Starved Rock Country Magazine - Fall 2023

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Motorcyclists are drawn to the region's rural highways


The Hocus Pocus Hags dance into the limelight in October


See sunsets and nature along the Illinois River aboard the Sainte Genevieve Riverboat


MAGAZINE FALL 2023 Additional copies at 248 W. Canal St., Utica 61373 Autumn
of the
Activities, attractions
2 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country • August Hill Winery • Illinois Sparkling Co. • Cajun Connection • Fine Field Pottery • Hegeler Carus Mansion • LaSalle Canal Boat • Ottawa Visitors Center • Tangled Roots Brewing Co. • Starved Rock Lodge Featuring gifts of all kinds from across Illinois, including local favorites Like us on Facebook: @StarvedRockCountryWelcomeCenter STARVED ROCK COUNTRY WELCOME CENTER An Illinois Made Gift Shoppe Located at 248 W. Canal Street in Utica Open Daily - Noon to 6:00pm
Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 3 starved_rock_hotel-2 Significant Views at Starved Rock Lodge The Only Hotel Located in Right Here Starved Rock State Park The backdrop for your memories (815) 667-4211 SM-LA2093127

State parks such as Starved Rock and Matthiessen are popular destinations for viewing fall foliage Read about more fall-favorite activities and locations on p 24




Beekeeper Warren Norris shares his path to honey farming, the benefits of buying local honey and his role in saving the bees



Scenic routes and lively destinations attract motorcyclists to Starved Rock Country


Hot air balloon rides are the main event at this year's annual Bureau County celebration


5 destinations and events to experience the season to its fullest


After an adventurous beginning, Ottawa's paddle-wheeler is open for scenic weekend tours of the Illinois River



Two fountains in Princeton and Ottawa have an animal-friendly origin; now they've been repurposed for the modern day



Kari Matuszewski puts an abstract touch on family portraits and finds inspiration in quirky people


The Hocus Pocus Hags are a local dance troupe sensation –they're bringing their brooms and moves to events in October



Millstone Bakery is beloved for its artisan breads and desirable pastries

4 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
Photo by Tom Sistak
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Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 5
Ñ O D E L G A L L O Y E A R O F T H E R O O S T E R T E Q U I L A | M E Z C A L | C E R V E Z A S C R A F T C O C K T A I L S | F R E S H I N G R E D I E N T S | C H E F D R I V E N R I G H T N E X T T O S T A R V E D R O C K O N T H E C O R N E R O F R T . 7 1 A N D 1 7 8 I N U T I C A F O L L O W U S O N F A C E B O O K F O R S P E C I A L S W W W . A N O D E L G A L L O . C O M

rowing up, fall was indisputably my favorite season.

This was due, in large part, to Halloween. By the time mid-August rolled around, I was already itching for autumn and wearing out my family’s VHS cassette of Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.”

Year after year, my costume was predictable. Mom’s annual question of, “What do you want to be for Halloween?” morphed into “Do you want to be a witch again?” I spent most childhood Halloweens in a pointy hat and tattered skirt, clutching a bristly black broom.

My dress-up days have dwindled over the decades, although I still attend the occasional Witch’s Night Out in a black dress and classic hat. Witch and ghoulthemed events for adults have expanded across Starved Rock Country in recent years – pick a weekend in October, and chances are you can find one (p. 42).

None of my witch costumes, however, hold a candle to the ones worn by the Hocus Pocus Hags (p. 38). In this issue of Starved Rock Country Magazine, I sat down with three of the founding members of the fan-favorite troupe known for performing German witch dances in elaborate makeup and wardrobes. In the six seasons they’ve danced at festivals and fall events, the witches (and occasional warlock) have ingrained themselves as part of the fall experience in Starved Rock Country.

There are plenty more experiences to be had this season. Visitors and locals can mark their calendars for multi-day celebrations, such as the Bureau County Homestead Festival (p. 17), the Grundy County Corn Festival and the La Salle County Historical Society’s Burgoo Festival, among others (p. 18). There also are quintessential fall activities, such as corn mazes, visits to orchards and pumpkin patches, fall color hikes and frights at haunted houses (p. 24).

One aspect I appreciate about fall is the lingering warmth of daytime temperatures. That leaves a window of opportunity for sunny outdoor excursions, such as a cruise on the Sainte Genevieve Riverboat (p. 28). The paddle-wheeler, which is based in Ottawa, embarks on leisurely two-hour tours of the Illinois River. This is an especially beautiful time of year to ride past the foliage of the river’s tree-covered islands and to birdwatch during fall migration.

Warm fall days also are a good time to explore the region’s blacktop by motorcycle. Starved Rock Country is home to multiple scenic highways as well as dining, drinking and retail destinations that are popular among motorcyclists (p. 12).

Although the region is named for the canyon-riddled Starved Rock State Park, the vast acreage of the area is farmland. As a reminder to all motorists who travel our rural roads, watch for slow-moving farm equipment during harvest season (typically mid-September through early November).

Whether you arrive by road, by water or by witch’s broom, we’re happy to share the season with you. Welcome to autumn in Starved Rock Country.

Starved Rock Country Magazine is published quarterly or seasonally four times per year

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Vol� 11 No� 3

Fall 2023 Edition



Jeanette Smith


Julie Barichello


Rhonda Dillon


Julie Barichello

Ali Braboy

Stephanie Jaquins

Brandon LaChance

Ryan Searl

Charles Stanley


Scott Anderson

Katy Arnold

Julie Barichello

Tom Sistak

Charles Stanley

6 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 7 The Village of North Utica • PO BOX 188 • Utica, IL 61373 • 815-667-4111
EXPLORE NORTH UTICA Come enjoy all our delicious dining options from North to South including Al Fresco dining and drinking on Mill Street. From gourmet treats, wines and unique spices to antiques and specialty gifts. We have it all. Come for a day or the weekend. – ILLINOIS –LaSalle County Historical Society CANAL MARKET 2023 SCHEDULE Every Saturday & Sunday June - September 10am to 4pm Handmade • Homemade • Homegrown • Vintage SM-LA2093123
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KEEPER’S Secrets The


Warren Norris keeps his hives of bees in a few different locations, but the ones he keeps in his front yard yield the best tasting honey.

“That’s my best honey of all my honeys, because that whole timber is lined with wild black raspberries,” said Norris, who has about a dozen hives. “It’s got such a smooth flavor to it and

a little different taste than most of the other ones. I think that’s some of the best honey I’ve ever had.”

Norris, of La Salle, started beekeeping in 2009 after watching a documentary about the plight of the honeybees.

“That was back in the time the [colony collapse disorder] was happening and wiping out bees worldwide,” he said, adding he recalled

8 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
| Made In SRC |

a segment about crops being pollinated by hand in China due to a decline in bees.

His wife, Jackie, had allergies, and they were hopeful local honey would help treat them. Norris had a coworker, Steve Butler, who was interested in starting the hobby with him.

They consumed all the research they could find online and in books. If Norris was traveling and saw someone with hives in their yard, he would stop and chat.

“Beekeepers are some of the friendliest people in the world, I think,” he said. “I’d talk to them, get ideas. They could point you in the right way of doing things.

“There’s an old adage I get tired of hearing anymore. It’s that if you ask 10 beekeepers a question you get 11 different answers. Every beekeeper has their own way of doing things.”

Norris found a mentor to guide him in beekeeping, which he credits as a helpful step. He also learned the old-fashioned way: through trial and from mistakes.

He averages about three hours a week caring for the bees. He learned to check for overcrowding to lessen the possibility of the colony leaving and to leave enough honey to sustain the bees over the winter months. He also got the hang of checking for pest infestations, such as mites or beetles.

Each hive is kept in a nuc box with several layers of frames. The queen bee can be identified by her length. She’s longer than other colony members with about a 1.5-inch thorax. The worker bees are females; the drone bees mate with the queen and are kicked out in the winter because, as Norris said, they don’t do anything. The queen bee lays 1,500 to 3,000 eggs a day in the summer.

Norris averages 500 to 700 pounds of honey a year. In addition to friends and family to whom he sells, his honey also is sold at Donnie Appleseed Orchard in rural La Salle.

The orchard, owned by Don Wenzel, is typically open July 1

through Oct. 31, although this year he and his wife, Wendy, opened a little later due to drought conditions. They sell produce, such as sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, beets, cantaloupe, watermelon, green beans, onions, garlic and apples.

He and Wendy grew up on farms and began selling produce after his retirement.

They started at farmers markets before selling from a stand on their property. Many locals who knew them from farmers markets now visit them at their stand, and they also get many out-of-town visitors in the area for Starved Rock State Park.

When people buy Norris’ honey, most of the time Wenzel is told it’s to treat allergies.

“Some people do buy it just for a spoonful of honey in their coffee in the morning or maybe just throw it on some toast, but the overwhelming majority of the folks are interested in the allergy side of it.”

Norris said even though it’s not medically proven, he believes honey has helped many people with allergies. Local honey, which is considered to be within 30 to 50 miles from where you live, has local pollen to potentially help build immunity.

“It builds up immunity from local foliage in your area, whether that’s dandelions, golden rod, corn, whatever is in the air,” he said.

Honey has allowed Norris’ wife to discontinue allergy shots, he said. He also takes a spoonful a day with cinnamon for the anti-inflammatory properties.

Norris sells honey to Rawfully Yours, a juice bar and cafe in La Salle, as an ingredient for the cafe’s popular elderberry syrup sold in the fall and winter to help prevent or ease cold and flu symptoms. He has sold beeswax to blacksmiths and recently used honey on his skin for a mild burn. He said some burn patients were treated with honey in the 1930s.

“They’d cover the burn with honey, which shuts off the

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 9
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Want a flavor of Starved Rock Country? Buyers can find honey produced at local hives through the Illinois Valley Beekeepers Association. For information, visit local-honey-for-sale

oxygen to it so you don’t get an infection, and the antimicrobial and antibacterial in the honey helps to heal it,” he said.

He always recommends people research uses for honey – they’ll find honey can be used as a home remedy for bad breath, indigestion, stings, cuts and other ailments.

Norris keeps a hive at Wenzel’s orchard, which Wenzel said is a huge benefit in regard to pollination of the different produce. The Wenzels sell about six varieties of apples and have about 200 apple trees on their property.

“The premiere pollinator is the honeybee. There’s absolutely no question about it,” Wenzel said. “In fact, when the blossoms are out you can stand under the tree and just listen, and it sounds like there’s a hum. That’s how many bees are in the tree.”

Norris is a founding member of the Illinois Valley Beekeepers Association. The group offers its members a chance to connect over their shared passion, but it

also allows members to spread awareness.

“The biggest thing is we got the word out to save the honeybees,” Norris said.

Illinois Valley Beekeepers Association members want the public to know if a homeowner spots a hive in their yard, they can take steps to have it removed without harming the bees.

Norris recommends calling a local University of Illinois Extension office and asking for a local beekeeper’s contact information. He has removed hives from branches, fire hydrants, mailboxes and other places.

“We’re saving the bees that way,” he said. “We’re creating more and more pollinators.”

10 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
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the | Must See |
Highway Call The Of

Scenic routes and lively destinations are a draw for motorcyclists

Twisty roads. Scenic drives. Minimal traffic. That combination offers exhilarating expeditions for motorcyclists in Starved Rock Country.

For about seven months each year, the region is popular among motorized adventure seekers. Roads wind through wide open farmland and wooded areas that offer an array of colors throughout the seasons, and there are breathtaking routes along rivers, including the Illinois, Fox and Vermilion rivers. The destination is ideal for a day of riding in the wind or putting down the kickstand for a weekend stay.

Three main draws for bikers are Starved Rock State Park, the countryside scenery and the opportunity to get away from urban traffic, says Keith Arwood, owner of Stonehead Leather, a motorcycle

apparel and accessories store in Utica.

“You can get out and have a little fun instead of trying to get run over by someone in town,” Arwood said about riding in Starved Rock Country.

Motorcycle outings allow riders to experience nature with adrenalinefueled excitement – it’s a different experience than exploring the region in an enclosed vehicle.

One of the best highways for bikes is Route 71, which curves through Starved Rock State Park. Other scenic roadways include Dee Bennett Road between Ottawa and Utica, U.S. 6, Route 26 and Route 29, which are part of the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway.

Starved Rock Country has drawn motorcyclist interest for years, according to Arwood. Stonehead Leather has been around for 29 years – in that time, Arwood and his wife and co-owner Darsi have noticed more people frequenting their business, particularly since moving to their 2,000-square-foot space where more people can browse for leather jackets and chaps, patches, riding luggage and more. Arwood sees customers come from Chicago, Springfield, Wisconsin

and the Quad Cities, many of whom travel more than 100 miles to explore the roads around Utica.

Mick Pienta, owner of Blue Collar Bikes in Spring Valley, also sees customers from a 100-mile radius. Blue Collar Bikes is a custom motorcycle shop that’s been in business for 20 years and offers service, repairs, customization for bikes, engine upgrades, work on handlebars, wheels, paint and more.

Pienta has noticed a rising population among bikers – he said more women are driving motorcycles now than in the past.

While the rural highways are attractions in and of themselves, a variety of destinations draw bikers to the region. When motorcyclists and other tourists are looking for a good time outdoors with company, food and cold drinks, Psycho Silo Saloon in rural Bureau County provides just that.

The saloon in the unincorporated community of Langley celebrated its ninth summer this year and is a unique multi-level outdoor venue. It started with an abandoned grain elevator that now includes a bar with tables and

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 13
Photos by Tom Sistak, Katy Arnold and Scott Psycho silo saloon

Explore. Relax. Enjoy!

Centrally-located rentals

chairs. The ideas kept taking off from there. The Silo added the top of a grain bin that became a bar. Owner Troy Thompson continues to add other elements to the venue, such as an airplane and bus.

“I guess we tried to create something all the bikers were looking for,” Thompson said. “I would say it’s kind of a party atmosphere instead of a bar.”

The destination is popular for its food, drinks and live music, but it’s also well known for the shirts and other merchandise it sells. Psycho Silo Saloon is known for thousands of miles – people have made connections with the Psycho Silo from other states, such as residents in Sturgis, South Dakota, and even other countries, such as residents of Colombia.

What keeps the motorcycles coming back to the Silo?

“Good people who just want to have a good time,” Thompson said.

EJ Karz Bar and Grill in Verona is another popular destination for bikers seeking views, food and live music.

“We hear that from a lot of people, that it’s a good destination,” said Rae Ann

Pessina, who has owned the rural bar and grill for seven years with her husband Jimmy. The building is situated on six mature acres with an outdoor pavilion and a band stage built on an old truck, so there’s a lot of opportunity to spend time among nature.

“One of the selling points was the big oak trees. It’s really pretty out there,” Pessina said.

The bar and grill has changed owners over the years, but the name and location of EJ Karz has been consistent. Chicago visitors say they’ve known about it for years. The venue is popular with motorcycle riders but is a welcoming venue to all visitors. The location is open year-round and offers sandwiches, dinners, pizzas, wraps and appetizers.

A trip to EJ Karz offers a chance to ride on open rural roads a short distance from Route 47 and less than 15 miles from both Interstate 80 and Interstate 55.

Other popular bars and grills for bikers include Fat Daddy’z along U.S. 6 in Seneca as well as Jamie’s OutPost and its sister souvenir shop, Mix’s Trading Post, in Utica.

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Bikers and other motorists traveling along U.S. 6 through Seneca can look for the dangling motorcycle to find Fat Daddy’z Bar & Grill.
Beautiful, iconic, home to Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park, the I & M Canal, LaSalle County Historical Museum and so much more!
Restaurants, coffee, ice cream, retail, spices, winery, all just steps away!!! Mill Street Rentals - Mill Street Suite Find us on Air bnb and Vrbo when you search North Utica!

September 2023

Harvest season has arrived in Starved Rock Country!

Celebrate fall in farm country with visits to orchards, the Grundy County Corn Festival, corn maze exploration and more.

Share your adventures

on social media with the hashtag #StarvedRockCountry when you visit destinations and attend events in the region.

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Hundreds of classic vehicles pack Streator’s downtown for the annual Dream Machines Car Show and Roamer Cruise Night.

In the fall spirit? Visit Boggio’s Orchard and Produce in Granville for you-pick apples, produce, a bakery and more. The orchard is open seven days a week.

Princeton’s annual Homestead Festival celebrates abolitionist Owen Lovejoy with food and family activities.

Browse the monthly Junk in the Trunk vendor sale in Morris, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 100 Commercial Dr., west of Route 47. Explore a 5-acre corn maze at Kane Family Farms in rural Ottawa. Read more on P. 24.

View the multi-artist exhibition "Into the Woods" at Open Space Art Gallery in Ottawa. The works are on display Sept. 6Sept. 30.

Celebrate the area’s rich agricultural roots with a carnival, farm fair and lots of food at the Grundy County Corn Festival in Morris.

Watch model airplanes soar over the Streator RC Flyers field for the Fall Scramble Warbirds & Classic RC Airshow. Information at

Blues bands, barbecue food and a rib cookoff headline the BBQ-n-Blues festival in La Salle.

Celebrate the medieval era at Marseilles Renaissance Faire.

La Salle welcomes more music, food and drinks with Jazz’N the Street.

Treat yourself to artisan breads and pastries at Millstone Bakery in La Salle. Read more on p. 47.

Follow the winding roads of Starved Rock Country on a motorcycle. While here, check out Psycho Silo Saloon. Read more on p. 13.

Check out Day 1 of Quiet Fest, a two-day roving arts and music festival at venues across the city of La Salle.


Book lovers can shop for reading material and meet authors at the fifth annual Lit Fest in Ottawa.

About 50 breweries, food vendors and music highlight the Morris Beer Festival. Book an afternoon sightseeing cruise down the Illinois River or a sunset cruise on the Sainte Genevieve Riverboat. Read more on p. 28.

Downtown Ottawa turns into a gallery of scarecrows during the annual Scarecrow Festival, which includes family activities and vendors.

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TAKE FLIGHT with the Homestead Festival

Ever dreamed of a hot air balloon ride?

Here’s your chance

new attraction at this year’s Bureau County Homestead Festival will allow festivalgoers to take to the sky – while still grounded.

Tethered hot air balloon rides will be part of this year’s celebration, which runs Friday, Sept. 8, through Sunday, Sept. 10, in Princeton.

“We were trying to do something different that is family friendly for everyone. Anyone can ride because they’re tethered balloons, so they just go up and down,” said Rachel Skaggs, a homestead manager on the volunteer-led Homestead Festival Committee. “They’re wheelchair accessible. It’s open to anyone. [We were] trying to find something unique and family friendly that you can’t find every day.”

Tethered hot air balloon rides offer the experience of a regular hot air balloon while safely secured to the ground so the aerostat does not float freely into the sky. The baskets are fitted with a clear door so people in wheelchairs and children can enjoy an unobstructed view.

In addition to the tethered balloon rides, the festival will host a two-night balloon glow after sunset. Eight hot air balloons will light up the sky as they are inflated to float stationary above the ground from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Zearing Park. Those who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to watch the balloons lit from within as they float like giant Chinese lanterns in the night sky.

Book a ride on a hot air balloon

Tickets for rides are sold in two-hour time slots. Guests can arrive any time during their designated two-hour window; flyers will be taken on rides in the order they show up until the end of the allotted time.

A ticket is required for each rider, with 180 tickets available per time slot. Rides last about 10 to 15 minutes. Rides are available during two time slots on Friday and Saturday: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets, which are nonrefundable, cost $15 a person and can be bought in advance at hot_air_ballons. A limited number of tickets will be available on the day of the event.

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 17

More Festivals


Friday, Sept. 8-Saturday, Sept. 9 • Downtown La Salle

Food, music and drinks headline these back-to-back street festivals in downtown La Salle. BBQ-N-Blues guests can listen to live blues performances while dining on barbecue from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday. Come back to listen to live jazz and enjoy a variety of food vendors at Jazz’N the Street from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday.


Saturday, Sept.9 • 655 Commercial St., Marseilles

The Marseilles Renaissance Faire is a free medieval-themed festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Guthrie Park in Marseilles. Visitors are welcome to dress for the era. Live entertainment and activities include a stilt walker, court jester/balloon artist, a pirate, The Wonder Elixir of Life Show, the Renaissance re-enactment group Gryphon Poursuivant, basket making, tarot readings, wizard class, games, crafters selling wares and more. Turkey legs, pioneer stew and lemon shakeups are included among the smorgasbord of food options.


Saturday, Sept. 16 • City Park, Streator

Pluto Fest celebrates the dwarf planet and its founder, Streator native Clyde Tombaugh. The event, hosted by Hardscrabble Lions Club, includes a homebrew beer tasting, live music, children’s activities, souvenir sales and a special interest booth with Scott Pellican, a NASA Solar System Ambassador. Pluto Fest coincides with the Walldog Food Truck Festival, in which a variety of food vendors sell meals and treats. Both festivals begin at 11 a.m.


Saturday, Sept. 16 • Washington Square, Ottawa

Celebrate literature with Prairie Fox Books’ annual Lit Fest, where visitors can meet authors and illustrators, listen to live readings and shop for both new and used books in the open air. The event will include hands-on activities, story time, live music, food trucks, an Edible Book Art Competition and workshops.


Wednesday, Sept. 27-Sunday, Oct. 1 • Morris Grundy County Corn Festival embraces the region’s identity as farm country. Each harvest season, the five-day event returns to Morris with a farm fair, craft shows, carnival, parade, music and an enormous food selection. For a full lineup of events, visit


Saturday, Oct. 7-Sunday, Oct. 8 • Downtown Utica Autumn in Utica isn’t complete without enormous cast-iron cauldrons stirred with oar-sized wooden paddles throughout the night over an open fire. The 53rd annual Burgoo Festival, hosted by the La Salle County Historical Society, is a hub for artists, artisans and antiques vendors to sell wares. On Sunday, visitors can sample the namesake attraction: a cup of burgoo, which is a thick stew brimming with vegetables, local meats, herbs and spices.

Several events are taking place throughout the weekend, including a parade, food trucks, live music, a 5K race, a craft show, a flea market and a car show, among other activities. Aside from the tethered balloon rides, most events are free to attend.

“I think there’s something for everyone. The parade, the craft show, the car show. We’ve added a few new things this year,” Skaggs said.

The two-mile long Bureau County Homestead Festival parade begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, starting on North Main Street (at Marquette Street) and ending on South Main Street (at Pleasant Street).

The weekend features two special shopping opportunities. The Beta Sigma Phi Craft Show includes dozens of vendors selling wares Saturday and Sunday. Products include home décor, florals, handmade jewelry, arts, crafts, sculptures and other items. The Bureau County Flea Market offers a secondhand shopping experience on Sunday.

New this year will be bounce houses and children’s activities at Zearing Park.

The Homestead Festival Fun Fair is another kid-friendly event. In its 35th year, the two-hour fair opens Saturday morning in the parking lot at Heartland Bank and Trust, 606 S. Main St., Princeton.

Sara Hudson, retail manager at Heartland Bank and Trust,

said the fair attracts about 300 children and their families. There are fair and carnival-type games with prizes. The Princeton Fire Department also will be on hand with an emergency vehicle for children to tour.

“It’s been great to see young people that once attended the event now in attendance with their own children,” Hudson said. “It’s quite a family tradition and one of the only events that is primarily geared toward youngsters over Homestead weekend.”

Popular among adults is the festival’s 50/50 drawing, which doubles as a large fundraiser for the annual celebration and a boon for winners – last year’s jackpot reached almost $20,000, Skaggs said. Tickets can be purchased online or from participating Princeton businesses.

The annual Homestead Festival honors Reverend Owen Lovejoy, who was prominent in the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad, a founder of the Illinois and national Republican Party, and a congressional leader. His Princeton home is open to the public as a museum. The home at U.S. 6 and Sixth Street was declared a National Historic Landmark and also is on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information about festival events, visit C S R

18 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock

Homestead Festival Events

Shopping: Many Princeton business will be open all weekend and will offer extended hours during Homestead festivities.

Live music: Brass from the Past, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Zearing Park; Blues Concert, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Zearing Park. Bring lawn chairs.

Food trucks: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Zearing Park.

Balloon glow: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Zearing Park. 30th Annual Underground Railroad 5K: Race begins at Bureau County Metro Center. Registration and packet pickup, 7 a.m. Saturday. Kiddie Fun Run at 8 a.m.; 5K race starts at 8:30 a.m. To register, visit

Homestead Festival Fun Fair: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, parking lot behind Central Bank off Pleasant Street.

Beta Sigma Phi Craft Show: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Bureau County Courthouse lawn, 700 S. Main St., Princeton.

3-on-3 basketball tournament: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Alexander Park, 500 S. Anderson St. Third through eighth grade participants. Register online.

Bureau County 4-H Club BBQ: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Soldiers and Sailors Park, 14 Park Ave. E., Princeton, and also a drive-thru location (Saturday only) across from the Bureau County Fairgrounds on the west end of Princeton.

Bureau County Homestead Festival parade: 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Starts on North Main Street (Marquette Street) and finishes on South Main Street (Pleasant Street).

BBQ cook-off: 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Central Bank parking lot, 317 S. Main St. Winner takes home $500. Pre-registration required. Visit

Pancake breakfast: 8 a.m. to noon Sunday at Princeton Moose Lodge, 1339 N. Euclid Ave., Princeton.

Bureau County Flea Market: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bureau County Fairgrounds, 811 W. Peru St., Princeton.

Car show: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, South Main Street.

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 19
Coupon required, limit one coupon per customer per visit, not valid with other offers and expires 10/31/23. Spring Valley • Princeton • Mendota Locally owned/operated by Paul & Mary Breznay Now Hiring/EOE with the purchase of a cheeseburger FREE CHEESEBURGER
Photo by Mike Vaughn FRIDAY, SEPT. 8-SUNDAY, SEPT. 10 • PRINCETON
20 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country Lush plantings and butterfly gardens line streets filled with boutique shops and modern eateries. Come spend the day with us! Downtown Ottawa Over 50 YEARS of Deliciousness 1219 Fulton St. • Ottawa • 815-433-0478 HOURS: Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm Come see the unique shops downtown Ottawa SM-CL2092590 JOBST MONUMENTS & GIFTS 402 W. Main Street • Ottawa Across from Knights of Columbus 815-433-0310 OTTAWA’S BEST KEPT SECRET UNIQUE INDOOR & OUTDOOR GIFTS Open Mon. - Fri. 10:30AM to 5PM Sat. 10:30AM to 3PM SM-CL2094219 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. 12 p.m.-4 p.m. 719 LaSalle Street, Ottawa (815) 433-7323 LaSalle County’s Favorite Independent Bookstore
Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 21 Relaxation and Wellness in the Heart of Starved Rock Country Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna Dry Hydrotherapy Ionic Foot Detox Migun Massage Bed Whether you live in Starved Rock Country or are here for a visit, remember to take time to hike, go eagle watching, find an adventure, or just RELAX ! A visit to SaltTreeYoga will provide you with the relaxation and harmony you need to balance your life. Try a YOGA CLASS and SHOP in our unique gift shop before or after you relax! 310 ½ W. Main St. Ottawa, IL • 815.343.2751 SM-CL2095690 615 LaSalle St. • Ottawa 815-433-5683 310 E. Main St. • Streator 815-672-2614 The Timeless Emerald Cut IT’S SURE TO BE LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! Located in downtown Ottawa 700 LaSalle Street • 815.313.5553 Globally inspired coastal cuisine, flown in fresh fish, oysters, crab & prime steak Serving Tuesday - Saturday 4PM to 9PM Check out our complete menu at
22 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country Come explore A town full of activities for all ages and interests! ComeTry OurSlots! 620CourtStreet ★ Ottawa SM-CL2092589 Readers’ Choice for FAVORITE Burger, Place for Sandwiches, Business Lunch & Place to Play Slots 815-324-9229 215 W. Jefferson St.,Ottawa, IL 61350 MON - FRI. 4pm-9pm • SAT 12pm-9pm • SUN 12pm-8pm Traditional Napoletana Pizza is a Fiery Artisan Experience. From hand stretching and forming the dough to choosing only the best tomatoes, peeling away their delicate skins, and crushing them to the perfect consistency, our pizza is a labor of love. One of Ottawa’s Most Attractive Restaurants PROOF OUT (815) 200-4781 STEGENRIVERBOAT.COM • SIGHTSEEING TOURS • LOCAL FOOD PARTNERS • PRIVATE EVENTS See the historic Illinois River Valley like never before! SCAN FOR TICKETS & EVENTS SM-CL2093968

October 2023

Celebrate fall with a 1 p.m. parade and downtown children’s activities at Ottawa’s Fall Festival.

The legendary burgoo stew is ready to serve at 9 a.m. – get some before it’s gone at Utica’s Burgoo Festival!

Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Visit one of Peter Wolf Toth’s sculptures honoring indigenous figures who were native to the region (see bottom of page).

It's National Taco Day! Visit one of the region's many Mexican restaurants and treat yourself to a taco.

Ghost tours, witchy gatherings and fall foliage are highlights each October in Starved Rock Country.

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In the mood for a pig roast? Visit Ottawa's second Smoketober Fest and BBQ Competition. Advance tickets at pig-roast.

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It’s Friday the 13th –and also the Witches Night Out shopping event in Princeton from 4 to 9 p.m.

Witness battles of the Civil War in the Shadows of the Blue & Gray re-enactment at City-County Park in Princeton.

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Shop the Fall Craft & Vendor Show and Flea Market at the Bureau County Fairgrounds.

Mid to late October is generally peak fall color time. Hike one of the region’s state parks on a weekday to view the foliage and avoid the crowds.

Join the Utica Witches Walk for a Witches Brew Tasting, shopping, psychics, tarot readings and more in Utica.

Grab your pointy hat and fly your broom to the Witches Night Out shopping event from 5 to 9 p.m. in downtown Morris.

Celebrate autumn with guided fall color hikes, ghost stories, the Incredible Bats live animal program and more at Starved Rock State Park’s Falltober Fest.

Get into the Halloween spirit at the Nightmare Haunted Attraction at Bureau County Fairgrounds.

*Open each Friday & Saturday in October.

Book a Ghost Tour any Friday, Saturday or Sunday this month. Hear spooky stories on a trolley ride. For tickets, events.

Happy Halloween! Treat yourself to a scare at Insanity Haunted House inside the Peru Mall.

Have a Halloween costume and nowhere to go?

Admission is free to The Witches and Warlocks of Westclox Gala in Peru.

Artist Peter Wolf Toth has created and installed more than 70 sculptures of Native Americans across the United States in the Trail of Whispering Giants. Two can be viewed in Starved Rock Country. Ho-Mah-Shjah-Nah-Zhee-Ga (meaning “Standing proud” in Winnebago dialect) stands on the south bank of the Illinois River at Allen Park in Ottawa. Chief Walks with the Wind stands on the grounds of Starved Rock Lodge.

Fall 2023 | 23
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Quintessential Fall The IN STARVED ROCK COUNTRY

Maximize the season with corn mazes, cider, haunts and more

Corn maze at Kane Family Farms

2165 N. 3020th Road, Ottawa

Last year's corn maze at Kane Family Farms featured a farm-themed design with a barn, tractor and various animals such as a pig, cow and chicken. The 2023 maze will include a sunflower, tractor, pumpkins and jack-o'-lantern.

n the fall, there’s no place quite like farm country.

Autumn is a time for flannel and plaid, apples and pumpkins, straw bales and cornstalks. For those who want to lean into the rural aesthetic, an ideal starting point is Kane Family Farms.

The 143-acre property in rural Ottawa will host its 5-acre corn maze for the second year, open Thursday through Sunday beginning Sept. 14 through the end of October. About 2,000 of the farm’s 3,700 visitors explored the maze during its inaugural season in 2022.

“It’s an all-age activity. It’s not just for kids,” said Christine Kane, who operates the farm with her husband Erick. “We had groups of adults come from Chicago who heard about

our maze, and they said it was great.”

The maze has multiple layers of activities. One section is devoted to a kids maze, where younger children can explore freely without the risk of getting lost. For older explorers without a strong sense of direction, cellphone tracking can assist with navigation of the full maze. Colored ribbons also help guide guests through the corn.

The Kanes install games for guests to play as they wander, with a booklet and map available at the start of the maze.

Special events this year include a one-acre haunted trail inside the corn labyrinth as well as Saturday night flashlight mazes, which allow guests to explore in the dark.

Roaming the full course takes about 45 minutes. Christine Kane said she

recommends visitors start with the maze, then round out their visit with the farm’s other activities, which include hayrack rides; children’s activities such as SkeeBall, basketball, jump pads, a bounce house, games and wooden playhouses, among others; a petting zoo with farm animals; you-pick pumpkins; and light meal and snack options.

“Some families are here for a few hours,” Erick Kane said. “Others make a full day of it.”

Check the Kane Family Farms website at and follow on Facebook at KaneFamilyFarms for updates about activities, special events and weather cancellations.

24 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
Compiled by Starved Rock Country Staff Photos by Shaw Media and courtesy of Kane Family Farms Aerial photo by Kevin Nelson

Rounding out the fall experience

Apples, cider and doughnuts at Boggio’s Orchard

12087 Route 71, Granville

It’s apple season. Nothing beats buying an apple straight from the source – not only directly from the farmer, but directly from the branch. Stroll more than 1,800 apple trees at Boggio’s Orchard & Produce in Granville and fill a peck, half-bushel or bushel bag with hand-selected fruits. Visitors can catch a wagon ride to and from the grove. After gathering apples, check out the Boggio’s bakery counter at the farm’s grocery store. The bakery elevates seasonal flavors with homemade apple cider doughnuts and jugs of Boggio’s Apple Cider; it’s also popular for its expansive fudge selection and fresh baked goods. In addition to buying apples and treats, visitors can pick pumpkins and gourds, visit the farm petting zoo (which is home to livestock, fowl and a camel), explore a corn maze, hop on wagon rides and shop for produce in the farm’s store. A large children’s play area also is available.

Harvest shopping at Country Kids Farm Market

4301 Plank Road, Peru

The words fall and harvest season are practically interchangeable. Celebrate autumn and its harvest simultaneously at Country Kids Farm Market, where shoppers can find locally grown produce, local honey, jams and jellies, salsas, rural American decor and more. Highlights of the fall product lineup include pumpkins and gourds, apple and peach cider, apple cider doughnuts and mums. The country farm market is open daily until Oct. 31.

It also has a weekend location along Route 178 in Utica. Follow on Facebook at countrykidsfarmmarket for updates.

Falltober Fest and foliage at Starved Rock State Park

2678 E. 873rd Road, Oglesby

Mid to late October is the peak time for fall colors across the region, and Starved Rock State Park is a favorite destination for leaf peeping. Hike bluff and canyon trails to behold the foliage. Autumn enthusiasts also can mark their calendars for Saturday, Oct. 21, when the park will celebrate the season with Falltober Fest. Guided fall color hikes will embark from the park’s Visitor Center at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., with one-mile and two-mile options. Other activities at the Visitor Center include a 9:30 a.m. story time and Going Batty program for children ages 3 to 10 years with chaperones; the Incredible Bats program, featuring live animals from six continents, at 11 a.m.; and Native American ghost stories told by Brian “Fox” Ellis at 2 p.m. All programs are free.

A night of frights at Insanity Haunted House

3940 Route 251, Peru | “Spooky season” is an undeniable aspect of fall. One of the scariest Halloween attractions in the state can be found at Peru Mall. A 2022 Haunted Illinois poll ranked Insanity Haunted House as the No. 1 haunted house in Illinois, and it has been voted in the state’s top three since 2019. The attraction invites guests to experience “10,000 square feet of pure terror.” The haunted house is open Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 29 through Oct. 28, as well as Sundays beginning Oct. 8. Special dates include a Halloween night opening on Tuesday, Oct. 31; Sunday children’s matinees from 3 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, 22, and 29; and a blackout event from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, in which lights are turned off and visitors navigate with a glowstick. Insanity Haunted House is recommended for ages 12 and older due to its graphic nature and intensity.

Don’t forget the festivals

An integral part of autumn in Starved Rock Country is the festivals – see p. 17-18 for information on celebrations.upcoming


Nestled in the Heart of Starved Rock Country, just 80 minutes from Chicago, Heritage Harbor offers an exceptional opportunity for those seeking a custom home on the water. Situated in the quaint Harbor Village neighborhood, waterfront homesites and single-family home plans offer the perfect blend of natural beauty and waterfront living on the harbor. With preferred builders to choose from, you can collaborate with experts and find the perfect fit to help transform your vision into a stunning reality. Whether, you desire a contemporary masterpiece or a classic retreat, Heritage Harbor provides the ideal canvas to create your dream home in a serene and scenic environment. Offering an array of amenities including the YMCA just minutes away, pickleball, the Harbor Walk and more Discover an active lifestyle at Heritage Harbor and make lasting memories with family and friends.

Nestled in the Heart of Starved Rock Country, just 80 minutes from Chicago, Heritage Harbor offers an exceptional opportunity for those seeking a custom home on the water. Situated in the quaint Harbor Village neighborhood, waterfront homesites and single-family home plans offer the perfect blend of natural beauty and waterfront living on the harbor. With preferred builders to choose from, you can collaborate with experts and find the perfect fit to help transform your vision into a stunning reality. Whether, you desire a contemporary masterpiece or a classic retreat, Heritage Harbor provides the ideal canvas to create your dream home in a serene and scenic environment. Offering an array of amenities including the YMCA just minutes away, pickleball, the Harbor Walk and more Discover an active lifestyle at Heritage Harbor and make lasting memories with family and friends.


SAINTEENEVIEVE G the voyage of the

Ottawa's paddle wheel riverboat overcame obstacles to make its home on the Illinois River –now tourists can climb aboard for scenic tours

Gentry Nordstrom was having one of the most stressful days of his life. His wife Lindsay had just given birth to their third child, so he couldn’t make the journey to bring his new financial endeavor – a diesel-powered paddle-wheeler – home to Ottawa.

For seven days, he called his crew daily to make sure plans and schedules were in order. On the eighth day, he could tell from his partner Nathan Weiss’ voice the project was not on track.

“We bought the boat on Dec. 8, 2021, when it was still in Cincinnati. We had to drive it down the Ohio River, up the Mississippi River, and up the Illinois River to get it to Ottawa,” Nordstrom said. “It was supposed to be a 17-day trip. This is a true paddle wheel boat that moves, at the most, six miles per hour, and if you’re going upstream, it goes slower. We knew it was going to take a while, and we knew it was going to be an adventure.”

The paddle-wheeler didn’t

28 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country

disappoint – the journey to Ottawa proved to be a memorable one.

“It was named Mark Twain when we bought it. We knew we wanted to change the name, but we didn’t know what we wanted the name to be. We were staring down the barrel of a 17day adventure on these rivers, and we figured the boat was going to name itself. We knew something was going to happen or something would pop up that the boat would name itself,” Nordstrom said.

Eight days into the trip, weather created difficulties as the boat turned to travel up the Mississippi River. The vessel slammed against rocks on the bank, breaching the hull. By the next morning, Nordstrom said it became clear to the crew that the boat was taking on water and would sink if they didn’t act quickly.

While unfortunate, the incident did lead to the boat’s new name.

“The crew was able to beach the boat on a sandbar in the Mississippi River. We were rescued by a local barge company, and they took us to their quarry, which was in St. Genevieve, Missouri. They were really hospitable to us,” Nordstrom said.

“We thought, ‘Is this the moment the boat named itself?’ We did some research on St. Genevieve. She is actually the patron saint of Paris, and her legend is, at one point, her enemies conspired to drown her in a lake, but they ultimately weren’t successful. When we read that, we knew the boat named itself, and she became the Sainte Genevieve.”

The Sainte Genevieve was towed to St. Louis and stayed through the winter of 2021 and early 2022 while repairs were made to the hull and other work was completed.

The journey finally concluded on March 12, 2022, when the Sainte Genevieve arrived in Ottawa. After seven months of gutting and remodeling the riverboat, the Sainte Genevieve became operational on Oct. 4, 2022, when it made its first cruise on the Illinois River.

“I’m good friends with Nathan Weiss. He’s the owner of Ottawa Millwork Co. in Ottawa. He’s always

been a fan of riverboats because his father was always working on boats, including the famous Julia Belle Swain. Nathan grew up around boats and fell in love with them at an early age,” Nordstrom said.

Weiss had the vision to bring a riverboat to Ottawa's waterfront and shared the idea with Nordstrom in summer 2021. They decided if they found the right boat, they would make it work.

The Sainte Genevieve opened its tours and events in 2022 with a short season from October through mid-December. The vessel launched its first full season in May 2023 and continues through November with evening cruises on Thursdays and Fridays, three cruises on Saturdays and two on Sundays.

The crew offers various types of excursions, including a standard sightseeing tour, sunset cruises and collaborative dessert, brunch or dinner cruises catered by local eateries.

Excursions travel one of two directions: they either go upriver from downtown Ottawa, past Heritage Harbor and toward Marseilles Lock and Dam, or downriver past Buffalo Rock State Park before turning around and heading back to Ottawa.

When the river is frozen in the winter, the Sainte Genevieve is docked at Heritage Harbor. Last winter, the boat hosted a handful of events.

“We did a concert series during the winter. It’s a closed cabin, so we have a heated cabin,” Nordstrom said.

“For a winter event, we can get 50 to 60 people in the cabin of the boat.”

The vessel also hosts private events such as holiday parties, corporate meetings, bridal showers and family reunions, among others.

“The boat is a true paddle wheel, so it’s a classic riverboat,” Nordstrom said. “We’re really trying to highlight that old, antique-ish feeling with a bit of a modern flair. We’re focused on the vibe inside the cabin and the views of the river. It’s about getting people on the boat and providing a cool experience.”


Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 29

An afternoon aboard the Sainte Genevieve


The exclamation came from the port side of the Sainte Genevieve’s sightseeing deck. The paddle-wheeler was making its leisurely way down the Illinois River on a Saturday afternoon, with passengers relaxing in chairs alongside the railings to watch the scenery. Tree-covered islands, outcroppings of St. Peter sandstone and the bluffs of Buffalo Rock State Park dot the waterway west of the boat’s dock in downtown Ottawa.

At that moment, though, the scene captivating all eyes on board was a young bald eagle diving to the river’s surface to catch a fish. Signs of the eagles were everywhere. Joe Jakupcak, a regional tour guide, pointed to massive eagle nests in the branches of island trees. His intermittent narration points out items of interest and explains the significance of destinations along the two-hour cruise route. He also offers interesting tidbits of trivia, such as the enormity of the nests (they can weigh more than 2,000 pounds).

More than once, my husband and I wished we had packed our binoculars. Jakupcak frequently directed gazes toward white specks among the

trees that indicated the distinctive white heads of bald eagles as well as several egrets.

I spent the first hour of the voyage on the sightseeing deck, where we had panoramic views of the riverside. Passing boaters frequently waved to us and our fellow sightseers – a trio of kayakers bobbing along Buffalo Rock’s sandstone wall waved their paddles with an exuberant hoot as the Sainte Genevieve glided past.

Passengers can move freely about the 149-passenger boat during its journey. The downstairs cabin, which is air conditioned in the summer and heated in cooler weather, offers views through rows of large windows. Guests who want a break from the sun can sit at tables or benches in the elegant lounge, which includes a stocked bar with alcohol and soda. Bathrooms also are accessible in the cabin.

The Sainte Genevieve offers several excursions, including narrated sightseeing tours, sunset cruises with live music, Sunday brunch cruises and the Sunsets and Small Bites tour, which includes a cocktail buffet and appetizers curated by local restaurants.

For information or to book a tour, visit

Uncork A Great Time At Clarks Run

30 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
For Upcoming Events and Live Entertainment Schedule, like both locations on Facebook! Wine & Beer Tasting Room, Live Music. Now Serving You At 2 Locations! Clark s Run A ntiques 215 N. Div ision St., Utica • 815.667.719 0 Qualit y unique craft s, antiques, and gift s TA ST ING RO OM & OU T DO OR PAT IO Enjoy our wonder ful w ine and beer selection Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm, Closed Mon Clark s Run Creek Wine & Gift s 143 Mill St., Utica • 815.6 91.8049 Utic a ’ s Best Kept Secret Gift s & Wine, B ourbon, and Specialt y Dr ink s Rent our upst air s ro om for special event s Bachelorette Par ties, Bir thdays, or Shower s Mon, Wed, & Thurs 12-7pm, Fri & Sat 12-9pm, Sun 12-6pm, Closed Tues Check Facebook for Music Schedule Gaming .Available!
Explore the Heritage Corridor Ale Trail and discover the creativity of true artisans of the Illinois craft beer world. Visit for the latest news, best events and features on new beer releases from the top breweries from Chicago Portage to Starved Rock.


Communities repurpose fixtures

of horse fountains with a century of history and

animal-friendly origin

Around 1910, when Americans were more likely to have a horse and carriage than an automobile, the Cadillac of horse troughs in more than 100 towns was an elegant Hermon Lee Ensign animal fountain.

They were the legacy of Ensign, who as a boy lived in the Bureau County town of Sheffield and became a wealthy New York advertising executive.

In 1897, Ensign founded the National Humane Alliance to promote the compassionate treatment of animals.

After Ensign died in 1899 at age 49, he left an endowment to the National Humane Alliance

to pay for fountains that offered fresh drinking water for horses and smaller animals.

Those fountains were built of polished granite quarried

in the coastal Maine towns of Vinalhaven and Rockland and produced at a cost of $1,000 each.

They featured a 6-foot-wide

bowl filled with water spouting from brass lion heads. Just above ground level were smaller bowls carved out of the granite and filled with trickles of water, which were intended for dogs.

Participating cities had to agree to take possession of the fountains from the nearest train station, provide a concrete base and a water connection, as well as promise to permanently maintain them.

The program, which operated between 1906 and 1912, resulted in the placement of 125 of the fountains across the country. Two of the cities in Northern Illinois to introduce the fountains were Princeton and Ottawa. Both communities installed them outside of their

32 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
Stanley | Photos by Julie Barichello and Charles Stlaney HIDDEN HISTORY takes a closer look at interesting but lesser known moments in Starved Rock Country’s past.

The National Humane Alliance fountain in Princeton was restored as an operational fountain in a landscaped median across from the Bureau County Courthouse. Water flows into the main basin (originally intended for horses) and two small bowls at the base (originally intended for dogs). The top of the fountain now serves as a lamppost at night.

downtown county courthouses – prominent and practical locations. They were set up flush with the street curbs so carriages could pull alongside.

However, as motor vehicles began to dominate the roadways and horse carriages began to fade, the fountains became less used.

Eventually, it was common for them to be removed or relocated to less prominent locations and, in many cases, adopted for other uses.

The Ottawa fountain has long been relocated to the center parkway on Ottawa Avenue at Leland Street. In recent years it has served as a flower planter.

In Princeton, retired middle

school English teacher Esther Tracy, who passed the fountain daily, did extensive research and discovered “there have been many instances in which the Princeton fountain did not operate for extended periods of time.”

The fountain, she learned, “was for some considerable amount of time lying in pieces on a lot near the library after it had been removed following a car striking and toppling it on April 19, 1955, which was not the first collision that had occurred.”

In recent years, communities nationwide are rediscovering their animal fountains, with many restoring and relocating their fountains to prominent

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 33
with Ottawa, Illinois Ottawa Area Chamber - 815-433-0084 - Ottawa Farmers & Makers Market Ottawa's Scarecrow Festival & Fall Fest Parade Every Saturday Through October 14th on Jackson Street September 30th Through October 1st Ottawa Wine & Art Walk Saturday, November 4th

locations as park centerpieces.

Such was the case with Princeton.

“After several years and through the generosity of the Princeton Rotary Club and private citizens, finally funds were raised to restore the fountain,” Tracy said.

It now stands in a landscaped triangular median on Park Avenue at the intersection with Pleasant Street. A short stone path and a bench allow up-close access to see the fountain’s details.

Princeton plumber Dan Whitlock and electrician Brian Cardosi were hired to make the fountain operational again.

“It was in rough shape but still good shape for the age of it,” Whitlock said. “All the original parts were there. We

just had to get them working.”

The renovation took a couple of weeks but was successful with the fountain once again providing fresh, recirculated water.

“The water is always fresh water,” Whitlock said. “Any animal could enjoy a drink.”

Besides the horse and dog bowls, a spout is near the top for birds, Whitlock noted.

In 2010, the restored fountain’s centennial was observed.

For Tracy, who maintains the flowers in adjacent planter boxes, the effort was worthwhile.

“I think it’s a matter of city pride,” she said.

People regularly stop to see it, Tracy said.

“Visitors and even tour buses will stop for a look.”


Illinois’ longest operating lumberyard continues to thrive along Peru’s historic riverfront. Maze Lumber has been providing top quality building materials to Illinois Valley contractors and homeowners for 175 years, still owned by the founding fathers (Maze).

Located in a 15,000-square foot showroom and office, we offer building materials for the modern home as well as a full line of the traditional lumber items used in home building, commercial construction, and industrial applications. Our experienced sales staff takes pride in their ability to provide knowledgeable assistance along with prompt delivery at reasonable prices.

34 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
The National Humane Alliance fountain in Ottawa was moved from its original location near the La Salle County courthouse to the parkway on Ottawa Avenue and converted into a planter.
SM-LA2093129 BUILD IT ONCE  BUILD IT RIGHT Water Street, Peru | 815-223-1742

Experience Princeton

Explore Princeton's Historic Main Street, boutique shopping, local eats and brews, impressive Airbnb and Hotel stays, public arts and parks, walking and biking trails, historic landmarks and museums, street concerts, farmers market, fun-filled festivals and more!



September 7th, South Main St.

HOMESTEAD FESTIVAL & Hot Air Balloon Event

September 8th - 10th visit for details


September 30th, Rotary Park


Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce Shopping Event

October 13th, Main Street Shopping Districts


October 14th - 15th, City County Park


Saturdays through Oct 28th, Soldiers & Sailors Park


Military Appreciation Exhibit

Wednesday-Sunday through December

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 35
The City of Princeton · · (815) 875-2631 princetontourism visitprinceton_il CITY COUNTY PARK, Host to CITY COUNTY PARK, Host to Shadows of the Blue & Gray Shadows of the Blue & Gray Illinois Largest Civil War Reenactment Illinois Largest Civil War Reenactment 6 1 3 5 6 6 1 3 5 6 E S T . 1 8 3 2


ari Matuszewski doesn’t advertise her work. She doesn’t have to. Word of mouth keeps her schedule busy with commissions, especially around the holidays.

Matuszewski is a portrait artist based in the heart of Starved Rock Country. She offers two commission options to clients: realistic watercolor portraits of pets (with a twist of her personal style), or abstract watercolor portraits of families. Clients submit photos for her to base the painting on – and the wackier, the better.

“Eccentric people always inspire me. I love when people march to the beat of their own drum,” Matuszewski said. “My favorite portraits to do are when someone gives me quirky photos to work with – someone wearing a pink bathrobe, a picture of their mom from the '70s with a bubble hairdo, crazy sunglasses.”

Vintage portraits especially speak to Matuszewski’s creative streak.

“The '50s and '60s are my favorite eras to draw inspiration from – fashion, hairstyle, technicolor films, the music,” she said. “I love referencing old photos.”

It’s no coincidence that fashion stands out to Matuszewski when she paints. She holds a degree in accessories design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a fashion stylist and buyer for a major department store before moving to Starved Rock Country.

Despite being born in Illinois, Matuszewski spent her youth living 20 minutes outside New York City. She knew from an early age she wanted to be an artist.

“I have always doodled and could fill up notebooks with illustrated stories,” Matuszewski said. “In high school, I started getting really into fashion and would sneak into the city to people-watch and to shop at all these cool little boutiques in the Village. I really had a weakness for shoes, handbags and jewelry.”

She recently returned to her fashion accessory roots by creating repurposed jewelry and custom hand-painted purses.

“I like to switch up the art when I am not doing commission work,” she said. “It keeps me from getting burnt out and challenges me to learn new things to add to my repertoire.”

While in college, Matuszewski enrolled in a prerequisite fine arts course and discovered joy in painting, particularly with watercolor.

“Watercolor is such an unpredictable medium to work in, and that’s why I love it,” she said. “It’s not perfect – it bleeds, it shows watermarks – but that’s what makes it such a beautiful and fun medium to work with.”

Many of her commissioned portraits are painted in watercolor, adding to the abstract and quirky nature of the work.

“I think when people are open to having their portrait be on the humorous side, it really brings out their true personality in the portrait.” C S R

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Local artists invigorate the community with thoughtful, creative pieces. Each issue, Starved Rock Country Magazine and Starved Rock Country Community Foundation are partnering to highlight artists and their work.
1 2 | Arts & Entertainment |


Kari Matuszewski grew up near New York City and earned a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology before moving to Illinois, where she met her husband Lenny. She and Lenny live in the heart of Starved Rock Country with their daughter, Birdie.


To view more of Kari Matuszewski's art or to inquire about commissions, follow her on Facebook at

1. Abstract Face (commissioned painting for a salon): acrylic

2. Mother Daughter commissioned portrait: watercolor, color pencil and ink, 9x12, commission pricing starts at $60

3. Edith: acrylic, plastic beads and sequins, 8x10, $100

4. Family commissioned portrait: Watercolor, color pencil and ink, 9x12, commission pricing starts at $60

5. Dogs commissioned portraits: watercolor, color pencil and ink, 9x12, commission pricing starts at $50

6. Starved Rock: acrylic landscape created for Starved Rock Country travel poster contest

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 37
3 4 5 6

Hocus Pocus a bunch of

38 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
By Julie Barichello Photos by Tom Sistak, Becky Kramer and Scott Anderson


SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. Wicked awesome, that is.

The seasonal dance troupe known as the Hocus Pocus Hags spellbinds audiences each October with free performances throughout the region. Like a specter, they appear at the start of Halloween time and draw crowds across Starved Rock Country. Then, when the spooky season fades, they vanish for another year.

The Hocus Pocus Hags are a volunteer group of dancers who craft elaborate witch costumes and perform a series of German-inspired dances. Three of the founding witches –Denise Jeppson, Mary Nielsen and Jackie Curran – launched the group in Jeppson’s garage in Granville, a village in Putnam County.

The idea started brewing when Curran shared a video of the German dance troupe Wolfshäger Hexenbrut (English translation: the Wolf Hunter’s Coven) performing their nowviral witch dance for the central European holiday Walpurgis. Jeppson saw Curran’s post on Facebook.

“Denise [Jeppson] said, ‘Wouldn’t you love to do this?’” Curran recalled. “I said, ‘Yes, I’ve been wanting to do this!’”

So they donned their pointy hats, grabbed their brooms and took flight with the idea.

Nielsen, owner and instructor at Illinois Valley Jazzercise, stepped into the role of dance teacher for the troupe. Thirteen witches twirled their brooms and stomped their boots at a single performance during their inaugural year in 2017.

“The next year we had 16 witches,” Nielsen said. The group performed two dances in 2018. “The following year is when it exploded.”

By 2021, about 40 witches (and the occasional warlock) ranging in age from teens to seniors in their 70s were dancing with the Hags.

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 39 IN FOR OCTOBER SHOWS

Don’t just live, LIV well.

Their calendar is busy these days, with more than 20 performances crammed into a 31-day month. The troupe is in high demand and has developed a following throughout the region, especially among children and spectators ages 50 and older.

This year will mark their seventh season of performing at fall festivals, events and parades in Starved Rock Country. Most of the Hocus Pocus Hags’ appearances are clustered around weekends, generally landing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On a given weekend, there are multiple chances to behold the witches – they usually schedule several performances on Saturdays at various events and locations across the region.

Shows include three German witch dances plus a children’s dance. The Hags also might dance to a popular American billboard song. Performances typically last about 20 minutes and involve

audience interaction.

“When we do the kid dance at the end, we usually ask the kids to join us,” Jeppson said. “That’s why we started. It was for the kids.”

The Hocus Pocus Hags aim to keep their repertoire fresh each season by incorporating popular dance trends and songs. TikTok dance trends are a source of inspiration, especially since younger spectators can recognize the material and participate. One TikTok trend the Hags have considered is the Wednesday Addams dance, inspired by actress Jenna Ortega’s idiosyncratic, armflailing choreography on the Netflix series “Wednesday” and further popularized by Lady Gaga on TikTok.

One of the crowd’s favorite aspects about the Hags is glimpsing the variety of elaborate costumes. Hats, dresses of layered fabric, full face paint, prosthetic noses and horns, wigs and embellished besoms (a type of broom made

40 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country

with a bundle of twigs tied to a stick handle) are among the regular adornments. One troupe member has worn a full Krampus costume at previous events.

“Some of us get very extravagant with makeup,” Nielsen said. “It’s like being in a theater. We have witch doctors. We have voodoo witches. Everybody chooses something different.”

Before and after performances, it’s not unusual for crowd members to request photo opportunities.

“They ask, ‘Can I get my picture taken with you?’ You feel like a celebrity in your costume,” Nielsen said.

The Hocus Pocus Hags perform exclusively around Halloween, with one outof-season exception for the Frightful Friday theme night each summer at Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp baseball. Fans who want to witness their witchy ways can follow The Hocus Pocus Hags on



• 5 p.m. Princeton parade

• 6:30 p.m. Fright Night at the Bureau County Fairgrounds


• 6 p.m. Utica Witches Walk


• 10 a.m. La Salle Halloween parade

• 1 p.m. Peru Halloween at Washington Park in Peru

*Times are approximate. Follow the Hocus Pocus Hags on Facebook for updates about locations and times. More performances will be announced in September and October.

Facebook for the most up-todate information about their schedule.

When attending a performance, the crowd is encouraged to react and interact.

“It’s nice to watch the crowd,” Nielsen said. “We feed off them. The more excited they are, the more excited we are.”

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 41
C S R 4387 Venture Dr, Peru • (815) 220-1638 • Come Visit Us! The City of Oglesby Welcomes You

More witchy attractions this fall


4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, downtown Princeton

Participating Princeton businesses will extend their hours for this wicked shopping event. Stroll downtown for special sales, treats, beverages, giveaway drawings and more.


Thursday, Oct. 19, Utica

Wear your witchy best to win prizes for best costume, broom and hat. The event ticket offers access to a Witches Brew Tasting, raffles, contests, psychics and tarot card readers. Vendors, live music, outdoor fire pits and more will be set up on Mill Street.


5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, downtown Morris

Grab your broom and swoop into downtown Morris for a special shopping event that includes a costume contest, extended business hours and special deals.


Friday, Oct. 20, La Salle Downtown La Salle shops will host a special shopping event with entertainment, food, drinks, activities and more. Guests are invited to dress up in costumes.


7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, 350 Fifth St., Peru

Come in costumes or dress as yourself for a seasonal party packed with live entertainment, food, drinks, raffles, card readers and more in the historic Westclox building. Admission is free.

Famous for Steakburgers

42 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country
DINE-IN • DRIVE-THROUGH DELIVERY 4240 VENTURE DR., PERU (815) 224-3111 DOOR DASH AVAILABLE THROUGH WWW.STEAKNSHAKE.COM Beautiful Modern Barn offering casual glamour against a backdrop of woods and farmland. Located 80 miles from Chicago and 24 miles from Starved Rock State Park Recommended for up to eight guest. 2 night minimum stay For more information find us on airbnb Beautiful Barn on Indian Creek with all the fixins • Hiking Trails • Fully stocked Pond • Outdoor Fire pit with roasting sticks, firewood and s’mores ingredients
Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 43 REINVENTING BAR FOOD REINVENTING BAR FOOD Large Spacious Deck 823 Liberty St. • Morris (815)513-3924 Open 7 Days a Week • Fried Chicken & Pasta • Great Selection of Sandwiches • Sharables • Salads & Wraps • Burgers 36 CRAFT BEERS ON TAP! Open Monday through Sunday for Lunch and Dinner Appetizers • Salads Sandwiches • Daily Specials See our full menu at RESTAURANT AND BAR THE LAKES COUNTRY CLUB BANQUET CENTER AVAILABLE for Class Reunions, Holiday Parties and Rehearsal Dinners. Call for more information. BEAUTIFUL 9 HOLE COURSE OPEN TO PUBLIC Modern Bar Lined with TV’s Spacious Outdoor Deck Comfortable & Scenic Dining Room Golf Memberships available 2550 N. 32nd Rd., Marseilles 815.795.5107
Welcome To Streator Explore - Experience - Enjoy Downtown Streator SM-CL2095693 inspiring home decor, gifts and more for you and your littles 317 E. Main St. Streator. 815.822.8913 Bromley & Brown BOUTIQUE 308 E. Main St. • Streator 815.672.4772 Open Tuesday - Saturday
1610 N. Bloomington St., Streator 815-672-0033 Open Mon. - Sat. 11am to. 8pm 3 Cafe rd Street PRIVATE GAMING AREA PLAY HERE. WIN BIG. JUMBO PORK TENDERLOINS • Salads • Sandwiches • Appetizers & Sides ASK ABOUT OUR DAILY SPECIALS! ALWAYS MADE FRESH CONVENIENT DRIVE THRU SM-CL2092615 $5 MATCH PLAY Must be 21 to gamble. One coupon per customer daily. Expires 11.10.2023 | Breakfast Served All Day | Daily Specials | Delicious Soups | Homemade Desserts CountryCupboard The 124 S. Vermillion Street | Streator | 815.672.5885 Carryouts and Delivery Available Open 7 Days A Week | Mon-Fri 6-6 | Sat & Sun 6-2 A Neighborhood Favorite Go Where the Locals Go To Eat Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner 617 E. Main St. Streator Sunday: 4pm - 8 pm Mon - Thurs: 4pm - 9 pm Fri & Sat: 4pm - 10 pm 815-672-2204 10% OFF YOUR TOTAL ORDER Must Present This Coupon! Expires 11/11/23 Treat yourself to something unique & beautiful. We carry seasonal home decor, soaps and lotions, children’s clothing, adult sized t-shirts, jewelry, scented candles, wax melts and more. Our local vendors are always adding new things, handmade wreaths, signs, doll clothing, travel cups, gems & jewelry. We Specialize in Custom Painted Furniture An Official Retailer of: RefurbishedTreasures.Boutique • Dixie Bell Paint Line • Day Dream Apothecary Paint • Retique-It • ReDesign with Prima and more Refurbished Treasures 306 E Main St. Streator 815-674-5540
Explore Streator Great Dining and Theatre This is not your everyday fare. • Ethnic • Vegetarian • Gluten Free 417 East Main St, Streator (815) 510-9603 Dobro Jutro, Dober Dan Good Morning Good Day Cafe Slovenian & Croatian Ethnic Specialties SM-CL2092621 Serving Breakfast & Lunch Wed.- Sat. 7:30am to 3pm

Old-School Methods,

& Local FlavorsEuropean Style

Millstone Bakery is a popular stop for artisan bread and pastries

The First Street sidewalk in downtown La Salle is squarely in the Midwest. But step through the front door of Millstone Bakery, and it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean to enter a French boulangerie.

Millstone Bakery is an artisan shop specializing in handcrafted breads and pastries. An ever-growing selection of bakedfrom-scratch goods, high-quality ingredients and a small-town hangout atmosphere has earned Millstone rave reviews and devoted customers since opening in June 2022.

Owned and operated by Kent Maze, a corporate lawyer by trade, and husband Erin Maze, who is a project manager, Millstone was born out of a passion to do something for downtown La Salle. Erin and Kent moved

to La Salle from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2020 – Erin was born and raised in La Salle, and the two decided to come back to start a family. This coincided with Kent, like many others, picking up a new hobby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I took an online baking class and got really into perfecting a chocolate chip cookie recipe. So we just began making dozens and dozens, giving them to friends and family. People really liked them; it all started from there,” Kent said. “Erin is from here. We love the area and knew we really wanted to do something for downtown La Salle. This is such a neat community spot – the buildings and history are incredible, and we really wanted to create something new and exciting that would bring people out here.”

When dreaming up their business, Kent and Erin kicked around several ideas. They loved visiting bakeries while traveling, but they noticed there weren’t many places to get fresh, from-scratch bread and pastries in the region – they knew there was a void that could be filled.

Neither Kent nor Erin were bakers by trade, so they started seeking experts. They reached out and found a team of local bakers who were looking for an opportunity like this – a chance to turn their passion for artisan baked goods into a career. Kent and Erin hired the bakers early, before they even secured a storefront, and started developing the menu.

Collaboration is a key ingredient at Millstone.

“I can’t say enough about our staff. They’re making it such a friendly place that people want to keep returning to. It’s their handiwork and expertise that’s developed great menu items,” Kent said. “One of the reasons we wanted to start this was to create an opportunity for those who have these incredible talents, to put the talents to use within our community. We want to see more people getting to do creatively satisfying work and build that sense of optimism in our area.”

The results after months of trial, revision and taste testing are on full display when walking into Millstone. First the aroma of fresh-baked breads wafts toward customers, then they’ll spot rows of pastries arranged on butcher boards and shelves lined with breads, all nestled behind a modern glass half-wall. In the storefront window sits the shop’s namesake, a large rounded millstone – the kind used to grind grains the oldfashioned way.

In many ways, the millstone is key to what makes their baked goods stand out.

Much of Millstone’s flour (they use numerous varieties and blends, depending on the baked good) is sourced from Janie’s Mill, a milling operation about 90 miles away in Ashkum that makes high-quality and nutritious flours from local organic grains. Janie’s Mill is one of a handful of flour mills in the nation that still uses an authentic

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 47
| Dining & Drinks |
Story and Photos by Ryan Searl

millstone to grind their grains. They don’t sift out the nutrientrich bran and wheat germ, giving all the flavor and health benefits of a truly whole wheat flour.

The breads and pastries at Millstone are a labor of love and can take 26 hours to make from the time they start with scratch ingredients to when they’re pulled out of a double-decker, Europeanstyle stone oven. The bakery’s core line of pastries includes chocolate chip cookies (the same recipe that started Kent and Erin on their baking journey), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pain au chocolat croissants made with semidark chocolate, ham and cheese croissants, almond croissants and classic butter croissants.

“The flake of a croissant is made by layers of butter and dough, that’s then folded over and thinned out, and repeated until there are about 20 or 25 layers,” Kent said. “It’s all about the flake and the craft we use in preparing each croissant by hand.”

Each day is an event in which customers will find rotating seasonal specials, daily breads

and different items, such as sweet and savory danish flavors. Fan favorites include mixed berry, spinach and artichoke and a new pizza danish made with whipped ricotta and parmesan. Millstone also has a line of popular scones, including blueberry with lemon icing, and a variety of savory options like goat cheese-rosemary and hot honey glaze. Millstone’s cinnamon rolls are a soughtafter item, especially the roasted banana special offered only on Saturdays.

Beyond the cornucopia of pastries, customers will find the heart of Millstone’s offerings: their selection of artisan breads, chief among which is their sourdough.

Sourdough loaves are one of Millstone’s most popular items. Made with four ingredients – flour, water, salt and sourdough starter – each loaf takes more than a day to create, resulting in a deep flavor with a subtle tang.

“Sourdough isn’t necessarily sour, at least when done properly. There’s a little tinge of that flavor, but a good sourdough shouldn’t

48 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country

be overwhelming,” Kent said. “Early on, we also knew we also wanted to offer a high-quality Italian loaf, a tribute to the region’s long Italian-American heritage. When we started quizzing our customers to see what we should add to our menu, the resounding answer was Italian bread. … We’ve had customers claim it’s better than the bread they ate in Italy, so I think we make a pretty mean Italian loaf.”

Millstone produces several other breads. Their signature multi-grain sandwich loaf is versatile with incredible flavor and texture. Ideal for morning toast with eggs, a PB&J or a chicken salad sandwich, this bread is made with 13 different grains, seeds and other ingredients showcasing the best of a fruitful harvest. Their focaccia, an Italian-style flatbread that’s crispy on the outside and springy on the inside, is coated in a garlic herb-infused olive oil, packing big flavor into every bite.

Millstone’s rotating selection

of exotic breads includes a cheddar black peppercorn loaf made with young sharp cheddar and freshly ground black peppercorn, an earthy three-seed made with sunflower, flax and chia, as well as a popular newcomer, the spicy jalapeño cheese sourdough.

The Mazes plan to keep Millstone’s special brand of flavors exclusive to their home region.

“People often ask when we’re going to expand or open a second location, but I don’t really think we’re interested in that. We’re here for La Salle, for the Starved Rock Country area. We want you to visit us and recognize that it’s a great place,” Kent said. “It’s so flattering that people want to see us expand, but I think we’re interested in focusing on doing what we’re doing and doing it well.”

In 2024, Millstone intends to add more specialty sandwiches and bread bowls to their menu and to experiment with new rotating breads and pastries.

After this year’s successful addition of fresh salads (featuring a house-made avocado, cilantro and lime dressing and fresh breadsticks) along with a new coffee program using locally roasted Starved Rock Coffee beans, it seems Millstone’s menu is both growing and fine-tuning by the day.

As one customer told a new patron while standing in line, “You can’t go wrong here. Everything’s delicious.”

“There really hadn’t been anything like this in the area before, so it was a little bit of a risk. But, the community has really shown up and supported us from day one,” Kent said. “A lot of people might not know they have an artisan bakery right down the street from them. It’s a different kind of experience because everything is made from scratch using the best quality ingredients, but it was very important to us that Millstone always feels friendly and approachable to everyone.” C S R


821 First St., La Salle 815-250-0877


Thursday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon


• Bagged Coffee

• Baked goods

• Teas & Lemonades

• espresso drinks

• drip Coffee

SQUISHMALLOWS, Michael Designs Works, Stonewall, Cardinal/Sympathy Dept., Holiday Shirts, Ganz Mini Pocket Charms, Simply Southern, Porch Signs, Gnomes, Toys, Puzzles, Elf On A Shelf, 1803 Candles, Cozy Department, Themed Socks, Custom Ornaments, Drink Ware, Aspen Spices, Hammond’s Chocolates And Candy Canes, And So Much More.

SQUISHMALLOWS, Michael Designs Works, Stonewall, Cardinal/Sympathy Dept., Holiday Shirts, Ganz Mini Pocket Charms, Simply Southern, Porch Signs, Gnomes, Toys, Puzzles, Elf On A Shelf, 1803 Candles, Cozy Department, Themed Socks, Custom Ornaments, Drink Ware, Aspen Spices, Hammond’s Chocolates And Candy Canes, And So Much More. COSTUME CONTEST

WE ARE GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON Mark you Calendars! Morris’ Witches Night Out is back. October 20th.

4 to 9


2023 REA Gifts and Decorative finalist for Elf on a Shelf media project.


309 N. Liberty St. Morris (815) 942-5093

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 49
It’s All Right Here in Downtown Morris Just 60 minutes southwest of downtown Chicago APPLE BUTTER AND SHUGIE’S 309 N. Liberty St. Morris (815) 942-5093
REA Gifts and Decorative finalist for Elf on a Shelf media project. WE ARE GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON Mark you Calendars! Morris’ Witches Night Out is back. October 20th. 4 to 9
• daiLy soup 312 Liberty St., Morris 815.710.5000

While most who visit Starved Rock Country come for views of rivers, woods, canyons, hiking trails and waterfalls, the most abundant scenes to be found are the farm fields surrounding those treasures. When autumn arrives, dried corn hangs on the stalk waiting for harvest to begin.

50 | Fall 2023 • Starved Rock Country ratS v e dRockCou n yrt Sept 2023
Postcard Starved Rock Country
Photo by Tom Sistak



Toluca Labor Day Festival

• Carnival all weekend – Wilson Family Rides

• Food Tent

• AMERICAN PIE BAND on Stage at Sud’s

• Euchre Night at American Legion


• Capponi’s Volleyball @ Capponi’s Restaurant

• Fishing Derby at Jumbo @ Toluca Coal Mine Site

• Kiddie games at Toluca Pool Park – Sponsored by Ajinomoto Foods

• Touch A Truck Event

• 1st Annual Toluca Labor Day Golf Event

• Bags Tournament @ Beer Tent

• Toluca Poker Run

• Food Tent with Dessert Truck

• Kay Pitt’s Memorial Cake Decorating Contest\ Auction Toluca Food Pantry Donations

• Bingo @ American Legion Hall

• Band on Stage at Sud’sCLOVERDALE COURT

• Beer Tent Open with entertainment: BAND “303”


• Pancake Breakfast - American Legion Hall

• Farmers Market outside the American Legion Hall CHUCK ROLINSKI MEMORIAL BOCCE BALL



• 8:30 am– 11:15 am – Women’s sign in (Tournament starts at 11:30am)

• 8:30am – 11:30am – Men’s sign-in (Tournament starts at Noon)

• 8:30am – 12:10pm – 13 & under sign in (Tournament starts at 12:15pm)

• Food Tent – Serviced by Sud’s, Dessert Truck

• Toluca Labor Day Boutique & Vendor Fair

• Chalk Drawing Contest - Sponsorship by Toluca Rotary.

• Toluca Treasure Hunt – Sponsored by Fieldcrest Dental

• Bingo at American Legion Hall

• Airbrush Tattoos by Joe Richard

• 4G PHOTO ZONE – Sponsored by Princeton Chevrolet\GMC

• Toluca Food Pantry Donations

• “Magic by Cory” - On Stage @ Sud’s

• Beer Tent Entertainment 5:00pm “VINYL TAP” 9:00pm “BROKEN MOJO”


• Toluca Labor Day Boutique & Vendor Fair

• Food Tent – Serviced by Sud’s

• Grand Parade – Theme – “Work Hard Play Hard “ Parade is broadcasting on Facebook Live and AM Radio. Checkout the Toluca Labor Day Facebook page for more details!

• Band on Stage at Sud’s after parade: “GENETIC CODE”

• Beer Tent

• Toluca Labor Day Drawdown

Starved Rock Country • Fall 2023 | 51 SM-CL2092686
Entertainment on Stage @ Sud’s Friday September 1st American Pie Band 7:00pm – 10:00pm Saturday September 2nd Cloverdale Court 5:00pm – 8:30pm Sunday September 3rd “Magic by Cory” 6:00pm – 7:30pm Monday September 4th Genetic Code From Toluca!! After the Grand Parade 3:00pm – 4:30pm High Energy Classic Rock tribute band playing songs by Journey, Boston, Bon Jovi and more!! Features songs by Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Queen, Kiss, Styx, Led Zeppelin, REO, Rush, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Journey, Molly Hatchet & More This is the kind of magical entertainment that happens right in the hands of the spectator! Experience amazing impossibilities and shocking card mysteries! Be fooled as the magic happens right under your nose!! Toluca Labor Day Festival Entertainment on Stage @ Sud’s Friday September 1st American Pie Band 7:00pm – 10:00pm Saturday September 2nd Cloverdale Court 5:00pm – 8:30pm Sunday September 3rd “Magic by Cory” 6:00pm – 7:30pm Monday September 4th Genetic Code From Toluca!! After the Grand Parade 3:00pm – 4:30pm High Energy Classic Rock tribute band playing songs by Journey, Boston, Bon Jovi and more!! Features songs by Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Queen, Kiss, Styx, Led Zeppelin, REO, Rush, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Journey, Molly Hatchet & More This is the kind of magical entertainment that happens right in the hands of the spectator! Experience amazing impossibilities and shocking card mysteries! Be fooled as the magic happens right under your nose!! Toluca Labor Day Festival Entertainment on Stage @ Sud’s Friday September 1st American Pie Band 7:00pm – 10:00pm Saturday September 2nd Cloverdale Court 5:00pm – 8:30pm Sunday September 3rd “Magic by Cory” 6:00pm – 7:30pm Monday September 4th Genetic Code From Toluca!! After the Grand Parade 3:00pm – 4:30pm High Energy Classic Rock tribute band playing songs by Journey, Boston, Bon Jovi and more!! Features songs by Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Queen, Kiss, Styx, Led Zeppelin, REO, Rush, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Journey, Molly Hatchet & More This is the kind of magical entertainment that happens right in the hands of the spectator! Experience amazing impossibilities and shocking card mysteries! Be fooled as the magic happens right under your nose!! Toluca Labor Day Festival Entertainment on Stage @ Sud’s Friday September 1st American Pie Band 7:00pm – 10:00pm Saturday September 2nd Cloverdale Court 5:00pm – 8:30pm Sunday September 3rd “Magic by Cory” 6:00pm – 7:30pm Monday September 4th Genetic Code From Toluca!! After the Grand Parade 3:00pm – 4:30pm High Energy Classic Rock tribute band playing songs by Journey, Boston, Bon Jovi and more!! Features songs by Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Queen, Kiss, Styx, Led Zeppelin, REO, Rush, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Journey, Molly Hatchet & More This is the kind of magical entertainment that happens right in the hands of the spectator! Experience amazing impossibilities and shocking card mysteries! Be fooled as the magic happens right under your nose!! Toluca Labor Day WORK HARD PLAY HARD October 14th & 15th 2023 CITY-COUNTY PARK Princeton, IL Living history reenactment in Princeton Illinois! 24th SM-CL2094055 Sept. 23rd & 24th Fresh Vegetables Picked Daily - Bakery - Fudge - U-Pick Apples And Pumpkins - Fall Decorations - Winter Squash Corn Maze Apple Cannons Jumping Pillow Rat Racers Barrel Train Wagon Rides Pedal Cars Playground Apple Slide Bounce House Petting Zoo And More! $10 General Admission During Weekends from Sept. 16 to Oct. 29 Includes Access to Fall Activities Children 2 & Under Free of Charge Fall activities open weekends only! 12087 IL Hwy 71 • Granville, IL Enjoy some of the Great Events in the Illinois Valley!
MAGAZINE SM-CL2092573 2nd Annual Campfire Concert featuring Country Artist John King September 30th Weekend 901 N. 2129th Rd. • Tonica, IL • 815-442-8453 LET’S CONNECT Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins 4.9 705 Google reviews 670 reviews Book your cabin getaway at a quiet, rural oasis with outdoor fire pits and full kitchens. We are family owned and operated with over 35 years of hospitality experience. We know what it takes to make your stay exceptionally great! NEAR STARVED ROCK STATE PARK BOOK YOUR CABIN GETAWAY TODAY... AT KISHAUWAU CABINS! BONFIRE NIGHTS SCAN CODE TO SEE MORE Family Reunions Single Family Vacations Romantic Couples Getaways
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