Page 1




Mini Hikes for All Experience Levels


Weather +PLUS

50+ Outdoor Live Music Performances Go on a Zipline Adventure

Summer means time to saddle up for 4 county fairs in Starved Rock Country

Catch a

Movie Under the


Additional copies at 801 E. U.S. Highway 6, Utica 61373


Summer l Vol. 7 No. 2 May 2019 110 West Jefferson Street, Ottawa, Illinois 61350

18 32 36


Movies by Moonlight Starved Rock Country is home to one of Illinois’ last drive-in theaters

18 Route 34 Drive-In, Earlville

Fairest of Them All Family Matters: Check out 4 county fairs the region has to offer

It’s Time to Wreck and Roll Family Matters: Check out 3 demolition derbies at county fairs



MAPPED OUT: Find your way in Starved Rock Country





ON THE COVER Weston Cody tries to find a good viewing spot along a corral panel before the Broken Horn Rodeo begins at the La Salle County 4-H Fairgrounds in Ottawa. Each county in Starved Rock Country is home to an annual county fair featuring live animals, food, and special events like the rodeo and demolition derbies. Read more about this summer’s county fair offerings starting on page 32. Photo by Tom Sistak Starved Rock Country

Thinking of moving to the Starved Rock Country Area?

Call “Aunt”

Nancy Getson

Managing Broker





2535 E. U.S. Hwy. 6 Marseilles, IL 61341

Serving Will, Grundy & LaSalle Counties Summer 2019 3

8 Harborside Dining Among the Fields Good Taste: Red Dog Grill is nestled alongside Heritage Harbor, offering waterside meals among Illinois fields

12 Field of the Sunflowers Must See: See why a field becomes one of the region’s most photographed locations from July through Labor Day

14 Zip Up ... in the Trees Must Try: Take a zipline tour through wooded scenery in rural Marseilles

24 A House to Steel Your Heart Lodgings: This Airbnb rental could be unlike any place you’ve stayed before

38 Small Distance, Big Scenery You don’t have to hike long or rugged trails to find some of the area’s premier scenery — these 8 parks and trails prove it

45 Of Ash and Glass

Open April 10 through October 10

❍ Garden Center ❍ Arboretum ❍ Botanical Gardens

Open House & Hosta Walk June 7, 8 & 9

Made in SRC: A glass artist creates one-of-a-kind memorial keepsakes for lost loved ones

49 The Best Seat on the Lawn Free outdoor concerts abound in the summer — check out this list of 50+ places and dates to kick back and listen

54 Achievement Unlocked: Old-School Play Treasures: Take a break from the gaming consoles at home and try your hand at O-Nett’s arcade games

59 Look for Neon and Blinking Bulbs Signs of the Times: In the mood for a movie? Try Roxy Cinemas in downtown Ottawa ... just look for the sign

Each Office Independently Owned & Operated



2771 N. Columbus St. Ottawa • 815-434-3337 Email: 4 Summer 2019

• 4-Season Event Center • Seats up to 350 • Covered Patio • Brides & Groom’s Rooms • Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Site

and Princeton, Illinois • 815-659-3282 Starved Rock Country



Starved Rock Country magazine is published quarterly or seasonally four times per year. Shaw Media 110 W. Jefferson St. Ottawa, IL 61350 815-431-4019 Email photo or article submission queries to Copyright 2019. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner, without permission, is prohibited. Summer 2019 Edition

PUBLISHER Dan Goetz EDITOR Tammie Sloup ASSOCIATE EDITOR Derek Barichello PHOTO EDITOR Tom Sistak GRAPHICS AND DESIGN Julie Barichello PRODUCTION Rhonda Dillon CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brent Bader Julie Barichello Annette Barr Stephanie Jaquins Mike Murphy Charles Stanley Steve Stout Michael Urbanec CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Annette Barr Tom Sistak CONTRIBUTING ARTIST Charlie Ellerbrock

A Natural Pairing

Magazine and Website Complement Each Other


magine zipping through tree tops at speeds of up to 45 mph. Your legs dangle above the river valley as you’re propelled hundreds of feet, 85 feet in the air. There’s mixed feelings of exhilaration and fear as you zoom down the line, keeping an eye on the landscape below and your target ahead. And then you stop. Before the landing point. And you have no idea what to do. Staff writer Brent Bader found himself in this predicament recently as he tried out ziplining at Zip Chicago in Marseilles. If we’re going to write a story about ziplining, we might as well have the writer give it a whirl, right? It sounded like a good idea at the time. As Bader writes for his story: “Things began to slow down as I came closer to the end of the zip line when my greatest fear came to fruition – I stopped. “ ‘You’re going to go backwards now,’ said Adam Harris, one of my ziplining guides for the day. ‘But don’t worry, I’ll be out to get you.’ “True to his word, I began to slip farther back until I came to rest many feet from the end of the zip line, and around 75 feet above what looked to be a small creek. But it’s hard to tell when you’re trying your best to not look down.” Don’t fear! This story had a happy ending with Bader being rescued, but not before he took advantage of his down time by taking in all the natural beauty around him. “It was at this point I expected my fear of heights to kick in, but instead, I couldn’t help but take in the natural beauty of a blooming spring season and wonderment of

what the view must be like in the summer and fall,” Bader writes. And as a result of his adventure, we can give Starved Rock Country readers a firsthand look into ziplining at Zip Chicago — not only in the pages of this magazine, but through video that will accompany the article at and on our Facebook page. If you’d like to dig deeper into what Starved Rock Country has to offer beyond these magazine pages, I encourage you to visit our website, where you can peruse dining options, lodging information, things to do and special deals. The website is updated daily with feature stories and other information to help plan your trip to Starved Rock Country any time. You’ll also find videos from the area, including footage of our writer enjoying his zipline excursion, as well as video from the recent Morel Fest and Mash Up in Ottawa. Want information sent directly to your email? Sign up for our newsletter through the website! With this being our seventh year for the magazine — which is printed quarterly — we’re excited to expand our reach with the website, making it even easier to plan a trip with tips on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Ziplining is just one adventure in Starved Rock Country. As you’ll see throughout these pages, the area offers something for everyone. We’ll give you the map. You choose your path.


AMMIE SLOUP Editor Starved Rock Country Summer 2019 5










Red Dog Grill, 411 Great Loop East Drive, Ottawa, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Dine & Party at the Harbor | Good Tas te |

Red Dog Grill offers waterside dining, seafood cuisine and American favorites Story by Brent Bader, Photos by Tom Sistak

8 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country


hose looking for a light breeze and a breathtaking view to complement their meal can sail or drive over to Red Dog Grill at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa. The restaurant, nestled along the Illinois River and within the Heritage Harbor resort community, has become a popular stop for those looking to escape the trappings of eating establishments in business districts. Red Dog Grill instead fully embraces its unique loca-

tion, overlooking an active harbor and the many seafarers who utilize it. When weather is pleasant, it’s recommended to grab a seat right on the sheltered patio and take in all the view has to offer or, in the colder months, nestled up next to the restaurant’s cozy fireplace. “They love it and they keep coming back because they love the views,” said Rich Crum, director of hospitality at Heritage Harbor. “Even in the winter

Red Dog Grill’s deck offers diners a prime view of Heritage Harbor. Starved Rock Country 

time, you can see the eagles costing along the harbor.” Heritage Harbor Owner Tom Heimsoth said the building was first used as a picnic pavilion but evolved over time. They built a larger kitchen and remodeled the bar a couple of times before it was welcomed by the public. “It just worked out very, very well. It’s kind of become a go-to-spot for a lot of locals and certainly for all our residents that live here year-round or part-time and for our boaters it works out very well,” Heimsoth said. Crum said the restaurant has embraced its nautical theme with a wide assortment of seafaring items hanging on the walls from large boat helms to antique lanterns from Heimsoth’s personal collection. And that connection to the harbor extends to their menu items. Crum said guests looking for seafood fare need to try the Tuscan Salmon, which is Scottish salmon served in a Tuscan sauce with parmesan mashed potatoes, or the pan-seared sea-bass topped with orange beurre blanc and accompanied with parmesan risotto. Heimsoth said he personally leans toward the restaurant’s American cuisine, such as their Whiskey & Guinness Summer 2019 9

Burger, served with Guinness cheese, whiskey sauce and crispy onions, and the classic RDG Burger. Guests are also invited to bring their four-legged friends on the outdoor patio, as the name suggests. The aforementioned “red dog” is actually Heimsoth’s 12-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Sam, who is another frequent diner at the restaurant, and they’re looking to enhance their offerings for their smaller guests with a pet-exclusive menu on the horizon. The outdoor offerings also include the Tiki Bar for quick burgers or to try one of their many cocktails, as well as their latest addition, Knotts Landing, which is located right on the harbor. Yes, right on the actual harbor as Knotts Landing operates as a floating event space. The space will hold around 130 people and features a full bar. “So you won’t have to go anywhere. It’s all stationed right there on the harbor,” Crum said. Knotts Landing will be the site of their summer Artisans on the Water craft fair to be held once a month as well as a variety of musical sets including, most recently, Elvis Presley and Johnny

Diners can take their meal in air conditioned comfort indoors or eat harborside outdoors. Cash impersonators. “We’ve got different things for different folks,” Crum said. “Whether you’re just coming in for a quick bite and a nice set of music or if you want to jive the night away and dance to Elvis.” Heimsoth said many come to check out the harbor and take in the views, but they come back for the relaxing

and fun atmosphere. “A lot of people don’t know we’re here and when they discover we are here, they come back. It’s that special place,” Heimsoth said. “A lot of people come down from Chicago and there’s really nothing like this, at least in the suburbs,” he added. “So it’s S a great place to come and relax.” C R

1 Hour UTV Guided Tour Call For Details 815-795-5001 2681 E. Rt. 6 Marseilles, IL SM-CL1659328

10 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

SINCE 1848


The Illinois Valley’s Top Building Supplier For Over 6 Generations!






Starved Rock Country

Water Street, Peru | 815-223-1742

Summer 2019 11

Sunfl wers A Sea of

| Must See |

Story by Stephanie Jaquins, Photos by Tom Sistak


ast summer, Kelsey Adair and her boyfriend, Mike Smallberger, and their then-8month-old twins took a trip to Matthiessen State Park in Oglesby to hike. It’s one of the family’s favorite spots, but last summer they found another reason it’s ranked so high for them. The park is 1,629 acres, of which 60 acres are dedicated to sunflowers fields. “I was so excited when we saw signs for the sunflower field,” said Adair, of Peoria. “We jumped out of the car and ran over and took so many pictures. It was gorgeous.” Lisa Sons, natural resources coordinator for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said pictures on social media, blogs and web12 Summer 2019

sites are helping drive buzz on the flowers. “We get a lot of phone calls about the sunflower fields, because they saw a picture here or read about it there or a friend told them about it,” she said. The flowers begin to bloom in mid- to late-July and begin

to wilt by about Labor Day, depending on the weather, Sons said. The seeds were planted more than 25 years ago for the purpose of dove hunting. The field also attracts pollinators, such as bees, cardinals, blackcapped chickadees, seed-eating birds – such as doves – and

on the ground where the sunflowers provide shade, pheasants, deer, opossums and raccoons. Starved Rock Lodge Marketing Director Kathy Casstevens has given tours to international travel writers from all over the world who were amazed by the fields. “So it is a wow factor for us here in La Salle County,” she said. Casstevens, who also is a wedding photographer, said the sunflowers are also a popular backdrop for surprise proposals. “It’s an amazing asset to the county, I think, and something that makes people happy when you go there. You cannot help but be happy,” she said. “It just happens that at that time of year most days are sunny and the Starved Rock Country


SUNDAY BRUNCH 10:30 - 2:00


RESERVATIONS 815-433-2540 RT. 71 Ottawa, IL

After taking many photographs, Mike Smallberger and Kelsy Adair, of Peoria, walk past the 60 acres of sunflowers at Matthiessen State Park. Sunflowers bloom as far as the eye can see in the field managed for dove hunting.

Starved Rock Country



sky is this wonderful clear blue and the contrast, the yellow and blue, are the most complimentary colors. They’re beautiful together.” One of Casstevens’ favorite stories as a wedding photographer was taking a wedding party to the sunflower fields. “The bride’s mother had recently passed away. She had chosen the color of the sky for her bridesmaid dresses — that really beautiful sky blue — and then she chose sunflowers for the flowers for the girls and herself because that was her mom’s favorite flower.” The bride didn’t know about the sunflower field, so Casstevens brought the wedding party there for photographs. “She was just blown away. It was a wonderful, wonderful S R moment.”  C








Respect the park As beautiful as the sunflowers are, you cannot pick them. Leave the park as you found it for others to enjoy. Be mindful of the nearby radiocontrolled model airplane field. The best way to get to the fields without disturbing the hobbyists is to pull into the Matthiessen Vermilion River Area entrance, which is the second entrance heading south on Illinois 178. Drive all the way back, park and you’ll see a little shelter next to a fence. Walk to the left of the shelter and follow the trail back.

Hegeler Carus Mansion

Experience 140 years of living history… not view it through glass. Walk in the footsteps of philosophers, inventors, designers, architects, artists and writers through the same halls and on the same floors; untouched since our Mansion was finished in 1876. What stories will be written next? Come help us write our next chapter and let your footsteps be among the greats of the past.

Open to the public. Wednesday - Sunday ay 12, 1, 2, & 3 pm

Groups of 20 or more should reserve in advance to ensure availability 1307 Seventh St., LaSalle, IL 61301 815-224-6543


Summer 2019 13

| Mu s t T ry |

g n i y l f h

h C ip



o g a c i

t a fun

Journalist Brent Bader learns to zip line at Zip Chicago. Story by Brent Bader, Photos by Tom Sistak and Ryan Searle


Journalist Brent Bader gets ready to go zip lining for the first time at Zip Chicago.

14 Summer 2019

y hands were gripped tightly around my harness while the wind whisked past my face as I glided through the air and among the treetops at Zip Chicago in Marseilles. Things began to slow down as I came closer to the end of the zip line when my greatest fear came to fruition – I stopped. “You’re going to go backwards now,” said Adam Harris, one of my ziplining guides for the day. “But don’t worry, I’ll be out to get you.” True to his word, I began to

slip farther back until I came to rest many feet from the end of the zip line, and around 75 feet above what looked to be a small creek. But it’s hard to tell when you’re trying your best to not look down. It was at this point I expected my fear of heights to kick in, but instead, I couldn’t help but take in the natural beauty of a blooming spring season and wonderment of what the view must be like in the summer and fall. It’s a common sight for Manager Corban Flynn, who helped get me prepared for my zip line adventure. Starved Rock Country

p Alexis Olson, a Wisconsin resident, takes a zip line tour at Zip Chicago during a visit to Starved Rock Country. If you ask Corban how many times he’s been “zipping,” as those in the know call it, he’ll be quick with a quip and answer: “Oh, this is my first day,” as he prepares your harness, but in reality he’s been on the lines for four years. “The kind of excitement when you do it every day kind of fades away,” he said. “But the real excitement for me is our guests. Being able to meet different people all over the place and getting to know them personally.” I certainly gained a personal connection with my rescuer – Adam – who managed to zip over to my dangling body and tow me back to the ground as the other guests applauded. “First rescue of the day,” Adam said with a smile. “I don’t know about that. I just wanted some extra time on the line,” I answered to laughter. Guests offered their own advice as we walked to the Starved Rock Country 

next zip line. Some had only zipped for the first time an hour earlier but listed advice as if they were all professionals. They were brought up to speed quickly by guides. “It was exciting. I was pretty scared at first but it was fun. It was worth it,” said Alexis Olson, of Altoona, Wis., after the tour. She was on a family vacation and raced alongside Brody Hoover, who had zipped before. “I was also shy at first because ‘Oh it’s another zip line adventure’ but this place was awesome,” Brody said. “Way better than I thought it would be.” The park offers a shorter, two-line and two suspension bridge tour, as an introductory course as well as the longer, full eight-line course. “However, some people will get to that platform (at the end of the short course) and say, ‘Oh come on, let’s do the extra. Let’s go for it,” Corban said. “They get over their fears really quick.” And the fun doesn’t go down with the sun, the park also offers night zipping where guests can fling through the sky in the pitch black night air with only glow sticks attached their bodies. And Zip Chicago is one of those perfect places where someone can overcome those minor fears and safely push themselves into adventurous experiences. “I would just say keep calm and don’t worry about anything,” Corban said for initial advice. “Your guides do all the hard work for you. They clip you and unclip you. You don’t have to worry about anything. You’re just along for the ride and to have a good time.” Additionally, the park also offers guests UTV tours on a

300-acre park consisting of creeks, hills and ravines as well as “Archery tag” with low-strength bows and foamtipped arrows. The dual-racing lines was a popular stop for many on my trip, and a more successful experience for myself as I was able to go a little faster and make it to the end with some tips from my peers. Guests tried to race to the end with many taunting each other with exaggerated

Zip Chicago ADDRESS: 2681 East Route 6, Marseilles PHONE: 815-795-5001 WEBSITE: zipchicago. com FACEBOOK: ZipChicago1 HOURS: Call the office or visit their website to make reservations in advance. Summer 2019 15

waves and faces. Matthew and Jennifer Ohrvall, of Chicago, looked for a thrilling vacation away from the kids and they found it as they raced each other on the dual-line course. “He cheated!” Jennifer said with a laugh. “He was supposed to wait and I was supposed to get a head start.” “I’m too competitive,” Matthew added with a smile. After the tour, many stop by to ask Corban about other offerings in the area and he points out other local restaurants and attractions. Corban said Zip Chicago is often the main stop for many who book zips in advance and then commute to other communities afterward. And guests are also welcome to meet with the company’s four-legged mascot Scout. The Border Collie was a rescue from Peoria and could help dog-lovers ease their nerves as well as offer addi-

Jennifer Ohrvall, of Chicago, zip lines during a vacation in Starved Rock Country.

tional encouragement. “She’s the real boss,” Corben adds. It certainly helped with my experience and Corban said I’m not alone. Many consider Zip Chicago as a

first-time zip line experience as well as a place for adrenaline-junkies looking for their next big adventure. “Everyone is looking for something fun to do,” Corban said. “They see us and they

come out and they’ve never been zip lining so they come here from Chicago or even other states and they’ve always wanted to go so they’re crossing it off their bucket S list.” C R

                 

     

16 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 17

Before the night’s film feature lights up the screen, the grassy field is a popular place to play. Families can arrive early to pick a prime parking space, then let the kids burn off energy with outdoor play.

Pack up the car, kids and pets and take a trip back in time at

The Route 34

Drive-In Story by Steve Stout, Photos by Steve Stout and Tom Sistak


n 1958, when I was 5 years old, my father took me in my pajamas to the Galesburg Drive-In Theater. There, munching mouthfuls of popcorn and candy, I watched my first outdoor movie. Of course, I have no memory what was playing or much else about that night, but I do remember at one point my dad took me inside the projection booth, where I stood in awe of giant film reels and spinning alien machinery. Since that moment, I have 18 Summer 2019

been fascinated with film and movies. That same year, according to industry statistics, there were more than 4,000 outdoor drive-in movie theaters in business throughout the United States. Today, according to industry sources, there are fewer than 400 still beaming illuminated images over parked cars in all but three states. If you were to ask local outdoor movie enthusiasts, one of the best ones you can find — a real nostalgic throwback

to the 1950s — sits in Starved Rock Country’s own backyard: The Route 34 Drive-In Theater outside Earlville. The idea of watching movies from a parked automobile originally came from Richard Hollingshead of Riverton, N.J. In 1933. Hollingshead had an idea to combine America’s passionate love affairs with cars and movies. He nailed a white sheet between trees and mounted a projector onto the hood of his driveway-parked car. His invited neighbors, thrilled with the unusual out-

door movie show, filled his yard with cars, chairs and blankets. Granted a U.S. patent later that year, the enterprising Hollingshead experimented with parking arrangements and outdoor sound equipment, resulting in his hometown opening the first drive-in theater outside nearby Camden. Like his driveway experiment, it was an immediate success. Hollingshead’s outdoor film presentation blueprint soon was duplicated across the nation as drive-ins popped up Starved Rock Country

Catch a classic cartoon before the night’s double feature begins.

in communities both large and small. American moviegoers loved the novelty of lounging, snacking, even smoking in the privacy of their own vehicles while enjoying double features for low prices. Catering to young suburbanites, most ran second-run features or independent horror flicks. Some featured live music, pony rides, fireworks, playgrounds and others, miniature golf. Attendance soared as the emerging teen culture adopted the theaters as their Starved Rock Country

own. Couples found the lure of privacy in dark cars away from their parents too much to resist, thus earning some theaters the pseudonym, “passion pits.” Families flocked to driveins. Kids would wear pajamas. Moms didn’t need to dress up or even wear makeup. And, at many, house pets were welcomed. As drive-ins became seemingly instant American icons, the industry hit its peak in the late 1950s when there were reportedly 4,063 drive-

Visitors buy tickets at a drive-up hut along the gravel driveway. The drive-in accepts only cash; no credit or debit cards can be used. Summer 2019 19

ins open in the United States. Illinois, at that time, had 120. The state now has nine. The 1960s also were good years for the outdoor movie business. However, in the 1970s, soaring real estate prices around metropolitan areas made it increasingly expensive for drive-ins to remain commercially viable. The wide expansions of land become valuable to sell while modern entertainment innovations — color TV, VCRs, and video movie rentals — all chipped away customers and profits from the seasonal theaters. Across America, they began to fade to memories. But not in Earlville. The Route 34 Drive-In has been showing open air movies since the late Charlie Dyas first opened it in 1954. Ron Magnoni

z The Route 34 Drive-In concessions shack sells light meal foods like burgers, corn dogs and pizza, as well as traditional moavie snacks like candy and popcorn.

Jr., who got his passion for the movie exhibition business from a father who managed theaters throughout the Illinois Valley, has owned and operated the Earlville business since 1993. As any true connoisseurs would tell you, the heart of any drive-in is the concession stand, and Earlville’s snack bar is no exception. Regulars know the food found at Magnoni’s counter is outstanding, with high marks for the corn dogs, nachos, pizza, shrimp dinners and the classic Green River soda on tap and in bottles. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May to October, the Earlville Drive-In can squeeze almost 350 vehicles throughout the grass lanes. The drive-in is cash only. No credit cards are taken. Little has changed over the last 55 years on the exterior of the drive-in, but there have been changes in the projection booth. Gone are the massive, carbonarc lit projectors that held spinning reels of movie film for

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Est. 1997

815-433-2400 8 1 | 1321 LaSalle Street | Ottawa tawa I-80 to Exit 90• Rt. 23 South 2 Miles s 20 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

decades. Magnoni recently installed state-of-the-art digital equipment that now throws crisp, bright images onto the screen. Many of the old-fashion speakers still work in most of the rows, but the movie’s soundtrack is broadcast in stereo via FM radio transmission. Magnoni said he had to buy the digital equipment to keep up with the changing film industry and to ensure his business retains access to first-run movies. “I miss working with film reels,” Magnoni said and laughed. “It seems like I do not have enough to do without them.” He said “The digital projector is working out great for us and, if we have good weather without much weekend rain this summer, we hope to have another good season.” Regular drive-in patrons Grace Crossman, of Peru, her 11-year-old daughter,

Some moviegoers watch the screen from their cars — either with windows rolled down to hear from the speakers on site or by tuning into an FM radio station to stream sound with the windows up. Other moviegoers bring lawn chairs and sit in the open.

Nestled in a cove, surrounded by native forest, wetland, and farm field, just above Redbud Creek and the Fox River, there is an unusual garden center that every gardener, nature lover and curious individual simply must visit.

While we are a garden center with awesome Perennials, Annuals, Herb & Veggie Plants, Plus Shrubs & Ornamental Trees we have the Big Barn store with a large selection of garden & nature related books, gift items, and many locally made treasures. The Potting Shed is our Fairy Store with an incredible offering of fairy garden accessories.

Join Us! Annual Summer Garden Festival Saturday, June 15 • 10am - 3pm

Not too big—just right, Several Quality Local Crafters with home/ garden art & accessories, jewelry, Univ of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners to help with gardening issues, & Tasty Fresh Grilled Lunch items by Newark H.S. FFA, Plenty of Parking, FREE

Fairies, Elves & Pixie Dust, Tuesday, June 11 • 10am-4pm

Our Annual Fairy Day, Many Fairy-themed play activities, Face Painting, Fairy Garden Workshops, Lunch Truck on the premises, Plenty of Parking, Activities are FREE (pay only for items you use if you choose to create your own Fairy Garden)

Plan a trip to the farm, visit us on Facebook or our Website:

“ Where Inspiration is Always in Bloom”

Starved Rock Country


Located in the country along the Fox River,

2930 N. 4351st Rd. 5 miles south of Sandwich, 5 miles NE of Sheridan. (Google Maps can get you 815-496-9400 here—or call—or message us)

Summer 2019 21

Ruby, and young son enjoy visits to the Earlville drivein. They go several times each season. Crossman believes the time spent at the outdoor theater creates unforgettable experiences and the mom explained she enjoys the “family time together” going there. She said, “The Earlville Drive-In makes for good memories for a pretty low price. It is a real piece of Americana. You just can’t beat it. We love watching movies here.” During a recent visit, Ryan Chambers played a game of catch with his son, Christopher, before sunset and the start of the movies. Christopher, 8, said he loves going to the drive-in. “We can see the movies here before they come out on DVDs,” he said. “We can sit in the car and chill with the family and sometimes, with friends.”

Route 34 Drive-In moviegoers can park beside a pair of speakers (shown above), then wait for the sun to set and the film to begin. Christopher’s mother, Kim, said she remembers her folks taking her to the Earlville movies. “Coming here always reminds me of my childhood.” A few speaker poles down the lane, Chris and Amber Evans, of Spring Valley, watched their children, Trinitee, Addison and

Jackson run up and down the green lanes in a race in front of the giant screen. “My parents brought me here when I was a kid,” Amber said, “so my husband and I always to come to Earlville for family adventures. I’m sure our kids will remember being here like I do with my folks.” Watching his kids tripping

and falling in the soft grass, Chris said going to a regular show is so expensive these days. “Here at the drive-in, we can bring our own snacks and get comfortable by taking seats out of our van and get cozy with the kids under blankets. Hanging out with the family doesn’t get any better than coming here.” As I jot down notes and thoughts for this article watching families set up lawn chairs and blankets, I pause to stand outside my car for the National Anthem, which Magnoni plays nightly to start every show. Many others throughout the green acreage, young and old, stand with hands over hearts. Back in the car, I grab some popcorn, sip from a sweet Green River soda and settle in for an exciting double feature. And, for a moment in my mind, I’m 5 years old again, in my PJs, watching a driveS R in movie with my dad. C


Start your adventure at the I&M Canal Visitor Center

Gift Shop & Cafe Healthy fresh breakfast, lunch & tea. Housemade scones, soups, and desserts. Locally roasted coffee and specialty teas.


Located in historic downtown LaSalle

22 Summer 2019

754 First St. • 815-223-1851 visit us at

Starved Rock Country

Live Bands of All Genres Every Weekend, Friday-Sunday

Dockside Bar & Grill

Open Tuesday-Sunday 11a-1a

Starved Rock Country


Scenic Riverfront Bar & Grill nestled on the north bank of the Illinois River in historic Ottawa IL

1001 E Main St. Ottawa • 815-324-5191

Summer 2019 23


| Lodg i ngs |


Lustron Home offers unique place to lodge Story by Charles Stanley, Photos by Tom Sistak


f all of the places to stay in Starved Rock Country, there’s nothing that quite compares with the Lustron house in tiny Grand Ridge (population 560) located between Ottawa and Streator. The two-bedroom all-steel house at 315 W. Main St., with its distinctive porcelainenameled steel panels, rents $145 plus fees per night through the online lodging broker, Airbnb. It’s one of 2,500 of the houses built to house the families of servicemen discharged after World War II. Most of the homes are still standing and 50 are on the National Register of Historic Places. They were designed by Carl Strandlund (18991974), an inventor born in Sweden who grew up in Moline. The kit homes of some-3,000 pieces were shipped to their sites and 24 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

assembled on cement slabs. Lustron homes first started going up in 1948. But when Strandlund’s plant in Columbus, Ohio, could not keep up with its projected production, the financiers foreclosed and operation ceased in 1950. The “Surf Blue” Lustron Home in Grand Ridge is a “Westchester Deluxe” model believed to have been built in 1950, said Karen Meagher, who bought the house with Starved Rock Country

her sister, last year. “We grew up five houses down from it and we always just loved it because it was so adorable,” she said. When it went up for sale last year the sisters discussed buying it. “We knew the previous two owners who had lived there until they passed away,” Meagher said. “We thought ‘If we don’t get this now we may never get a chance.’ So we put in a bid and got it.”

The sale price was just over $62,000. “On a whim we thought people might want to rent it, so we put it on Airbnb to see if we would get any nibbles and it’s been well received,” she said. First they did some fixing up. There was a new electrical

service installed and new carpeting throughout. The stainless steel sink was replaced with a more period-correct white enamel model. “One room had been painted pink,” Meagher said. “We just couldn’t deal with that so we painted it a nice neutral color.” Summer 2019 25

The bathroom also was updated. The original tub remains but the toilet and sink are new, as well as the wood door. Lustron homes feature pocket doors, but the original bathroom door had become inoperable and was replaced with an accordion door which did not offer full privacy. “Other than that everything else is pretty much original,” Meagher said. The home has been decorated with mid-century furniture that match’s the era the house was built. Most of the guests have been visitors to Starved Rock State Park. But there also are locals who rent the house to accommodate overflow guests in town for family events. To rent the Grand Ridge Lustron home visit Airbnb. S R com. C

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Tent areas available for large events.

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Call today for more information or to schedule a private viewing! Beautiful grounds offer unique photo settings. SM-CL1649636

26 Summer 2019



LOCATED 5 MILES NORTH OF I-80 ON 251 THEN 1.5 MILES EAST ON N. 35TH RD. Starved Roc Starved Rock Country

Spring Valley Boat Club


Serving Lunch Monday thru Saturday 11a-2p

Daily Specials Great Burgers, Soups, Sandwiches, Salads and Wraps Kids menu available.

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Summer 2019 Calendar of Events

May 31st


July 21st:

-June 2nd:

Weekend and Annual Breakfast

Pat Sobin Annual Breakfast

August 23rd:

Chicken Fry

July 19th:

Chicken Fry

August 24th:

Steak Fry

July 20th:

Steak Fry

August 25th:

Pat Sobin Annual Breakfast

Call 815-664-2609 | 13862 Il Highway 89, Granville, Illinois

Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 27

Map out your trip around Starved Rock Country

Route 34

Illustrations by Charlie Ellerbrock


North 39th Road

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway Spring Valley

Depue Lake

Turner Lake



Route 23



Route 251

Interstate 39



ve r

Route 18


d Roa nty Cou 0 East 170

East 15th Road


Drive across Princeton’s Red Covered Bridge

28 Summer 2019

Grand Ridge

Ve r


County Road 750 East County Road 1300 North

Lake Senachwine

Starved Rock State Park Matthiessen State Park

County Highway 89

Route 29

H County

County Road 500 North

Dee Bennett Road

Hulse Lake

Illinois River

ock ad uffalo Rark B eP t a t S

ig Ro


La Salle Peru

Route 71

Goose Lake


Route 6 Koen

Route 23

Spring Lake


North 33rd Road

Route 178

Interstate 180


East 8th Road

Interstate 39

Interstate 80

dro We


Route 251

Route 52



North 42n


ay hw H ig

County Highway 26

ty un Co

ad t y Ro Coun East 1950

4 e3 ut

East 12th Road


Route 92

Route 23

Route 34

Route 17

Take a ride on a mule-pulled canal boat (lasallecanalboat. org)

Go disc golfing at Marilla Park’s 18-hole course in Streator

Visit the cliffs and canyons of Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock Country


ive r


Fox R





r ive xR Fo Road



nd Road

R 1st

7 te ou

Newark Road

North 41st Road Newark

Sheridan Route 52

County Highway 25

ut e7 Ro County Highway 15


Interstate 80 Route 6


i Sta te P a




ana an C

g ichi

er s Riv



Interstate 47



Marseilles Seneca


La Salle County Nuclear Station Cooling Lake


County Highway 6

County Highway 5 East 27th Road


Route 18 East 24th Road


Route 17 Int ers tat e5


We e offer: •S State approved boating cllasses free to the public •B Boat safety checks •V Visitor Center for the Illinois and Michigan Canal, a National Heritage Corridor N • Listed in Illinois Wildlife and Nature Viewing Guidebook N •S Special programs for groups •T The best view of Starved Rock State Park R • Bookstore with Canal and River History Items



Catch a double feature at the Route 34 Drive-In theater (Read more on page 18)

Take a zip-line tour through the trees with Zip Chicago (Read more on page 14)

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY Beer Garden starting at 7:30 PM SATURDAY AND SUNDAY Crafter’s Marketplace and Flea Market featuring 200+ vendors in handmade crafts and unique merchandise. Grand Parade at 1 PM on Sunday, August 11th. FREE, delicious, hot, buttered Del Monte sweet corn Sunday at 2pm! For full entertainment schedule: SM-CL1652572

Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 29

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| Fa m i ly M atters |

Daniel and Rebecca Doloski pose for a photo at the Exhibit Barn during the 2018 La Salle County 4-H Fair in Ottawa. The fair features dozens of photo-worthy opportunities.

Open Your Eyes at the

4-H Fair Story by Annette Barr, Photos by Tom Sistak


alking through the thick grass toward the collection of white Morton buildings and wood barns, it’s a common sight to see young denim-clad children in mud-covered cowboy boots hustling to their next event or lining up for an ice-cold lemon shake-up.

32 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

Every July the 4-H Fairgrounds in Ottawa, just off of 4-H Road, come to life as participants from throughout La Salle County vie for a blue, red or white ribbon in a wide range of project categories from livestock to robotics. “We have a strong representation from each of the 16-plus clubs, and we get thousands and thousands of exhibits,” said Toni Pienta, 4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator. 4-H is a nationwide community for children ages 8 to 19 that has provided experiences for young people to learn by doing for more than 100 years. A more recent off-shoot called Clover Bud, allows 5- to 7-year-olds to participate but not

compete at the fair, as well. “What it provides for the youth is a learning opportunity to master a skill and acquire advanced knowledge and establish a sense of belonging,” Pienta said. Traditionally 4-H’ers join a local club where they attend meetings focusing on community service and involvement, workshops and project activities among other areas of interest. In addition to community clubs there are now a number of special interest clubs that have developed in the last five years focusing on one specific interest such as photography. Pienta said this has attracted some kids who may not have been involved in

t A highlight of county fairs is the junior show, in which youths show livestock including cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and more, as well as handmade and home-grown goods. Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 33



Kris Lager Band June 21 p The La Salle County Fair annually features the Broken Horn Rodeo. This year’s rodeo is at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the county fairgrounds. 4-H previously or thought that it was only about agriculture. “Agriculture is the foundation, but we are progressive and advanced. We do STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and robotics and photography and food,” Pienta said. In addition to viewing the various exhibits, including wood working and sewing, and walking among the livestock, fair goers can take in special events including a rodeo, truck and tractor pull and a demolition derby. The theme of this year’s fair is “Saluting 4-H in America.” In addition to the fairgrounds being decorated by club members in patriotic colors, a memorial wall honoring veterans both past and present will be displayed in one of the buildings. Also, all veterans and current military personnel will receive free admission to the fair on Thursday, including the rodeo.  “We do get feedback from people who just happened to be in the area and got to experience the animals …They get to see the broad range of what 4-H is,” Pienta said. “(The fair) opens their eyes to the opportunities that the youth are participating S R in, and they also have fun.” C

County fairs in Starved Rock Country Starved Rock Country’s 4-H fairs, or county fairs, offer something for everyone – from the 4-H contests, agriculture displays, rodeos, tractor pulls and other entertainment.

Evan Webb Band July 3

Mike and Joe Band July 19

Phanie Rae and the Soul Shakers

August 16

American English Band September 5

Bourbon Aristocracy September 28

n For the Bureau County Fair in Princeton, scheduled for Aug. 21-25, visit n For the Grundy County Fair in Morris, scheduled for July 3-7, visit n For the La Salle County Fair in Ottawa, scheduled for July 10-14, visit n For the Marshall-Putnam Fair in Henry, scheduled for July 10-14, visit 34 Summer 2019

Main Street Princeton in front of the Prouty Building 5-9 pm Starved Rock Country


— for the —


Located less than two hours from Chicago, it’s hard to believe that stunning scenic overlooks, majestic canyons and seasonal waterfalls are waiting for you to explore their beauty. All of this and historic Starved Rock Lodge are nestled within Starved Rock State Park located near Utica, Illinois. Why wait for the weekend? Escape to Starved Rock!Take our suggestion and book a midweek getaway.You’ll find a greater sense of peace and quiet than you would on the weekends.Kick back and unwind in the indoor pool, hot tub and sauna or schedule a therapeutic,hot stone massage. At Starved Rock Lodge, the past is powerfully present in the warm, old-fashioned hospitality that has never gone out of style. It’s been the hallmark of this charming destination since guests first stepped through the doors back in the late 1930’s. Built by the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the ambiance of yesteryear is still present in the Lodge and cabins. Outdoor adventure awaits with a hike to the top of the Rock being first on the list of fun things to do. Add a river cruise aboard the Eagle I with lunch or dinner included in your ticket price. Hike the trails on your own or go with an experienced guide like Geology Joe. He’ll tell you fun facts and turn your walk in the park into a wonderful memory. A wide variety of midweek overnight packages are available from “History on Horseback” at Cedar Creek Ranch to the “Hops & Hideaway” option which lets you try craft beer at Tangled Roots Brewing Company. Starved Rock Country


Celebrate a special occasion and toast to it with Starved Rock Bubbly or visit August Hill Winery and see why their award-winning wines are among the best on the market. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner in the Main Dining Room. Outdoor dining on the Veranda combines great food with the best view in LaSalle County. There’s no better way to learn about the rich past of Starved Rock than on a Historic Trolley Tour (offered daily from June-October).One of the most popular activities are the musical tribute shows in the Great Hall.These matinees are paired with a delicious lunch buffet.From Nashville to Broadway,the talented vocalists will take you on a nostalgic walk down memory lane when you attend a “Tribute to the Stars” performance. Call the friendly staff toll-free at (800) 868-7625 or visit the Lodge website to learn more: W H E R E T H E PA S T I S A LWAY S P R E S E N T T M Summer 2019 35

| 2688 EAST 873 ROAD | OGLESBY, IL 61348 | (800) 868-7625 | RD

| Fa mily M atters |

Story and photos by Annette Barr



Donelson, of Hennepin, work on their t’s a cool spring evening as the sun cars — a 1963 Ford Thunderbird and a begins to set on the lush greenery and timber lining a country road in 2001 Lincoln Town Car respectively — about 10 hours a week in Passini’s rural Hennepin. A warm yellow light shop next to his house. glows from the open garage door as the Although both men are at a loss for sound of metal on metal pierces the words when probed to describe being calm air. Ash, a golden colored lab, is in the driver’s seat. Their big grins, ready to greet visitors with a low growl however, offer a clue. even as she sidles up for a quick ear Most Friday nights throughout the scratch. A bumper lies where a fourth spring and summer include family and car could be parked. A sledge hammer friends hanging out in the shop, relaxstands on end, ready to beat a fender or ing on the couch and hood into submission. visiting as the two “I watched my prep their cars for a older brother do it derby. A car usually once, and I wanted to makes it through one, do it,” Tony Passini n Marshall-Putnam maybe two derbies said of demolition Fair Grounds, Henry, before it is scrapped derby. Friday, July 12 at 7 p.m. and all usable parts For about six years including the engine Passini has been n La Salle County and possibly the transbuilding cars and 4-H Fair Grounds, Ottawa, mission are pulled for competing in area Demolition Derby, Saturday, July 13 at 7 p.m. the next project. demolition derbies, “Most people go out including those at n Bureau County Fair to dinner on a Friday fairs throughout Grounds, Princeton, night. We get together Starved Rock Country Demolition Derby, and work,” said in Henry, Princeton Saturday, Aug. 24 at 5 Passini after he and Ottawa. He and p.m. reminds his 7-year-old his buddy Matt

Starved Rock Country demolition derbies

p Tony Passini works on a derby car’s bumper.

36 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

p A collection of derby trophies sit on a counter in the shop. t Matt Donelson and Tony Passini discuss plans for Donelson’s 2001 Lincoln Town Car in Passini’s shop in rural Hennepin. Donelson’s dog, Ash, relaxes in the background. son Adam that it’s time to go take a shower and put on his pajamas. There are usually anywhere from three to five classes at each derby. Both guys compete in the Open Wire Class, meaning there is no limit to the 9-gage wire a participant can use on his car. For example, the wire can be used to tie the trunk closed or secure parts. They both hope to step up to a Weld Class, which includes more fabrication and a bigger investment in time and money. Passini estimates having about $8,000 tied up in his car. “You’re not only out there wrecking a car. There’s a technique to it. We do something that doesn’t work, we aren’t gonna do it again. There’s a lot of secrets,” Passini said of learning from each derby and finding advantages within the rules. It’s the wrecks that seem to be a big draw for spectators. “That’s one of our biggest Starved Rock Country

crowds that night, and they come from all over,” said Mary Jane Spinazola, La Salle County Junior Fair Board member, of the annual demolition derby at the La Salle County 4-H Fair in Ottawa. “All the crashes, they love to see. And we spray the track so mud flies everywhere. It’s just the adrenaline rush. It’s just so much fun to watch them.”  Fresh from his shower, Adam clomps back into the shop with his space-themed pajama pants shoved into thick rubber boots. He’s excited to show off some of the trophies he’s added to the collection in the shop. Adam has competed in Power Wheels demolition derbies for kids. “I like when they crash,” Adam said through a smile that reached his eyes when asked what he likes about demolition derby.  Passini said with a bit of a chuckle, “The whole goal is to be in it at the end, but I’m not S R very good at it.” C

g Fetchin’s Frieda

PET RESORT Doggy Daycare Boarding • Grooming Training • Pet Taxi Pet Supplies


Home of Paws Forever Pet Rescue 238 3rd St. • LaSalle • 815-220-8300 1850 E. 1325th Rd. • Streator • 815-673-2069 Summer 2019 37

Small but Mighty

HIKES Trail systems that are short on distance, high on scenery and experiences Story by Julie Barichello, Photos by Steve Stout and Tom Sistak


ot all hikes are created equal. And that’s a good thing. Starved Rock Country is a region best seen on foot, and it boasts some of the state’s premier hiking — famously, the 13-mile trail system at Starved Rock State Park and the 61.5-mile mega-trek of the Illinois & Michigan Canal towpath. But you can’t judge a hike by its length. Some of the region’s smaller trail systems are packed with nature and attractions for hikers of all experience levels to enjoy. Whether you’re in the mood to discover a lot of scenery in a short amount of time (and distance), looking for a small dose of nature between other activities, or hunting for easy trails for the youngest members of a family, there are options for everyone. Consider adding some of the following mini-hikes during your visit.

38 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

Dayton Bluffs Preserve

SPRING LAKE NATURE PARK 1413 E. 16th Road, Streator From the moment your feet crunch into the parking lot’s gravel, you can hear the water. That’s the call of the falls. Spring Lake Falls is among the park’s best-loved and most scenic locations — and it’s less than a two-minute walk from the car. A short hike along a grassy path and over a wooden bridge opens onto a rocky waterside where hikers can view the gently sloping sandstone-formation waterfalls. The falls are accessible through a simple stroll, but for more adventurous visitors, the park features a system of 12 trails, most of which are half-mile loops or shorter. Spring Lake Nature Park’s trail system is an ideal option for families seeking easy access to nature. Six of the trails are mostly level, which are easy for young children to travel.

Spring Lake Falls

Where is the lake? Despite the park’s name, there is no lake at the nature area. A spring-fed lake once existed in the area, and in the 1800s a dam was constructed to maintain the water level for commercial ice production in pre-refrigerator years. When ice was no longer a commercial venture, the dam was dismantled, creating the park’s current system of meandering streams and falls. The swinging bridge at Spring Lake Nature Area crosses Eagle Creek.

Spring Lake Nature Area is a familyfriendly hike for all ages — and dogs are welcome, too. 40 Summer 2019

For families with older children or adults, there are additional trails with steeper inclines, such as Overlook Trail or the narrow, sharpdescending Beaver Run path. The uphill climbs to ridges and overlooks can be accomplished in less than two minutes, with the rest of the trail on level ground. A highlight of the park is its swinging bridge. Like the falls, the bridge is accessible within a short walk from the parking lot. The shallow waters of Eagle Creek can be seen through the slats of the bridge, which bounces underfoot as hikers cross to reach six of the trail loops. Creek-crossers should be aware: The swinging bridge

comes with a set of three rules. No. 1, no more than two people crossing at a time; No. 2, no running; and No. 3, absolutely no bouncing. On the trails, hikers will quickly and frequently encounter the two W’s: woods and water. Eagle Creek snakes in and out of the 37-acre nature area, repeatedly crossing paths with visitors. The wooded areas are home to more than 85 bird species, as well as deer, foxes, coyotes, beavers, snakes, frogs and wild flora. Hikers shouldn’t miss out on a photo opportunity with Spring Lake’s mightiest flora, which has its own trail. Big Tree Trail loops around a

more than two-century-old cottonwood tree, which lives up to the name Big Tree. Horses and bikes can be ridden on the trails, and leashed dogs are welcome at the park, which is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Portable bathroom facilities are available in the parking area.

DAYTON BLUFFS PRESERVE 2997 Route 71, Ottawa From the moment you turn onto the gravel road threequarters of a mile from the Interstate 80 exit, you’ll leave behind the sense of city and interstate. Once you step out of the car and embark onto the trails, Starved Rock Country

you may instead discover a sense of the sacred. The approximately five-mile trail system of Dayton Bluffs Preserve provides a trifecta of prairie, woodlands, and historical significance. Sunny trails branching off from the parking lot outline acres of open prairie, which eventually branch into the preserve’s 154 forested acres. It’s along the narrow dirt paths of the woods where hikers can commune with history rooted deeper and older than the surrounding trees. Dayton Bluffs is home to Native American burial mounds along the preserve’s northwestern ridge trail. The path leads through tree cover and foliage, eventually opening up to a view of the Fox River to the left and 14 burial mounds to the right. It’s an area worth hiking slowly — an unknowing eye moving too quickly can mistake the more than 1,000-year-old mounds as

rolling landscape and miss them on a first pass. A trail loop at the park’s northeastern edge also introduces hikers to another patch of hallowed history: the Daniels Cemetery, a pioneer cemetery dating back to the 1830s. A picnic table and rest area are located near the site. Other than mowed paths through the prairie, the scenery has a sense of being largely untouched. Hikes taken shortly after rainfall reveal far more deer, fox and coyote tracks than human footprints. Wildflowers and flora also grow close to the trails — the preserve has more than 160 species of plants. Like Spring Lake, Dayton Bluffs offers a waterside view. The preserve’s steepest trail leads from the burial mound site down to the river. The river trail also can be accessed from the south, which has less extreme elevation. The park features five water cascades

along the southern trails as well. Dayton Bluffs is a more rugged hike than Spring Lake, with some narrow trails, steep treks, ridges and ravines. However, the trails pose only a moderate challenge to older children and adults — the preserve can be hiked in a morning or afternoon with time to spare. Leashed dogs are welcome at the preserve. A portable bathroom is available in the parking area. Dayton Bluffs is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Pro tip Be sure to pick up a Dayton Bluffs trail map at the parking lot. Some side trails are easy to miss among the scenery, so the map comes in handy for navigation.

ECHO BLUFF PARK 12641 County Road 3065 East, Spring Valley Looking for a place to explore for an hour or two between activities? Echo Bluff Park is the place to hike. Tucked away on a winding country road off Route 29, the park spreads over a thickly

Hikers at Dayton Bluffs Preserve can walk grassy trails with prairie to one side and woods to the other.

Dayton Bluffs Preserve offers rustic wooded scenery and a bluffside hike along the Fox River. Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 41

wooded 60 acres. Winding among the trees are almost four miles of wide, packeddirt paths. For families with children or for groups wanting to stroll side by side, this park is prime option with easy to moderate hiking. Echo Bluff takes hikers immediately from the parking lot into the woods. Once adventurers step onto a path, options unfold. The park’s layout gives hikers a chance to take short loops following one trail into the woods and returning to the parking lot via another connecting trail, or to delve deeper among the trees. Novice hikers or those who want to set a slower pace will find the trail system hospitable. Echo Bluff has several clearings that offer benches to rest, and the majority of trails are flat or feature only mild elevation. To add a twist to a hike, visitors can go to the park’s Snack Shack and pick up clues for the Letterbox Trail challenge, in which hikers can hunt for hidden boxes throughout the park. During dry conditions, mountain bikes also are welcome on the trails. The park also provides a disc golf course, as well as a zip-line course when certified instructors are on duty. Echo Bluff is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, or weekdays by appointment. For more information, call 815 447-2115.

LAND AND WATER PRESERVES A person in the mood for a short, rugged hike through dense woodland can tackle a few miles of trail in two of the region’s state preserves. SANDY FORD LAND AND WATER PRESERVE northwest of Streator offers a more challenging trail that takes hikers 42 Summer 2019


The wide, packed-dirt trails of Echo Bluff Park offer easy hiking for all ages and abilities to view wooded scenery. to the banks of the Vermilion River. Known for its wildflowers, the trail cuts through the heavy tree cover on the river’s eastern edge. The entrance along North 18th Road, locally known as Leonore Road, can be easy to miss. Those traveling westbound from Route 23 will want to watch their odometers. The gravel parking area is 3.1 miles down the road; if you cross the Sandy Ford Bridge, you’ve gone too far. For eastbound travelers, the Sandy Ford Bridge is a sign you’re nearing the entrance. Motorists will pass East 1391st Road on their right; immediately after will be the entrance to the land and water preserve on the left. MILLER-ANDERSON WOODS STATE NATURE PRESERVE, a few miles southwest of Echo Bluff Park, offers a narrow, ribbon-

marked trail that leads to the top of a bluff. The payoff is a panorama of some of Starved Rock Country’s richest wetlands, which attract a variety of waterfowl. A small gravel parking area is available on 670 North Avenue (also known as Kentville Road) 0.6 miles from Route 29. Across the road from the parking area is a trail entrance. Both preserves have steep portions on their trails that may not be suited to younger S R hikers. C

Watch the signs Visitors should pay attention to signs posted at the state land and water preserves. Certain times of year, the sites are closed to hikers and open only to hunters. Due to spring turkey season, the locations are closed to hikers until May 15.

FOX RIVER WALK, OTTAWA: This paved path stretches from Ottawa’s botanical downtown, through Fox River Park, to the Illinois & Michigan Canal towpath. The River Walk, which can be accessed from the western end of Jefferson Street downtown or from Fox River Park, curves along the banks of the Fox River, north of its confluence with the Illinois River. The park features disc golf, a playground and a splash pad. The 0.9-mile walk is wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly. HOPALONG CASSIDY TRAIL, STREATOR: The 1.47-mile trail begins at a trailhead park on the corner of Broadway and Madison streets, then follows the Vermilion River into light woods within city limits, ending at West First Street. (There is no parking at the First Street trailhead, so it’s best to begin at the Broadway Street park.) The packed-dirt path leads through several sunny areas with wildflowers and pollinators, as well as shaded wooded stretches that include a scenic footbridge over a creek. The trailhead park includes restrooms, a playground and exercise equipment. BAKER PARK, PERU: The man-made Baker Lake features a 1-mile loop around its banks. The paved path is easy for walking and jogging and also is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly. The park also offers fishing, picnic areas, a playground, shelters, restrooms and a soccer field. A parking lot is available along Chartres Street.

Starved Rock Country

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Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 43

UTICAinois Ill

WEL COME to North Utica Filled with a rich history and built on tradition. Our town is full of great places, wonderful people and amazing things to see. With a slow pace but plenty to do, Utica makes for a great place to visit for the day or long weekend. So come on, stop on by when you’re passing through, you’ll find out you’ll want to stick around. Visit a town where it feels like home. MAY 18 Sip & Snip MAY 25 & 26 Wild Bill Days JUNE 8 & 9 Utica Garden Faire JUNE 29 Block Party JULY 5 Utica Fireworks

– POPULAR EVENTS – Aug 17 & 18 Porkfest AUG 24 Craft Beer Festival SEPT 21 & 22 Vintage Illinois Wine Festival OCT 13 Burgoo (50th anniversary)


OCT 17 Witches Night Out NOV 3 Veterans Day Parade & Canal Connection 5K NOV 30 & DEC 1 Old Fashioned Christmas in the Village

Starved Rock State Park Illinois & Michigan Canal & State Trail Buffalo Rock State Park & Lodge Heritage Corridor Visitor’s Bureau Illinois Waterway Visitor Center LaSalle County Historical Museum Matthiessen State Park

44 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country The Village of North Utica • PO BOX 188 • Utica, IL 61373 • 815-667-4111

Memories Preserved in Glass Story by Charles Stanley, Photos by Tom Sistak


t Starved Rock Hot Glass, what comes in as a tablespoon of cremation ashes leaves locked forever in a glass memorial to a loved one. “Cremation Glass” has become a very in-demand type of art for Laura Johnson, the owner/artist of the small combination hot glass studio and school immediately west of downtown Ottawa. “Basically, I take crematory ashes of loved ones and fuse them inside the glass Starved Rock Country

for a one-of-a-kind memorial keepsake,” she said. The finished shapes typically are round or heart-shaped paperweights, but twisty ornaments and neck pendants also are among the options. Prices range from $80 for large paperweights to $35 for round swirl pendants. “I never set out to work with ashes,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know anything about it. The first time I did it was after Summer 2019 45

someone came in with the idea.” And then, she said, “The requests just literally exploded. I did some advertising and I started getting orders from all over the country.” On a typical day, Johnson will create from one to three of her custom cremation glass pieces. While many of the ashes arrive in the mail, many others are delivered to her shop by relatives of the deceased. ADDRESS: 700 W. Main St., Ottawa That has required PHONE: 815-313-5445 skills stuWEB: starvedrockhotglass. dents don’t com learn at art HOURS: Tuesday to school. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; “I’ve had Saturday,11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; to learn Sunday, appointment only; how to help closed Mondays with grieving families,” she said. “It’s not easy for them to open the urns and take out the ashes.” There also are emotions when the finished glass works are collected. “I sometimes get people who cry when they pick them up,” Johnson said. “For me, that’s very fulfilling to see people so moved by what I created for them. It’s something beautiful and unique, and it requires only a very small portion of ashes.” Starved Rock Hot Glass has been open since 2009. Johnson, a 2005 graduate of Ottawa High School, was introduced to the craft of hot glass when her high school senior art class took a field trip to the annual

Starved Rock Hot Glass

46 Summer 2019

Glass artist Laura Johnson uses crematory ashes to create memorial keepsakes.

Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair in Chicago. Entranced by the craft of hot glass, she took instruction from an accomplished glass blower in downstate Farmer City while attending the University of Illinois. After her first year, her father, Jeff Johnson, purchased what originally had been a Mobil gas station at 700 W. Main St. and the two of them began

Artist Laura Johnson uses a furnace to create molten glass to shape.

remodeling it. By the time Johnson graduated from college in 2009, the building had been converted into a modern studio and workshop with an industrial look. The display studio is in the old office and the service bays were converted into the workshop. Besides creating her own artwork, Johnson also started offering classes. They have been popular. But due to the cremation glass orders, classes have decreased. “I’ll always do teaching,” she said. “But now I do it mostly on Saturdays and just one or two days each week.” Classes are $75 per person for a group of two to six people. Appointments are required and classes are typically booked several months in advance. Even so, Johnson still sets aside time to pursue her own creations. The latest involve a mixed media concept. “My new thing is incorporating driftwood and glass together,” she said. “I blow the glass over the driftwood to kind of give the shape and then sell it as S R planters, vases and candle holders.” C Starved Rock Country

Red Dog Grill


Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 47

Shop, Explore Beautiful


Award Winning Games, Toys & Books

712 LaSalle St. • Ottawa • 815-433-4233 •

Largest Selection of Gourmet & Imported Cheeses 1219 Fulton St., Ottawa


815.433.7323 See Us At Our New Location, 719 LaSalle St. Ottawa

Mon-Sat 8:00am to 7:00pm • Serving Lunch & Supper


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.

Also Available:

• Yoga • CBD Products

• Essential Oils • Shopping Therapy

48½Summer 2019St. Ottawa, IL • 815.343.2751 310 W. Main

T- TH: 4-10, FRI & SAT: 11-10 1012 NORTH LASALLE ST. OTTAWA, ILLINOIS Starved Rock Country

STARVED ROCK LODGE Music on the Veranda features live outdoor performances on Starved Rock Lodge’s veranda two nights a week. The free music events are 8 to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Labor Day Weekend. Find the monthly updated list of performers at activity/back-door-loungeveranda-music.

Summer in Starved Rock Country means it’s time to

Face the Music Compiled by Mike Murphy; Starved Rock Country photos

In Starved Rock Country, there are plenty of places to enjoy free live music on a summer night. Guests are advised to bring lawn chairs.

LA SALLE Hegeler Carus Mansion, 1307 Seventh St., will continue its annual “Music at the Mansion” concert series, 6 p.m. Fridays on the lawn of the historic house ( s June 7: Reverend Hellbilly s June 14: Last Call s June 21: Al and Jeannie Brown s June 28: Henry Torpedo Boys

Starved Rock Country

s July 12: Steve N’ Steve s July 19: Katie Belle and the Belle Rangers s July 25: Cody Calkins s Aug. 2: Crossroads s Aug. 9: 3 Day Weekend s Aug. 16: Written Warning

MORRIS The lawn of the Grundy County

Courthouse, 111 E. Washington St., will be the site of the following 6:30 p.m. Thursday concerts, sponsored by the city of Morris ( s June 6: The Neverly Brothers s June 20: Jonathan Devin and New Country s July 18: River Road Trio s Aug. 1: The Sting Rays s Aug. 15: The Del Bergeson Orchestra

Summer 2019 49

Music in the Park, Ottawa



Tangled Roots Brewing Company will sponsor concerts beginning 6 p.m. Fridays in Washington Square on Jackson Street between Columbus and La Salle streets ( s June 21: Ryan Wotherspoon s June 28: Steve Sharp s July 5: The Woods Brothers s July 12: Katie Belle and the Belle Rangers s July 19: Althea Grace s July 26: Kevin Presbrey Duo s Aug. 9: To be announced s Aug. 16: Moon Lasso Band s Aug. 23: Paddy’s Favorite Sons s Aug. 30: Dan Farrell For the 20th consecutive year, the Special Events Committee of the city of Ottawa will present its annual Music in the Park series 6 p.m. Saturdays in Washington Square on Jackson Street between Columbus and La Salle streets (pickusottawail. com): s July 6: The Sting Rays s July 13: The Kramers s July 20: Mary and The Troublemakers s July 27: Second Hand Soul s Aug. 3: Paul Windsor’s Alter Ago s Aug. 10: Generic Goodies Band s Aug 17: Bopology s Aug. 24: Ray’s Rockets s Aug. 31: The Classix

“Down on Main Street” will run 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays in front of the Prouty Building. Activities will be sponsored by Princeton Tourism, and Friday, July 19, the event will offer Z Tour bicycle ride preregistration as well and food and drink vendors, children’s activities and the live music ( s June 21: Kim Lager Band s July 3: Evan Webb s July 19: Mike and Joe Band s Aug. 16: Phannie Rae and the Soul Shakers s Sept. 5: American English s Sept. 28: Bourbon Aristocracy

50 Summer 2019

Art Walk and Makers Market Sip ‘N’ Shop Cocktail Tasting Creator’s Village Children’s Activities Shine Music Fest Vinyl Record Experience Art Crawl ARTchitectural and Historical Home Tour Music, Dance, Food ...and MUCH, MUCH MORE!


The Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce Invites You to the Communities of Marseilles and Seneca

STREATOR Jammin’ at the Clock, a downtown music fest, will feature a variety of old favorites and new talent 6 p.m. Fridays at the corner of Monroe and Main streets ( s June 7: Polka Boys s June 14: River Rats s June 21: Sugar Creek s June 28: Quentin Flagg s July 5: The Shattertones s July 12: Vintage Swing s July 19: Kickin’ (No Pickin’) s July 26: The Templetons s Aug. 2: Grace Community Worship Team s Aug. 9: River Road s Aug. 16: The Valley Katz s Aug. 23: Smokers Blues Band s Aug. 30: David Majestic

Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall, Marseilles The Seneca Area History Museum, Seneca Illini State Park, Marseilles The LST Memorial, Seneca The I&M Canal Hiking and Biking Path, Marseilles & Seneca See more at, call us at (815) 795-2323, or, stop by the Caboose at 135 Wasington St., Marseilles, IL 61341 SM-CL1653552

Starved Rock Country

Welcome to Downtown Morris Located just 60 minutes southwest of downtown Chicago Illinois offers the amenities of its more metropolitan suburban neighbors along with small-town hospitality and charm. Come to downtown Morris and enjoy a fun day shopping for unique gifts, enjoying our restaurants and tea room, and enjoying outdoor activities. Make memories and have fun with your friends or your family as you shop, dine and enjoy!

Gourmet Flavored Popcorn • Fudge • Petersen’s Ice Cream Gellato • Chocolates • Bulk Candy • Bavarian Nuts Jelly Bellies • Gourmet Coffee • Nostalgic Candies And so much more!

108 w. Washington St. Morris, Il • 815-942-1003


Jane and Stu Kerr


309 N. Liberty St. Morris, IL 60450 (815) 942-5093


A unique gift shop stocked from top to bottom with eclectic gifts




B rianna L ynn’s



Fine Women’s Apparel & Accessories

Upscale Boutique Specializing in Quality Clothing and Accessories Monica Brehm Maureen A Headrick Diana L. Watters, Manager Starved Rock Country

215 Liberty Street Morris, Illinois 60450 815-942-1514

Ponds ~ Nursery ~ Landscaping Commercial & Residential 1565 W. Rte 6 Morris IL 815-942-2235 Great Selection of Unique Annuals, Perennials, Roses, Shrubs, Trees and Garden Decor SM-CL1658806 Summer 2019 51

e r o l p Ex e c n e i r e p x E y o j n E URBAN Soak Shoppe

Upscale Handmade Artisan Gifts & Soaps 306 E Main Street, Streator, IL

Unique gifts, soaps, bath & body products. Paint Parties & Classes All made by local artisans in the Illinois Valley! Find us on Facebook!

20% off Your Total Order!

Must Present This Coupon! Expires Aug 29, 2019


52 Summer 2019




A market of makers, gifts and gatherings for you and your home. Hours: 10-5 Tues-Fri 10-3 Saturday


fiNE fiELD POTTERY 215 E Main Streator, IL

Bromley & Brown Boutique

Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 53

308 E. Main St. • Streator

| Treas ures |

O-Nett Gaming owner Kyle Wilkinson plays a vintage arcade game.

START Here on a Quest for Fun Enter the Arcade at O-Nett Gaming Co. Story by Michael Urbanec, Photos by Tom Sistak


n the days before home consoles and smartphones ruled the gaming scene, arcades were the go-to for kids after school. When home consoles began having arcade gems like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Pac-Man available in the same form as they were at the arcades it put a dent in their viability. O-Nett Gaming Co. opened in Ottawa in December 2011 when owners Kyle Wilkinson and Ryan Burk decided to extend their lifetime hobby of collecting Nintendo Entertainment System games into a business. They now have the building formerly belonging to the Ottawa Knights of Columbus stuffed full of old video games, trading cards, arcade machines and pinball machines. “The arcade brings in new customers and when we started we just had the Star Wars arcade machine,” Wilkinson said. “That one arcade machine wasn’t going to get people into the door by itself so we searched eBay and Craigslist to find more.”

54 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

The arcade at 215 W. Washington St. features classics like the aforementioned Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, but its crown jewel is its pinball machines. Wilkinson called the pinball machines his favorite part of the store. “When we went to the Midwest Gaming Classic a year ago, I found a Space Jam pinball machine and I knew I had to have it,” Wilkinson said. “It’s by far our most popular pinball machine.” “We’ve grown quite a bit since the Madison Street days,” said Wilkinson, referring to the arcade’s previous location in downtown Ottawa. “We had a lot more space to fill when we moved into the K of C.” O-Nett also hosts parties for $50 per hour and $25 for each additional hour, as well as providing day passes for

Starved Rock Country

Take the fun home by shopping for video games, consoles and gear.

$6 per day. They also have a $12-per-month Gamer Pass that lets holders use the arcade any time they want

within business hours. The store doesn’t just feature an arcade: O-Nett also specializes in the resale of

pre-owned retro games, offering classics like the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Sega Genesis and many other consoles no longer available in retail stores. O-Nett is open from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m. Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. O-Nett isn’t the only retro arcade in Starved Rock Country. Clutter: Joysticks at 115 W. Washington St. in Morris hosts an even older style of arcade machine. Co-owner Tyler Oswald starting collecting machines again after moving to the Starved Rock area for work, abandoning some of his originals back in Allentown, Penn. “My wife opened this place so she could start selling vintage stuff and I thought my arcade machine hobby lined up with that,” Oswald said. “I started buying more and more machines and I would just leave them on free play in our back room.” The back-room arcade Summer 2019 55

ended up being more of a hit than Oswald expected, with older patrons getting nostalgic over the cocktail-style Asteroids machine sitting in the center of the room and children learn the ins and outs of classics like Centipede and Street Fighter 2: Turbo. “When we first started, I thought I would get a lot of dads here while their families are out shopping,” Oswald said. “Instead, I get a lot of kids wanting to play the oldest games.” Joysticks hosts tournaments as well and Oswald said he’s surprised by how even the competition is. “When we did Smash Bros. the first time we had a lot of older kids show up and of course they wiped the floor with all the younger kids that showed up,” Oswald said. “But when we did Mario Kart 8, we had a way bigger crowd

and the winner was an 8-yearold kid who couldn’t believe it.” Oswald isn’t shy about playing games with the customers who come in and the machines remain on free play for anyone who comes in. He said the money comes in from the sales at the front of the store, where they sell things like taxidermy items, punk rock buttons and other knickknacks different than customers would find anywhere else. “I wanted to create something like this for Morris,” Oswald said. “I know there’s stuff like the Galloping Ghost (Arcade and Museum in Brookfield) and that’s nothing I’ll be able to compete with, but I knew a smaller selection is something that would interest people around here.” Clutter Joysticks is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. S R Sundays. C

Open Thursday thru Sunday

249 East Route 71 Cedar Point, IL 61316

Open 7 Days A Week 11AM to 4PM Call for reservations

Open Year Round!

Open Year Round!

Call 815-446-4017 249 E. IL RT. 71 Cedar Point, IL 61316


56 Summer 2019

Starved Rock Country

Uncork A Great Time At Clarks Run Wine & Beer Wine Beer T Tasting asting R Room, oom, Live Live M Music. usic. Now Now SServing erving You You A Att 2 LLocations. ocations.

Clarks Run Antiques 215 N. Division St., Utica • 815.667.7190 Quality unique crafts, antiques and gifts. TASTING ROOM Enjoy our wonderful wine and beer selection. Hrs: Monday-Saturday 10-5; Sunday 10-4

Clarks Run Creek Wine & Gifts 143 Mill St., Utica • 815.691.8047

Utica’s Best Kept Secret Gifts & Wine, Bourbon and Specialty Drinks Rent our upstairs room for special events. Bachelorette Parties, Birthdays, or Showers Hrs: Sun, Wed, & Thurs 12-7, Fri & Sat 12-9, Closed Mon. & Tues.

For Upcoming Events and Live Entertainment Schedule, like both Locations on Facebook!

737 First Street • Downtown LaSalle, 61301 • (815) 342-2555

HOURS: Wednesday - Friday 12 – 6 Sat. 10 – 6 | Sun. 12 – 4 6,500 square foot wonderland of vintage, white, rusty, shabby, industrial and mid-century finds • Salvaged doors, windows, trim, beams, barn wood • Stockist for four lines of milk, clay, lime, & chalk-based paint including Pure & Original and Iron Orchid Designs SM-CL1649391

Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 57

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Starved Rock Country

From An Era Gone By Story and photo by Annette Barr


ince the 1950s the marquee above the Roxy Cinemas has been advertising blockbusters from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” to the most recent Marvel Comic-based film, “Avengers: Endgame.” Although the downtown Ottawa theater has been around for quite some time, Kyle Mitchell, director of theater operations with parent company WK Cinemas, said that when he painted over a yellow epoxy coating the metal sign a couple of years ago he estimated the current marquee was installed sometime during the 1950s. He said the epoxy was popular with signs during that era. Prior to this he said the marStarved Rock Country

quee used to jut out over the sidewalk similar to art deco marquees built in the early 1930s. “I always loved these older signs. I was really disappointed a couple of years ago when the Sands Motel (in Ottawa) took down their sign,” Mitchell said of the former neon sign featuring an hour glass. “It’s from an era gone by, and it’s sad to see it all fade.” Currently the only changes to the marquee being discussed are changing to LED bulbs. “It does take regular maintenance. Those bulbs sure do go out quick,” Mitchell said. As for the sign, “we love S R it. The owner, Mark, he really loves it.” C

| Signs Of T he Times | SIGNS OF THE TIMES features eye-catching and historic signs sprinkled throughout Starved Rock Country. But what’s the story behind these striking signs? What makes them unique? This feature shares the historical significance of these signs and how they’ve become deeply rooted in our communities.

Summer 2019 59

DINE IN • CARRY OUT • CATERING • VENUE Voted #1 BBQ in North Central IL



Starved Rock Country


1920 4th St | Peru Pet friendly outdoor seating 815.780.8275 [Restaurant] | 815.202.2986 [catering/venue]

Tacos Burritos Enchiladas Quesadillas Sizzling Fajitas

Sizzling Fajitas Steak Chicken Seafood Vegetarian

Daily Lunch Specials Margaritas Specialty Drinks

Open Daily O i at 111:00 1 000 A AM 4387 Venture Dr. Peru, IL. 61354


60 Summer 2019


Starved Rock Country

SM-CL1647665 SM-CL1647665

Grilled to Perfection

Prime Quarter Steakhouse

“Grill Your Own” Tonight! THE


• Live Hickory Charcoal Grills • Choose from 9 Cuts of USDA Choice Steaks • 22 item Unlimited Salad Bar • A Reader’s READERS Choice CHOICE AWARDS for EXCELLENCE Favorite



250 Backbone Road East, Princeton Just south of Interstate 80 • 815-872-3500

Open Monday - Friday 5 PM - 10 PM; Lounge Open at 4 PM, Saturday 4 PM - 10 PM Sunday 4 PM - 9 PM; Lounge Open at 3:30 PM on Saturday & Sunday

SM-CL1649630 Starved Rock Country

Summer 2019 61

Things To See & Do Plan your trip in Starved Rock Country

MAY 24-26


PARK FEST, Streator City Park, outdoor festival featuring carnival, entertainment, food, craft, vendor booths and live music,

LOCK 14 KIDS FISHING TOURNAMENT, Lock 14, Illinois & Michigan Canal, La Salle,

25 STARVED ROCK COUNTRY BREW FESTIVAL, Jordan block, Ottawa, over 60 unique American craft beers, live music and local food,

7-9 OTTAWA 2 RIVERS WINE FESTIVAL, Jordan block, wine, food, lobster and jazz, OPEN HOUSE AND HOSTA WALK, Hornbaker Gardens, Princeton, business.

8-9 GEBHARD WOODS DULCIMER AND TRADITIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL, Goold Park, Morris, UTICA GARDEN CLUB FAIRE, downtown Utica, huge plant sale and craft faire,

14 CRUISE NIGHT, downtown Ottawa, vehicles on display, music, and more, pickusottawail. com.

14-15 MORE ON 34, miles and miles of sales, Route 34 from Aurora to Galesburg,

15 ILLINOIS MOTORCYCLE FREEDOM RUN, pancake breakfast, motorcycle run, dedication ceremony at Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial, Marseilles,

26-29 SENECA SHIPYARD DAYS, downtown Seneca, historic displays and tours, music, carnival, and more, “Seneca Shipyard Days” on Facebook.

27-July 4 STREATOR’S 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION, carnival, food, vendors, beer garden, fireworks,

28-29 SPRING VALLEY FAMILY FUN DAY/SUMMER FEST, Kirby Park, carnival, beer garden, music and more, 62 Summer 2019

Hornbaker Gardens

JULY 10-14 LA SALLE COUNTY 4-H SHOW & JUNIOR FAIR, La Salle County Fairgrounds, livestock shows, rodeo, fine arts exhibits, and more,

11-14 MARSEILLES FUN DAYS, Knudson Park, car cruise, food, bands, fireworks.

18-20 LIBERTY ARTS FESTIVAL, downtown Morris, art, music, theater, dance and activities for children and adults,

20 Z-TOUR BIKE RIDE, Princeton, Zearing Child Enrichment Center bike ride, multiple routes available,

27 SIDEWALK SALES, downtown Morris,

AUGUST 8-11 SWEET CORN FESTIVAL, downtown Mendota, carnival, parade, queen pageant, Starved Rock Country

Ottawa Cruise Night, June 14

vendors, flea market, food booths, beer garden and bands,

17-18 PORK FEST, Utica, games, beer tent, music, and hot-off-the-grill pork chops and pork burgers that give the fest its name,

17 SVHA CLASSIC CAR, TRUCK & MOTORCYCLE SHOW, 200 block of Paul Street, Spring Valley,

21-25 BUREAU COUNTY FAIR, Bureau County Fairgrounds, Princeton, livestock and horse shows, Lil’ Wrangler Rodeo, fine arts exhibits, and more,


ONGOING ARTISANS ON THE WATER, Heritage Harbor, Ottawa, displays of handcrafted arts, candles, wreaths, soaps, jams and jellies, jewelry, crochet and more; live music and food, the third Saturday in June, July and August. Starved Rock Country

HISTORIC TROLLEY TOURS of Starved Rock State Park and surrounding area, Starved Rock Lodge, Utica. 800-868-7625, ext. 386, WATERFALL AND CANYON TOURS, Starved Rock Lodge, Utica. 800-868-7625, ext. 386, MULE-PULLED CANAL BOAT RIDES, Lock 16 Visitor Center, 754 First St., La Salle, 815-220-1848, “THE AMAZING RACE,” Starved Rock style, select dates beginning in May, Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, 800-868-7625, ext. 386, MORRIS CRUISE NIGHT: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturdays June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12 on Liberty Street in downtown Morris. DINNER AND EVENING CRUISE on Belle of the Rock, June to September, 815-2207386, LAND AND WATER CRUISES, June to September. See Starved Rock from the water on an authentic paddlewheel boat, 815-220-7386, starvedrocklodge. com. DOCKSIDE BAR AND GRILL, Ottawa, hosting over 70 worldtouring and local musicians all summer at their riverfront venue. Visit their Facebook page for details.

The Voice of Starved Rock Country Streaming LIVE at

Streaming at SM-CL1657513

Summer 2019 63

O tt a


wa, Illi May 2019


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Starved Rock Country


Young riders enjoy the dips and turns aboard the Dragon Wagon during the annual summer Lions Club Carnival in downtown Ottawa.  Photo by Tom Sistak

Starved Rock Country

Offering Fine Art from Pop to Photography, African Art and Antiques, signed Pottery and Glass from European and American artists and a selection of home accessories from Jonathan Adler and others. We also offer Custom Picture Framing. All items come with a full history of the designer/ artist and includes free installation in your home of framed pieces.

722 LaSalle Street Ottawa IL 61350 (815) 386-5533 Hours

Wed - Fri: 10 am - 6 pm Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm

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Starved Rock Country Magazine_Summer 2019  

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