their grandchildren to the fair, they remember the Ferris wheel from their own childhood – maybe they had their first kiss there,” says Noland. He sums up the business of amusement simply: “What we do makes people happy.”

Other fairs with Eli Bridge rides include the Sangamon County Fair in New Berlin (June 19-23), the Western Illinois Fair in Griggsville (June 26-30), the Schuyler County Fair in Rushville (July 2-7), the Adams County Fair in Mendon (July 24-30) and the DuQuoin State Fair (Aug. 23-Sept. 2). Knight’s Action Park in Springfield, Cedar Point in Ohio and numerous Six Flags amusement parks also have Scramblers, Big Eli wheels and other rides made in Jacksonville. In fact, you can spot Eli Bridge rides in all 50 states, not to mention in countries around the globe.

More About Eli Bridge For more information on Eli Bridge or A-1 Metal Fabricating, call (800) 274-0211 or visit Find the Scheels store with the Big Eli wheel (pictured on page 20) at 3801 S. MacArthur Blvd. in Springfield.

Clockwise from far left: The original Ferris wheel built by Eli Bridge Co. stands outside the company’s headquarters in Jacksonville; not only does Eli Bridge handle customized welding jobs for its rides, but its employees also repair and upgrade farm equipment through its custom fabrication shop, A-1 Metal Fabricating; Kyle Scott works to fix a Big Eli wheel that was damaged while driving under a bridge; the company stores seats from its rides.

Summer 2013



Healthy Breakfast Smoothie


Illinois Farm Bureau

Milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products star in summer recipes story


recipes byCharlyn

Fargo Carter byJeffrey S. Otto

food styling byMary photography

Jim Anderson milked 72 head of dairy cows in Northwestern Illinois for more than 20 years, learning the business from his father. He gave it up when interest rates starting climbing in the 1980s. And while he doesn’t miss the discipline of milking at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, he certainly hasn’t lost his love for dairy products. “A gallon of milk does not last long at our house,” says Anderson, who lives in Pecatonica in Winnebago County. “A good tall glass of cold milk – that’s a treat for me.” His wife, Marilyn, often prepares a favorite family recipe of Swedish rice – rice with milk and cinnamon – for dessert. Like Anderson, many farmers have left the business for other pursuits. Anderson worked for a dairy processor when he left the farm. Illinois still has 810 dairy farms and 36 plants that process one or more dairy products. The dairy cows on those farms produce 223 million gallons of milk annually and generate $394 million in milk sales. What’s more, the milk travels from the farm to a nearby grocery store within just 48 hours. Dairy’s nine essential nutrients help build strong bones and teeth, help control blood pressure and aid in maintaining a healthy weight. The nutrients include calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and niacin. Protein stimulates muscle growth, calcium and vitamin D strengthen bones

Summer 2013

and reduce stress fracture risks, vitamin B12 provides energy, and potassium and magnesium replace electrolytes lost in sweat. The following recipes make those nutrients not only taste good but add a boost to any meal. The first, a fruit smoothie, makes a quick on-the-go healthy breakfast. I recommend Greek yogurt over traditional yogurt because it contains double the protein. I also use yogurt in an easy veggie dip. In fact, you can substitute plain yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise in almost any dip or dressing recipe for added nutrition and less fat, calories, and cholesterol. My recipe for baked zucchini mostaccioli works well for those summer evenings when a healthy dinner has to happen in a hurry. This twist on the typical pasta bake provides extra nutrition from zucchini and ricotta cheese. Prepare it in the morning, and then pop it in the oven while you set the table and make a salad. My friend, Nancy, makes a terrific ice cream pie for the summer. Her recipe uses a modified cake mix as the base and calls for any flavor of ice cream you want. I guarantee you won’t have any left at the end of the day.

Did You Know? • The calcium found in 1 cup of milk equals the amount in 3 cups of broccoli. • An 8-ounce serving of low-fat, plain yogurt contains 490 milligrams of potassium – about the same as a banana. • One ounce of hard cheese contains 8 grams of protein. Find additional dairy fun facts, a video that explains robotic milking and more dairy recipes at

about the author 4-H helped Charlyn Fargo get her start in food. Her love for the culinary arts helped her land a job as food editor of the State JournalRegister, a daily paper in Springfield, and eventually a master’s degree in nutrition. Now a registered dietitian, she teaches nutrition and baking at Lincoln Land Community College and consults as a dietitian.


Nancy’s Ice Cream Pie 1 box (18.25 ounces) chocolate cake mix cup (half of an 8-ounce container) dark chocolate fudge frosting cup water cup oil gallon ice cream of your choice (such as chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip or vanilla) 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch

(or 8-inch deep dish) pie plates well, including sides and rim. Set aside. 2. Combine the chocolate cake mix, a half can of

frosting (you can use the remainder for another two pies or another use), water and oil. Blend well using a mixer. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pie plates. (It won’t look like a pie crust at this point.) 3. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, press the

mixture into the bottom of the pie plate and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool. 4. Divide the ice cream between the two pie tins, and

smooth into a pie shape. Wrap well in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze until firm, for at least 2 hours. Makes 2 pies.


Illinois Farm Bureau

Baked Zucchini Mostaccioli 8 ounces mostaccioli noodles 3

cups (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (use low-sodium variety, if possible)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes 1 teaspoon sugar 1 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 cup) 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided cup plus 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese 1 egg, lightly beaten salt and pepper to taste 2 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped 1. Cook the pasta according to package directions;

drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, Italian

seasoning, dried onions and sugar. Heat for 3 minutes in a microwave to blend flavors. 3. In another bowl, mix together the zucchini,

ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella, ½ cup Parmesan and the egg. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Coat a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with cooking

spray, and spread half of tomato sauce mixture on the bottom. Layer the mostaccioli, ricotta mixture and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is brown and the sauce is bubbling – about 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle fresh basil leaves over the top. Makes 6 servings.

Easy Yogurt Veggie Dip 2 cups low-fat plain yogurt 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained cup minced onion cup Parmesan cheese cup red or green bell pepper, diced 1 envelope (about 1 ounce) dry vegetable soup mix assorted raw vegetables for dipping

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the raw veggies. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve as a dip. Makes 3 servings.

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie 1 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt 1 cup blueberries, strawberries or raspberries 1 medium banana, cut into chunks cup orange juice 2 cups ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses. TIP: Add 1 tablespoon of honey for a sweeter smoothie.

Milk can be substituted for the yogurt, if preferred. Makes 2 servings.

Summer 2013


Marvelous Moon Gardens Learn which Illinois plants show up for the night shift

If you spend time outside after dark, plant a moon garden – an area dedicated to plants that attract your attention while the rest of the garden sinks into darkness. Moon garden plants reflect moonlight and subdued artificial light. They arrive for work at dusk and happily reflect light into the night. about the author Jan Phipps is a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. She farms, gardens, writes and podcasts near Chrisman.


Plants visible at night have white flowers or silver foliage, and you can choose from a surprising number of them. Some moon garden flowers only open at night in order to attract pollinating moths that come out after dark. These flowers draw in the moths by emitting a strong scent – yet another benefit of moon gardens. To start your moon garden, choose any plant with a white bloom that either opens at

night or blooms during the day and overnight. First, add Ipomoea alba, which has the fitting common name of moon flower. This vine, a large version of morning glory, has huge, 6-inch blooms and heart-shaped leaves. It prefers full sun during the day and blooms annually in Illinois. Prior to planting, soak the seeds for 24 hours to soften the seed coat and speed up germination. Angel’s trumpet (Datura) and Brugmansia, Illinois Farm Bureau

Ask an expert


When can I remove the flower stalks from my hostas?

White azaleas

A two more annual white bloomers, have trumpet-shaped flowers that face up and out (angel’s trumpet) or down (Brugmansia). They can also be moved inside and overwintered as a houseplant, but keep these poisonous plants away from children and pets. Do you want some fragrance in your moon garden? Try sweet autumn clematis (a daytime pollinator magnet), night-blooming jasmine or flowering tobacco (Nicotiana). Many common annuals have white varieties, including petunias, snapdragons, cleomes, cosmos, gladiolas and impatiens. The first four need sun, while the latter two prefer shade. If you’re looking for perennials with whiteblooming varieties, roses and conef lowers immediately come to mind. Don’t forget about

Summer 2013

Shasta daisies. I recommend the variety Becky for nonstop blooms from mid-summer to frost. Some deciduous shrubs, such as azaleas, also come in white varieties. When plant shopping, check the tag to ensure you buy a white variety. Look for the words “alba” or “leucan” in the Latin name. White flowers serve as only one aspect of moon gardens. Silver-foliaged plants, including Lamb’s Ear, Artemesia Powis Castle and Dusty Miller, also catch the moonlight. Plants with white and green variegated leaves also work. If a two-toned garden seems too monotonous during the day, throw in some blue or red plants for contrast. You won’t notice them at night, but they will really pop during the day.

Anytime you want. I wait until they’ve finished blooming because pollinators like them, but if you grow hostas just for the foliage, cut them off as they appear.


Why did all my evergreens survive last summer’s drought except the arborvitae?


Arborvitae have very shallow roots. Without supplemental water, they are the first to die. Email your gardening questions to Jan at


This listing includes a few events from around the state to add to your calendar. Dates were accurate at press time but are subject to change. Please check with the contact listed before traveling long distances to attend. Additional information is online through the Illinois Bureau of Tourism’s website, Feel free to send event suggestions to

JUNE All That Jazz June 2, Kankakee Kankakee’s annual Strawberry Jazz Festival welcomes visitors for all types of arts and crafts, foods, jazz music and, of course, an abundance of strawberry treats. The early summer celebration takes place on the campus of the Kankakee County Museum. In addition to the county museum, guests can learn about Illinois history,


too, at the Gov. Len Small House and one-room school, which will be open for tours during the festival. The Strawberry Jazz Festival takes place June 2 in Kankakee. For more information, visit or call (815) 932-5279.

Have a Blast June 8, Mt. Vernon Head to South Sandusky Beach at Rend Lake in Southern Illinois for the family-friendly Rend Lake Beach Blast.

Guests can soak up the sun while participating in fun beach games and exhibits on water safety. The free event begins at noon June 8. For more information, call (618) 724-2493.

A Festival Full of Hot Air June 14-16, Galena Be a part of the action as hot-air balloons fill the skies at the annual Great Galena Balloon Race. This spectacular three-day event in Northwestern Illinois features more than 20 hot-air balloons, two races, two night glows, tethered rides, live music and more, all benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Other events held in conjunction with the balloon race include Alefest on Friday night and a car show on Saturday. Illinois Farm Bureau

Peachy Keen Aug. 2-3, Cobden August is National Peach Month. Celebrate this juicy summer staple in Southern Illinois at the annual Cobden Peach Festival. Sponsored by the Cobden Lions Club, this family-friendly event features carnival rides and games, a Peach Queen contest, a 5K run/walk, lots of delicious homemade food, including, of course, peach cobbler. Visitors also can catch a parade on Saturday at this free event.

See MOre Online Visit or call (618) 893-2425 to find out more about the festival.

The North Course Practice Range at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa in Galena hosts the events beginning June 14. For more information, visit



Threshing Time

On the Right Track

Celebrating the American Legion

Threshing is the process of separating the grain from a harvested plant. Each year, the Thresherman’s Association in Altamont holds an annual steam, gas and threshing show to teach people about this farming method that uses oldfashioned machinery. Held at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Central Illinois, this unique small town event features an FFA petting zoo, lawn mower races, a model railroading show, a bluegrass show, draft horse pull and much more. For more information, visit or call (217) 821-1426.

June 22-23, Galesburg All aboard for Galesburg Railroad Days! The presence of exceptional rail facilities in this Western Illinois town has greatly influenced its development as a commercial and industrial center for the state. The 36th annual event honors the city’s railroad heritage with a carnival, exhibits, a street fair, railroad tours, hobby train show and more. Enjoy more than 40 events, mostly free, at this two-day celebration. Visit or call (309) 343-2485 to learn more.

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July 26-28, Altamont

Aug. 6-7, Lake Forest For more than 90 years, Lake Forest American Legion Post 264 has presented Lake Forest Days in the community located about 30 minutes north of Chicago. The festival opens on Tuesday from 6 to 11 p.m for family night, and the annual summer event officially kicks off with a parade on Wednesday morning, followed by a carnival in West Park. Guests can enjoy rides and games, along with fair food such as hot dogs and roasted corn. A raffle also gives festivalgoers the chance to win cash prizes. To learn more, visit or call (847) 234-9870 or (224) 715-3924.


A statue of Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, stands outside Wrigley Field in Chicago. Staff Photo

Summer 2013


Summer 2013 ILFB Partners  

ILFB Partners highlights what’s good about Illinois – from the best travel destinations and recipes to articles about important agricultural...

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