WINTER 2013-14


Illinois’ Hidden Lincoln Gems
Dig deep into presidential history at Lincoln’s New Salem and other sites throughout the state
Featuring the best of Illinois for our rural, urban and suburban partners

This Issue at a Glance
3 2 4

Thank you for such an attractive and informative edition of Partners [Fall 2013]. What an appealing cover and articles! We had lived in Peoria and Wayne City for some years before our move to Florida. The orchards and crops featured were a reminder of the bounty Illinois has enjoyed for years. Good reporting and photography were in abundance.
Mr. & Mrs. C. Eugene Phillips, Ocala, Fla.




Correction: Page 15 of the fall issue misidentified the location of McHenry County. It should have read “the northwest region of Chicagoland.”
Notice of Annual Meeting

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


1. Peek into the past at Lincoln’s New Salem State Park in Petersburg page 20 2. Strap on your snowshoes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle page 7 3. Follow along with the Field Moms’ Pen at a farm in Lanark page 18 4. Attend a Thanksgiving dinner with thousands of friends in Moline page 12 5. Discover two miles of dazzling lights in Quincy page 30 6. See bald eagles, explore the Underground Railroad and more in Alton page 14 7. Catch the annual Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show in Marion page 31

Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the members of the Illinois Agricultural Association will be held in the Palmer House Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, on Saturday, December 7; Sunday, December 8; Monday, December 9 and Tuesday, December 10, 2013 with the official meeting of voting delegates convening at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 9, for the following purposes: To receive, consider and, if approved, ratify and confirm the reports of the officers and the acts and proceedings of the Board of Directors and officers in furtherance of the matters therein set forth since the last annual meeting of the Association. To elect a President and Vice President, who shall also serve as directors, for a term of two years. To elect nine (9) members of the Board of Directors to serve for a term of two years. To consider and act upon such proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation or to the Bylaws of the Illinois Agricultural Association and upon such policy resolutions as may be properly submitted. For the transaction of such other business as may properly come before the meeting.
Illinois Farm Bureau


8 Rails, Rivers & Roads
Improved infrastructure stands to strengthen state’s status as a key transportation hub


12 Mr. Thanksgiving’s Dinner
Bob Vogelbaugh hosts annual holiday feast with nearly 3,000 guests

14 River Retreat
Fascinating history and natural wonders draw travelers to the Alton area

Every Issue
Modern-day farmers rewrite storybooks

20 Hidden Lincoln Gems
Dig deep into presidential history at attractions throughout the state

What do farmers do in the winter?

Get ready to retire

Pig farmer opens up conversations about animal care

Celebrate the season with presidential desserts

Consider choosing and planting a live Christmas tree

Winter festivals during December, January and February
ON THE COVER Photo by Jeff Adkins Re-enactor Ed Schultz gets into character at the Robert Johnston Residence at Lincoln’s New Salem, a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood.


Watch videos, read stories and browse photos at

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

Content Director Jessy Yancey Content Coordinator Rachel Bertone Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Contributing Writers Charlyn Fargo, Jessica Mozo, Jan Phipps, Martin Ross, Joanie Stiers, Lorraine Zenge Creative Services Director Christina Carden Lead Designer Stacey Allis

Farming isn’t the only career in agriculture. Discover other ag-related jobs that may surprise you on our website at .

Creative Services Team Becca Ary, Jackie Cuila, Laura Gallagher, Alison Hunter, Kacey Passmore, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Matt West Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Photography Team Jeff Adkins, Michael Conti, Brian McCord, Wendy Jo O’Barr, Frank Ordoñez, Michael Tedesco Videography Team Mike Chow, Mark Forester Web Creative Director Allison Davis Web Team David Day, Erica Lampley, Nels Noseworthy, Jill Ridenour, Richard Stevens


I.T. Director Daniel Cantrell Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Senior Graphic Designer Vikki Williams Ad Production Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Controller Chris Dudley Accounting Diana Iafrate, Maria McFarland, Lisa Owens County Program Coordinator Kristy Giles Sales Support Manager Sara Quint Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Sr. V.P./Operations Casey Hester Sr. V.P./Agribusiness Publishing Kim Holmberg Sr. V.P./Agribusiness Sales Rhonda Graham Illinois Farm Bureau Partners is produced for the Illinois Farm Bureau by Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-5557. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Illinois Farm Bureau Partners (USPS No. 255-380) is issued quarterly by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Ave., P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, IL 61702 and additional mailing offices. The individual membership fee of the Illinois Agricultural Association includes payment of $3 for a subscription to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners. Farm. Family. Food.™ is used under license of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL, 61702-2901.
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grow, cook, eat, learn


Please recycle this magazine

Browse holiday recipe ideas at


Illinois Farm Bureau

Joanie Stiers, a wife and mother of two, writes and works on a farm in west-central Illinois. At least five generations of her family have made farming a livelihood.

Changing the Story
Modern-day farmers rewrite children’s storybooks
And we love raising our kids on the farm. Yet our family We soon will travel “over the river and through the runs a business out here that is larger, higher-tech and woods to Grandmother’s house.” And we will sing the more managed than Great-Grandpa could have imagined. song in our 266-horsepower minivan. It’s a fun little We produce more than perk of life near a small river. twice the corn per acre than The coming holiday season we did 50 years ago. Our preps our farm family for We take a minivan, not a horse, family’s combine, a machine multiple gatherings around to Grandma’s house. And we use used for harvest, picks 16 rows farmhouse and small-town satellites, not soil markers, to plant of corn at once. Most of the kitchen tables. We exchange our crops straight. men have commercial drivers’ stories, laughter and delicious licenses and haul our corn and potluck-style meals soybeans with semis. Site-specific soil tests drive decisions sometimes made with home-preserved foods. We still for fertilizer application. Long, tall, metal-sided buildings find plenty to talk about, even though we share some of store our equipment. We buy seed in bulk containers these dinners with the people we work alongside daily. rather than 50-pound bags. And the biotech seed in those You feel grand when a snapshot of life seems it could containers produces plants that require fewer crop adorn an idyllic holiday card. Like any sentimental being, protection products. we cherish those moments. They feel nested in tradition – The only livestock within our family farm provide warm and full of love. kid projects or hobby businesses. Smartphones offer It seems too often that the vision of a farm stays instant access to weather forecasts and market wrapped in a similar package, too. I hear on occasion how information. Women share managerial roles in the people believe farming and farm life replicates the classic farm. Some of us earned bachelor’s degrees in addition children’s storybooks. But we take a minivan, not a horse, to the knowledge passed onto us from farming fathers to Grandma’s house. And we use satellites, not soil and mothers. markers, to plant our crops straight. And we don’t plow our fields. That practice ended Farming’s evolution correlates with that of today’s about 30 years ago to conserve our soil. households. Our methods of transportation and But we’re the same passionate people with farming at communication have changed. We have greater access to least five generations deep. We choose to be part of this education and technology. Our viewpoints on parenting profession. We maintain a commitment to family, a love have adapted with the times. Same with the farm. In for the land and faith in the future. reality, only small parts about the farm visually match We still find farm life fit for a warm and fuzzy storybook. the storybook description. The narrative just needs anecdotes of modern-day Sure, traffic is slow. Sunsets are gorgeous. We can see marvels to make it accurate. stars at night. The landscape radiates calm and peace.

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llinois farmers produce close to 3 million turkeys a year.


A Win for Winterization
As you look to winterize your home, consider going green. Soy-based insulation, paints and finishes can help make your home more environmentally friendly and possibly safer. Soy products often are more biodegradable and contain fewer potentially harmful compounds than conventional products. Bedford Park’s All Comfort Insulation Inc. is one of a growing number of businesses offering soy spray foam insulation. Homeowners can ensure wintertime curb appeal – and safety – by using deicing products such as corn-based calcium magnesium acetate or Ice Ban, a natural liquid concentrate derived from ethanol production. Find links to green options on our website at

Turkey may be eaten most often for Thanksgiving, but over the past 40 years, more Americans have enjoyed this protein year-round. In fact, in 1970 we consumed 50% of all turkey during the holidays, but today that number has dropped to 31%, as more people now eat it throughout the year.

U.S. farmers produce about 250 million turkeys annually.


The average turkey purchased for Thanksgiving weighs 15 pounds.




The heaviest turkey ever recorded weighed 86 pounds.


What Do Farmers Do in the Winter?
No, most farmers don’t take off for the winter. They still find plenty to do throughout the chilly season. Farmers use this time to check and ready their equipment for hard work in the spring. Some may also haul corn, soybeans and other harvested crops from on-farm storage to processing plants, where they may be converted to other products or exported overseas. Winter also offers plenty of time for farmers to catch up on bookkeeping and tax preparation and to place seed and fertilizer orders for the spring. They can attend agricultural trade shows and meetings, where they’ll learn about the latest technology and equipment.
Illinois Farm Bureau

The average American eats 16.1 pounds of turkey per year.


The U.S. consumes an average of 16.1 pounds of turkey per person, per year, and turkey ranks as the NO. 4 protein choice for American consumers. The turkey sector employs between 20,000 and 25,000 people in the United States.
Sources: National Turkey Federation, National Agricultural Statistics Service



Snow Day
Looking for a fun way to enjoy the beauty of winter with your family? Visit the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, just west of Chicago, for 3.5 miles of groomed ski trails, ideal for snowshoeing. Snowshoeing consists of wearing specially designed shoes that distribute your weight evenly, allowing you to walk on top of snow without breaking through it. When there’s at least four inches of snow on the ground, the arboretum staff encourages visitors to bring their own snowshoes and explore the grounds from 7 a.m. to sunset. For more information, visit

Rudolph the Chicago Reindeer
You may know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, but did you know that everyone’s favorite red-nosed reindeer got his start in the Windy City? In 1939, Robert May, a copywriter for the then-Chicago-based Montgomery Ward department store chain, received an assignment to create an animal-based story that the company would send to its customers for the holidays. He penned a tale about a reindeer, an animal already associated with Christmas. However, his boss rejected his story of the red-nosed animal. May stayed at it and eventually convinced his superior to embrace the story, though the character remained nameless. He tried out a couple of “R” names, including Rollo and Reginald, before finally deciding on Rudolph. Ten years later, songwriter Johnny Marks put the story to a tune, made most popular by singing cowboy Gene Autry, and the rest is history. Autry’s and other versions of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” including the 1964 stop-motion animation TV special, continue to delight children and adults alike every holiday season in Chicago and beyond.

Winter 2013-14


Rails, Rivers & Roads
story byMartin photography byMartin

Improved infrastructure stands to strengthen state’s status as a key transportation hub
Ross B. Cherry


Illinois Farm Bureau

You see them every day – trucks, trains, barges and those curiously imposing metal boxes constantly hurtling down Illinois interstates.
However, you often don’t see the crosscurrents and interconnections of Illinois’ transportation network. Crops moving downriver, energy and construction materials moving north. Trucks hauling grains, oilseeds and other Illinois farm products for offloading into cargo containers, which in turn are deposited on wheels or rails for shipment to Gulf of Mexico or West Coast ports. As a result, the average Illinoisan may not recognize the challenges of moving goods through rural counties and congested cities, as well as maintaining aging and, in some cases, crumbling highway and river infrastructure. On the flip side, you also may not be aware of the economic opportunities open to our state as a commercial hub at the intersection of
Opposite page: Freight trains move through a clearing yard on Cicero Avenue in Chicago. This page, clockwise from top left: A truck transports cargo on one of Illinois’ 23 interstate highways; DeLong Co. ships grain and other farm products in containers; a barge enters the Melvin Price Lock at Alton, the largest navigation structure on the Mississippi.

Winter 2013-14


To read more about the lock-and-dam system in Illinois, including how it affects flood control, visit

several key interstate highways, rail lines and Illinois/Mississippi River export conduits. CONTAINER CARGO Illinois stands to strengthen its already robust position as a capital for domestic container traffic – use of imported cargo “boxes” emptied of retail goods to ship corn, soybeans, feed and other products back to Asian markets. According to transportation analyst Ken Eriksen, more global customers elect to import soybeans via container to ensure product quality and protect specialty traits in different varieties of crops grown here. Container shipments account for about 8 percent of Illinois soybean exports alone. “Illinois is very well situated to take advantage of these types of new opportunities,” Eriksen says. He cites the state’s huge metro consumer base, convergence of railroads, and regional capacity to move inbound containers into retail “big box” operations and position them for reloading. “Container shipping has been a huge asset for Illinois farmers and, ultimately, for Illinois consumers,” says Bo DeLong, whose Wisconsin-based DeLong Co. has helped build a thriving container hub in the Chicagoland region. DeLong noted containerized shipping has continued on the upswing even amid a decline in oceangoing “bulk” vessel traffic. Meanwhile, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is exploring options for loading containers on river barges at terminals such as Joliet, Peoria or Granite City for shipment to Houston. ISA consultant Chuck Dillerud notes a federal government push to shift more containers from trucks to the rivers to relieve highway congestion. Beyond farmer benefits, many see Illinois’ container industry as an engine for economic development. Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) has joined with Illinois officials, three railroads and major container companies to develop a new Decatur-area “Midwest Inland Port.” This would provide a new conduit not only for outbound corn, soybeans and ADM

ag products but also for incoming freight. ADM Transportation President Scott Fredericksen hopes the inland port can benefit Central Illinois regional development while forging partnerships with other businesses that can complement agriculture. BRIDGING THE GAP Many Illinois businesses and shippers face problems on the waterways. These concerns include substandard rural bridges that link farmers with grain elevators and undersized, 60-plus-year-old Mississippi River locks in some cases barely able to accommodate larger modern barge tows. (“Locks” refer to the enclosures that raise and lower boats as they pass between different water levels.) The 1,200-foot Melvin Price Lock at Alton serves as the largest navigation structure on the Mississippi. It marked the first replacement structure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 9-Foot Channel Project on the Upper Mississippi River. Over the last five years, Illinois lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to secure five new locks on the Illinois and Upper Mississippi rivers similar to the Melvin Price Lock. U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, and Cheri Bustos, a Democrat from East Moline on the Mississippi, have pushed measures that would allow federal officials to work with private interests in lock planning, design and construction. Groups such as Farm Bureau, ISA and other farmer-run organizations work with local and state agencies to address Illinois bridges potentially in need of costly rehab. Winfield Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren notes congressional efforts to extend tax credits for regional, short-line railroads that connect smaller customers to major rail freight networks and forge a “long-term, real reform” highway bill that will address pressing road/bridge needs. “Traditional funding from our state and federal sources may be drying up,” Hultgren says. “We need to talk about every single option out there to fund infrastructure.”
Illinois Farm Bureau


These examples of infrastructure help Illinois rank as one of the top states for agricultural exports.

Illinois has 145,342 miles of highways and streets, including more than 21,000 miles on its 23 interstates. According to an Illinois Department of Transportation report, trucks account for 31 percent of the state’s interstate traffic, many of which carry Illinois agricultural commodities via container to ports and other destinations.

Barges play an important role in transporting shipments of the state’s commodities. In fact, more than $23 billion worth of Illinois products travel on the main inland waterways each year. One barge can carry as much as 60 semi-trucks or 15 rail cars, and freight transit by water also cuts down on highway traffic, fuel usage and air pollution.

A convergence of Class I railroads – those that have annual carrier operating revenues of more than $250 million – makes Illinois a primary hub for container shipping. Dozens of freight carriers operate throughout the state, including North America’s biggest railways, to ship Illinois goods across the country and to international ports.

Winter 2013-14


Bob Vogelbaugh began hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner for residents in the Quad Cities area more than 40 years ago.


Illinois Farm Bureau

story byJessica photography

Mr. Thanksgiving’s
Bob Vogelbaugh hosts annual holiday feast with nearly 3,000 guests
Mozo byMartin B. Cherry
at the mall in Moline – a free gift to anyone who wants to come. “All the food is provided at no cost, and people come from all walks of life. It’s not a charity dinner,” he says. “There are people in need, yes, but there are also millionaires. We have a DJ and dancing. It’s a big party.” More than 2,900 guests attended in 2012. Vogelbaugh gathers donations in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving to pay for 2,200 pounds of turkey (cooked by two local Hy-Vee stores), vegetables, salads, pies and cookies. “The local transit authority teams up with us to pick up people who don’t drive, free of charge,” he says. Volunteers arrive at 3 p.m., and dinner starts around 4. People usually hang around dancing and chatting until 9 p.m. “Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten holiday – we go from Halloween directly to Christmas,” Vogelbaugh says. “I don’t want anybody to spend Thanksgiving alone. When you’ve got little kids tugging at your pant legs thanking you and elderly people hugging your neck, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to do this for them.”

Former Moline grocery store owner Bob Vogelbaugh does his part to make sure no one in his community spends Thanksgiving alone.
Every November, with the help of more than 400 volunteers, Vogelbaugh hosts a free Thanksgiving dinner that overflows the food court at SouthPark Mall, a tradition he started 43 years ago in his small grocery store. “In 1970, I owned a mom and pop grocery store, and a week and a half before Thanksgiving, I began asking my customers what their holiday plans were as I bagged their groceries,” Vogelbaugh says. “Many of my elderly customers said Thanksgiving was just another day to be alone, and I thought, ‘Why should this be?’ ” Vogelbaugh looked around his store, taking note of an old table and several folding chairs. The next morning, he began calling his customers to invite them to Thanksgiving dinner. “They were kind of reluctant to accept my offer,” he recalls, chuckling. “Some of them asked, ‘Does this mean I have to buy all my groceries from your store?’ ” Vogelbaugh assured them it was

Winter 2013-14

just for fun and fellowship, and anyone was welcome. “The pilgrims and Indians didn’t know one another at the first Thanksgiving, and I wanted to get a feel for that,” he says. “It was going to be a one-time shot. I never imagined I would still be doing it 43 years later.” One of his regular customers, 91-year-old Rose, came to Vogelbaugh’s first Thanksgiving dinner. “After dinner, she grabbed my hand and thanked me for the wonderful meal, and even more for the fellowship and friendship she hadn’t experienced in years,” says Vogelbaugh, choking up. “A few weeks later, right before Christmas, I was reading the paper and I saw Rose’s obituary.” For seven years, Vogelbaugh hosted the dinner at his store. When it outgrew the space, he moved it to the second f loor of the YWCA, where volunteers carried people in wheelchairs up the stairs because there was no elevator. Today, it is held


River Retreat
Fascinating history and natural wonders draw travelers to the Alton area
story byJessica

Mozo |

photography byBrian

During a few short weeks in winter, you can go bald eagle watching, as thousands of the birds migrate to the area to fish in the cold waters of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Stop in the Alton Visitors Center to sign up for a guided eagle tour or pick up an eagle-watching guide. Take in some of America’s most beautiful scenery by driving the 33-mile Meeting of the Great Rivers Byway, which winds through Alton and takes about an hour to drive. The byway begins in Hartford and ends in Grafton at Pere Marquette State Park. Download the byway brochure online or pick up a copy at the Alton Visitors Center. Make time to explore the 8,000-acre Pere Marquette State Park, where you can hike, bike, fish, camp or stay in the rustic Pere Marquette Lodge with its giant 50-foot-tall fireplace. The lodge has gained local fame with its familystyle dining, including a popular Sunday brunch.

Discover links to the past and beauty of the present in Alton, located along the 33-mile stretch of the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway.
In this community of about 30,000 residents, majestic bluffs overlook the waters of the Mighty Mississippi. Founded in 1837, Alton sits 15 miles north of St. Louis at the confluence of three significant rivers: the Illinois, the Mississippi and the Missouri. Native Americans roamed the area for hundreds of years before Alton became a river trading town in the 19th century. Alton played an important role in the abolishment of slavery because Illinois was a free state (across from the slave state of Missouri), and many escaped slaves crossed the Mississippi via the Underground Railroad to find shelter in Alton. Hear the tales of former slaves and trace their paths in the tunnels beneath the streets of Alton on the
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tour, available by

appointment. The tour allows visitors a glimpse into the network of secret caves, barns, basements and passageways that helped runaway slaves find freedom. Follow in the footsteps of famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with a visit to the
Lewis & Clark State Historic Site

in Hartford. On Dec. 12, 1803, the explorers pulled up on the southern bank of the River Dubois and established Camp Dubois, partaking of wild game that roamed the area and visiting with Native Americans. Learn more on Dec. 14 and 15 at Camp Dubois’ annual Lewis & Clark Arrival Day with guided tours, re-enactors and exhibits featuring vintage tools, guns, rocks and minerals, artillery and Native American artifacts.

The National Great Rivers Museum, with Mississippi River displays and artifacts, celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2013.


Illinois Farm Bureau

National Great Rivers Museum Chain of Rocks Bridge (bikers and pedestrians only) Confederate prison ruins Lincoln Douglas Square Pere Marquette State Park Alton Museum of History & Art Beall Mansion Lewis & Clark State Historic Site Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air

Bikers and pedestrians can get a bird’s-eye view of the Mississippi River from the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which connects Madison, Ill., to St. Louis. An unusual 30-degree turn midway through the mile-long bridge cemented its place in history. During its construction in the late 1920s, riverboat men successfully argued that the bridge had to bend; otherwise, its piers would block the view of rocky rapids, making it dangerous to navigate. This chain of rocks has been underwater since the 1960s, but the renovated bridge reopened as a greenway in 1999. Today, it offers spectacular views from 60 feet above the Mighty Mississippi.

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Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air serves its hot wings on a stick, smothered with a Cajun dry rub, for quite a deal at just $2.99.

Feast at Fast Eddie’s
Bar and grill packs the house for low-priced food and live music
Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air Location: 1530 E. Fourth St. in Alton Hours: Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Phone: (618) 462-5532

While in Alton, make plans to eat at Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air, but don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table. The well-known eatery and bar draws a huge crowd (mostly out-of-towners) and has been known to have standing room only on weekends. “We’ve got tons of seating and an outdoor patio, but we get packed on weekends because of our atmosphere – it’s good cheap food, cold beer and live music, and that’s hard to beat,” says Danielle Sholar, a manager at Fast Eddie’s and sister of owner Eddie Sholar. With only eight items, the menu at Fast Eddie’s may seem short and sweet, but the roadhouse manages to serve up big flavors for small prices. Peel-and-eat shrimp from the cool waters of Mexico cost just 29 cents each, while Fast Eddie’s big ol’ basket of French fries comes to 99 cents, as does the

half-pound Fat Eddie burger. “Our Big Elwood on a Stick is really popular,” Sholar says. “It’s marinated steak tenderloin with green peppers for $2.99.” Other favorites include pork and chicken kabobs, as well as skewers of Cajun-seasoned chicken wings. The menu also features homemade bratwursts – also only 99 cents – prepared from an old recipe. Anheuser-Busch built the yellow brick building in 1921, calling it simply Bon-Air. Ten years later, Busch had to sell the tavern due to a law that prohibited breweries from owning bars. Eddie Sholar bought the BonAir in 1981, quadrupling its size from 80 chairs to more than 400 and transforming it into a “hot spot of the Midwest” for those 21 and up. Live music Wednesday through Sunday showcases everything from country to rock and roll. – Jessica Mozo
Illinois Farm Bureau


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

Ready, Set ... Retire!
Prepare your finances for the retirement years
Are you one of the millions of Americans getting ready look at the financial resources you will have in retirement. to retire within the next five years? If so, you need to Get a projection of your Social Security retirement consider your financial readiness to retire. benefits for your target retirement date. If you will be CREATE A RETIREMENT BUDGET. Creating receiving a pension, get detailed estimates of all your a preliminary retirement budget marks the first step in choices. Assess other sources of income that you may knowing whether you have the financial resources to have, such as farm or business income or part-time work. retire. Many financial professionals Next, take a look at all of your use 75 percent of your after-tax investment and retirement assets. income while working as a basic You should review their allocations If you do the necessary guide for a retirement spending and develop a strategy for using goal, but this may differ substantially planning before you retire, them in retirement. You may from your own needs. want to get help from a financial you will be ready to enjoy Your lifestyle will be different in professional to determine whether your retirement. retirement than while you work. your income and assets can support You need to start thinking about your retirement spending, how the lifestyle you want to have when you retire. Will you to create a stream of income from your assets, and to travel? Will you relocate to a new home? Whatever your decide the best time to file a claim for your Social retirement dreams are, you need to start planning. Security benefits. You also should get an idea of what your everyday TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH. Health care expenses will be. Work-related costs, such as commuting costs will be one of your biggest expenses in retirement. expenses and work clothing expenditures, will go down. Before you retire, find out what health insurance options However, other expenses, such as health care costs and will be available to you. You’ll need to plan how you will leisure travel, may go up. If you expect to spend more be covered if you retire before age 65 when you will be time at home, your home utility expenses, such as eligible for Medicare. You should also take a look at how electricity costs, may even increase. As you approach you will meet long-term care expenses if that becomes retirement, try putting your plan to the test by living on a future need. your retirement budget for three months to see where ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR. If you adjustments need to be made. do the necessary planning before you retire, you will be ASSESS YOUR RESOURCES. Once you know ready to enjoy your retirement. You will have peace of what you need and want to spend in retirement, take a mind knowing you are financially ready to stop working.

Winter 2013-14



Pen Pals
story byJoanie photography

Pig farmer opens up conversations about animal care
Stiers byMichael Tedesco


Illinois Farm Bureau


Jen Sturtevant headed up the Field Moms’ Pen, which allowed Chicago-area moms and an online audience to watch litters of her farm’s pigs grow from birth to market.

Jen Sturtevant works on a family farm founded in the 1800s. Today, three generations of Sturtevants raise pigs near Lanark in northwestern Illinois. They remain committed to family, but don’t expect an old-fashioned farm.
The family runs a wean-to-finish operation, which means pigs arrive on the farm at about three weeks old. The Sturtevants care for the animals until they reach ready-for-market size at about six months old. In addition to the 30,000 pigs on the farm at any given time, the family also grows corn, soybeans and wheat to feed the animals. Automated feed and temperature control systems service their modern livestock buildings to ensure the pigs remain comfortable throughout the cold winters and hot summers. The family publicly shares their farm’s story. In fact, a pen of about 25 of their pigs debuted online this year. Called the “Field Moms’ Pen,” it gave an inside look at hog production for a group of Chicago-area moms and a web audience. Photos, videos and blog posts at told the story of these pigs from birth in March to market in August. Jen Sturtevant hopes the posts and moms’ visits to Illinois farms shed some light on farming myths and stereotypes.

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The 2013 Field Mom tours have ended, and the Illinois Farm Families program seeks a third crop of moms for 2014. If you live in the Chicago area, have at least one child under the age of 13 and want to know more about where your food comes from, you can apply to become a Field Mom. Fill out an application at watchusgrow. org/about-us/apply-to-be-afield-mom before Dec. 1. Field Moms will have the opportunity to tour grain, hog and dairy farms, and experience planting and harvest. Participants will talk directly with the farmers who grow the food they feed their families. Our Field Moms never forget this experience.

“I hope that they gain a new respect for farmers and that they open their minds to the new way that we do farm,” says Jen. “It is not something that is in old storybooks where farmers go out with pails of slop to feed the pigs. It has not been like that for a very long time. I think people’s misconceptions are that we do things the old-fashioned way.” Rather, these urban moms learned about climate-controlled environments and modern livestock care. The Field Moms met Jen in person and asked questions about antibiotics, biotechnology and animal welfare. She shed some light on the practices on their farm and why farmers do what they do. But to Jen’s surprise, the Field Moms asked more questions about the family’s lifestyle and shopping habits. “They were more interested in how I live, how I feed my kids, how my kids are part of the operation and how our family works as a group,” Jen says. “They couldn’t imagine how our family worked together.”

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



Illinois Farm Bureau

Lincoln Gems
Dig deep into presidential history at attractions throughout the state
story byJoanie

Stiers |
photography byBrian


The state’s links to Abraham Lincoln lurk in surprising places. And it won’t even cost you a Lincoln-faced penny to view most of them.
Take, for instance, a resurrected small cemetery plot near Danville, a city where Lincoln practiced law. Historians learned the people buried in this 19th-century plot held close relationships with Lincoln. The site happens to be next to an Interstate 74 rest stop. Travelers in need of a break can view this Lincoln-significant cemetery and its interpretive signage. “A lot of people think of Springfield as ‘the site’ of Lincoln sites,” says Sarah Watson, executive director of the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition. “Some people have no idea how much Lincoln lived his life throughout Illinois, and not just Springfield.” In reality, our nation’s 16th president lived, raised his family, established friends, and pursued his passion for law and politics throughout more than half the state. The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, managed by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, includes 42 central Illinois counties. It stands as the only heritage area named by Congress in honor of an American president. “I could take you coast to coast from Quincy all the way to Danville,” Watson says. “There are so many hidden gems.” For one, check out the talking houses experience in the Western Illinois city of Pittsfield, home to many of Lincoln’s friends. Visitors can grab a map at the visitors center and tune their car radio to specified stations. The radio streams a narrated drive-by tour of 11 homes connected to Lincoln. The community also hosts a Civil War re-enactment every June

Re-enactor David A. Schultz works in Henry Onstot’s Cooper Shop at Lincoln’s New Salem State Park, a reconstruction of the village near Petersburg in central Illinois where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood in the 1830s.

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1.6 million

people estimated to have visited Lincoln sites throughout the heritage area in 2012

$129 million 2,000

contributed to the economies of those communities as a result of these visits

volunteers who donated nearly 150,000 hours of their time and talent to Lincoln historic sites in 2012
Source: Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition

at the lake outside town. Re-enactors from across the United States set the mood for this free event. Abraham Lincoln practiced law in many courthouses on the 8th Judicial Circuit, including Mount Pulaski, located near Lincoln (the first town, founded in 1853, named after him). Visitors to the courthouse can stand on the same wooden f loor where Lincoln paced as he argued cases. Last spring, a local third-grade class chose to support the historic courthouse. Their goal of raising $500 for the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation generated more than $11,000, which will be

used in part to attract more visitors to the historic site. Another trip off the beaten path involves a visit to Lerna, located near Mattoon in the east-central part of the state. The community, with a population of less than 300, takes pride in its Lincoln log cabin. The 86-acre historic site preserves where Lincoln’s father and stepmother, Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, farmed in the 1840s. By then, Lincoln lived in Springfield, but he visited the farm periodically. Volunteer interpreters wear period clothing and portray people who lived in the area. They demonstrate 1840s-era cooking,

mending, laundry, butter making, rail splitting and more. The site also provides picnic pavilions, a playground and natural areas for fishing, walks and bird watching – all free of charge. In fact, other than entry to the museum in Springfield, almost every exhibit and tourist site costs nothing. “That, to me, is significant,” Watson says. “I don’t know how many places are left where you can soak up as much fun and history and be frugal about it.” Springfield and New Salem remain the most popular and most recognized Lincoln sites, Watson
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says. Lincoln’s New Salem in Petersburg gives a lifelike portrayal of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. People in this village helped Lincoln win his first election to the Illinois General Assembly. Volunteers today replicate early 19th century life among a dozen log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, workshops, stores, mills and a school. Springfield includes the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln practiced law and sat in the legislature. The only home Lincoln owned sits there on Seventh Street. He was buried in the city’s Oak Ridge Cemetery,

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the nation’s second-most-visited cemetery behind Arlington National Cemetery. And the hub town also attracts visitors to the modern, interactive world class Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The museum exhibits provide a great start to the Lincoln adventure, the coalition says. The group uses social media, a website, state tourism opportunities and more to promote the lesser-known sites where Lincoln worked, visited and debated. These historic Lincoln connections throughout the state link closely to this museum.

Clockwise from far left: A snow-covered scene at Lincoln’s New Salem; a mural of Abraham Lincoln in historic downtown Mount Pulaski, where Lincoln practiced law; the Ross House, located just east of Pittsfield, where Lincoln stayed during his 1858 senatorial campaign visit; the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Find historic community links to Lincoln, trip ideas and more at the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition’s website,


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

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake


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Celebrate the season with sweet recipes inspired by Abraham Lincoln
Fargo photography byJeffrey S. Otto food styling byMary Carter


recipes byCharlyn

Legend has it that although Abraham Lincoln ate sparsely, he did have a sweet tooth. He was particularly fond of a white cake made by his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as her version of an apple pie that included a dollop of hot rum sauce.
Historians say that famous Lexington, Ky., confectioner Monsieur Giron actually created this white cake recipe on the occasion of Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to the city in 1825. The Todd family received the recipe from Giron when Mary was young. She treasured the recipe and served it on special occasions in Springfield and at the White House. Historians say she often made this cake for the president – even before they were married – and he always commented, “Mary’s white cake is the best I have ever eaten.” President Lincoln also loved apples, and he enjoyed them served in a dish popular at the time: apple pie with a good coating of hot rum sauce. Use any tart green baking apple from Granny Smith to Virginia Greening, a variety from Lincoln’s day, to cut the sweetness in this delicious dessert. The Lincolns often had cookies in the cookie jar. When they were hosting a big

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party, they purchased macaroon pyramids (macaroon cookies stacked in a pyramid and covered with caramelized sugar drizzle) from local confectioners. Mary also served strawberries and cream, probably with cookies. Oral tradition says that the neighborhood children were guaranteed a cookie or doughnut from Mrs. Lincoln when they played with the Lincoln boys. With Mary’s copious amounts of sugar purchased, she certainly could bake plenty of cookies. During the course of one week in 1849, historians note that Mary purchased 13 pounds of sugar. I adapted the tea cookies on the following page from a recipe in the Lincoln cookbook sold at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Visit the library’s website at to learn more about the 16th president and his strong ties to Illinois – including his favorite foods.

Lincoln loved apples, and he probably would have enjoyed the cinnamon apple sponge cake recreated for the 2009 inaugural luncheon in honor of his 200th birthday. Find this recipe and other holiday favorites online at lincoln-recipes.


Green Apple Pie with Hot Rum Sauce
2 (9-inch) pie crusts 6  medium-sized tart green apples, pared, cored and sliced 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon teaspoon ground nutmeg teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon lemon juice cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces Hot 1 2 1 1 1 Rum Sauce: cup sugar tablespoon cornstarch teaspoon salt cups milk, scalded* egg, slightly beaten teaspoon vanilla teaspoon  rum or rum extract (or more, to taste)

*To scald milk, heat in a saucepan just to the point of boiling, then remove from heat. It should have small bubbles before removing from heat.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half the pastry. Roll out remainder for top crust; set aside. Arrange sliced apples in pie pan. 2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle over

apples. Drizzle with lemon juice, and dot generously with butter pieces. Wet the rim of the pie crust with a little water. Cover with top crust, and seal by fluting or crimping top and bottom crusts together. Cut gashes in upper crust for escape of steam.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional

45 minutes.
4. While pie is baking, prepare hot rum sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat,

mix together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in scalded milk and bring to a rapid boil; reduce heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear, about 3 minutes. To prevent the egg from curdling, stir in a small amount of the sauce into beaten egg, then immediately return to stirring the sauce in the pan, slowly adding the rest of the egg. Continue to stir over low heat for 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and rum, to taste.
5. Before serving, spoon a little hot rum sauce over the pie slices.

Makes 1 pie and 2 cups sauce.


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Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake
1 2 3 2 1 1 1 1 6 cup (2 sticks) butter cups sugar cups cake flour teaspoons baking powder cup milk teaspoon vanilla teaspoon almond extract cup unsalted almonds, chopped egg whites teaspoon salt

Frosting: 2 cups sugar 1 cup water 2 egg whites cup candied cherries, chopped cup candied pineapple, chopped few drops vanilla or almond extract 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar

Apricot Tea Cookies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened cup sugar 2 eggs, beaten 5 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted 1 1 cups apricot preserves cups coconut, toasted cup apricot jam 1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

until light and f luffy. Sift together f lour and baking powder; remove 2 tablespoons and set aside. Add sifted ingredients, alternating with milk, to creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Combine almonds with reserved flour, and add to batter.
2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add in salt. Fold into

batter. Pour into three greased and floured 8- or 9-inch cake pans.
3. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick

inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool on racks.
4. While cake is baking, prepare frosting. Combine

Add eggs.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder

and salt. Add to butter mixture. Add almonds, preserves and coconut, and mix until dough forms.
3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at

sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil; cover and cook about 3 minutes until the steam has washed down any sugar crystals that may have formed on side of pan. Uncover and cook until syrup reaches 238 to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
5. Whip egg whites until frothy; add in syrup in thin stream, whipping egg whites constantly until frosting is spreading consistency. Mix in cherries, pineapple and f lavoring. 6. Frost cake once it has cooled.

least 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into

1-inch balls, and place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb into the center of each ball. Place ¼ to ½ teaspoon jam into center of each impression. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 60 cookies. WATCH A COOKING VIDEO
New to baking? Before you make Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake, find a short, helpful video that shows how to separate egg whites at

Note: Some historians say Mary Todd Lincoln didn’t serve it with frosting, but it certainly adds great flavor.

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Captivating Conifers
Consider choosing and planting a live Christmas tree
Thanks to fossils, we know conifers (plants that bear cones) grew in the Carboniferous Period and shared their heyday with dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era. Fortunately, conifers survived geological upheavals, climate changes and competition from f lowering plants when they arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, conifers have experienced a decline ever since. But not to worry, they will grace our planet for a while longer.
Conifers come in a wide range of leaf/ needle colors, textures and sizes. Some of the cones differ in shape, such as the berries of yews and junipers. Most keep their needles all year, but a few are deciduous. Drive through any neighborhood, and you’ll see mature spruces dwarfing houses, yews blocking front doors and junipers obstructing motorists’ line of sight. This holiday season, try using a live Christmas tree in your house and then planting it in your yard to enjoy for years to come. Many local nurseries that offer cut trees now offer live trees with roots in a ball shape covered in a biodegradable material,
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Jan Phipps is a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. She farms, gardens, writes and podcasts near Chrisman.


Are poinsettias poisonous? I’ve heard it both ways. The white sap can be mildly irritating, but no, the poinsettia is not poisonous (to humans and pets). Research done at Ohio State University disproved that myth.



such as burlap. You can choose from several sizes: miniature, dwarf, intermediate and large. Always check – and believe – the nursery tag’s mature height information. Planting a balled and burlap tree takes a little planning. First, choose the proper site outside and dig the planting hole in late autumn before the ground freezes. Store the soil in a garage or shed where it won’t freeze solid. Cover or protect the hole in some way to prevent people from falling into it, especially if it’s located in the front yard. Choose your container conifer from a good nursery, move it inside for no more than 10 days, decorate it and have a happy holiday. After Christmas, take down the decorations, move the tree out to the pre-dug hole, plant it using the stored soil for fill, water it, mulch it and walk away until spring. Choose fir, spruce or pine depending on

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what fits your outdoor site. How do you tell the difference? Fir (Abies) needles grow singly from the branch, feel flat and smooth with rounded tips and smell pleasingly aromatic. Firs like a well-drained site with slightly acidic soil. They won’t grow well if the air is polluted with dust or industrial impurities. Spruce (Picea) needles also grow singly, but are stiff and sharply pointed. A cross section reveals they are square, not flat like a fir. Pine (Pinus) needles grow in groups of two, three or five called bundles. Their length and pliability distinguish them from other conifers. Pines like a well-drained soil not too rich in nutrients. Choose it for those gravelly spots where other trees won’t grow. Why not grow a tree that has a pedigree of 300 million years?


When should I prune my rose of Sharon? In Illinois, we refer to the perennial hibiscus plant as the rose of Sharon. It blooms on new growth, so prune in February when it’s dormant. You can remove dead wood at any time.
Email your gardening questions to Jan at




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

Christmas Around the World
Discover more about Christmas traditions from across the globe at the 69th annual Christmas Around the World celebration held at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. The event, which began in 1942 as a United Nations Day salute to American Allies during the war, features more than 60 sparkling trees and exhibits decorated by ethnic communities around the city. The displays show

different customs and traditions from around the world during the Christmas season. The companion Holidays of Lights exhibit shows global holidays that incorporate lights or enlightenment, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more. Guests can enjoy ethnic dancing, singing, storytelling and school choir performances. Call (773) 684-1414 or visit for more information.

two miles of dazzling holiday lights. The annual Avenue of Lights display boasts more than 350 separate light pieces, donated by local businesses and organizations. Local volunteers man the trail, and holiday music accompanies the displays for a truly seasonal experience. The event runs nightly from Thanksgiving until the New Year holiday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Admission costs $8 per vehicle. To learn more, call (800) 978-4748 or visit

Jolly Holly
Santa Claus is coming to town … specifically, to Warrenville. Kick off the holiday season at Warrenville Holly Days, sponsored by the Warrenville Park District. Holly Days begins with a parade for Santa’s arrival followed by a warm bonfire, raffles, horse and carriage
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Light Up the Night
This holiday season, head to Moorman-Wavering Park in Quincy for


For the Love of Chocolate
Chocolate lovers unite! Visit the southwestern Illinois town of Grafton during its annual Taste of Chocolate event to enjoy dozens of homemade chocolate creations from local businesses and residents. Sponsored by the Grafton Chamber of Commerce and held at the Grafton Winery, this event takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and costs $7 per person. Guests can enjoy free hot chocolate and coffee with their chocolate creations. Anyone with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss this delicious event.

For more information, call (618) 786-3001 or visit

rides, hot cider and treats, and live music. The event also marks when the community officially turns on its Christmas lights to create a gorgeous display for those passing by on Route 56. For more details, call (630) 393-7279 orvisit

Dec. 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. Find out more about the Night of Luminaria at (815) 777-9050 or

Top of the Class
Go on a treasure hunt for interesting finds and vintage items at the Top of the Class Antique Show, which takes place at the Illinois State University Bone Student Center. The eighth annual event features 40 vendors from seven Midwestern states. They’ll show off their unique and top-notch antiques, including pottery, jewelry, ceramics, glassware, furniture, toys and more. Illinois State University’s School of Communications sponsors the event, which acts as a fundraiser for the school and provides assistance for media equipment and computer labs. The show costs $5 for admission and runs on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the antiques show, call (309) 438-2872 or visit

Go Fish
Fishing aficionados can reel in new tips and tools at the Seventh Annual Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show in Marion. Held at The Pavilion of the City of Marion, the event features daily seminars on fishing, door prizes and live entertainment. A variety of vendors and exhibitors will also be selling their wares, including boats, fishing guides and tackle. A portion of the proceeds from this popular event goes to Gum Drops Inc. and the Youth Outdoor Education Foundation. For show times and more details, call (800) 433-7399 or go to

The Glow of the Season
More than 5,000 candlelit luminaries illuminate the streets of Galena for one of the most beautiful sights of the holiday season. During the Night of Luminaria, visitors can drive, walk or take a trolley or carriage ride down the streets of the northwestern Illinois town as the luminaries come alive at dusk. Walk through Grant Park or stop on Prospect Street for some of the most stunning views. Take advantage of the extended hours at local businesses for last-minute Christmas shopping, and dine at one of Galena’s delicious restaurants. The event takes place on Saturday,

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The Bahá’í House of Worship in Willmette represents Chicagoland on the list of the Seven Wonders of Illinois. Groundbreaking took place in 1912, though it didn’t open until its completion in 1953.

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