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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library recently made a video encouraging Ellen DeGeneres to visit the Springfield attraction. Ellen must have been impressed because earlier this week, the hilarious video was featured on her website earlier this week.

Here’s the video – enjoy.


– Katie

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4 riding the wave swinger

The Wave Swinger by Rolour Garcia

Each week we are going to feature one photo from our Spring Photo Contest and the photographer will give you insight into the thought and experience behind the photo. This week Rolour Garcia tells us about his photo “Riding the Wave Swinger” – learn more about our spring photo contest here.
This picture was taken on a cloudy day last summer when I took my wife and two girls to Navy Pier hoping to watch and photograph the Wednesday night fireworks. It was my first time taking pictures of fireworks so I prepared and read up on it. It turned out that none of my firework pictures were worth posting and my best photograph of the day was one lucky shot.
While waiting for the fireworks to start, I had my kids ride the carousel at the Pier. I was between the carousel and the Wave Swinger. Facing the kids as they enjoyed themselves, I quickly turned around and saw the skies behind me. I asked my wife to look after the kids while I pointed my lens at the swing, taking shot after shot until a Navy Pier employee told me to stay away from the spot I was standing on as I was in the way of the kids playing the remote control boats.
This is the best of the bunch. I never thought the picture was any good (after all, it’s just a swing) until my wife and a friend pointed out the gradation of the colors in the background. I have the weather to thank for that day.
– Rolour Garcia

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5 IL insider celebrate baseball season with a chi style hot dog

A Chicago Dog by Clint McMahon

With baseball season upon us, I set out to celebrate by finding the perfect Chicago-style hot dog.

For the record, a Chicago-style hot dog is an all-beef hot dog (usually steamed or boiled), placed on a poppy seed bun. It’s often known as being “dragged through the garden” because of its specific, colorful toppings: mustard, onion, neon-green relish, a pickle spear, tomato slices, sport peppers and celery salt. The number one rule: no ketchup.

Personally, I am a ketchup-lover and for years defiantly ordered my hot dogs with ketchup and without some of the traditional ingredients, but I decided to go ahead and order the Chicago-style dog…with everything. I ended up loving it, so even if you have reservations, give the Chicago dog a try!

Here are some of the top spots the windy city has to offer. Be prepared to pay with cash, because most of these places don’t accept credit cards.

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6 baseball across IL

Wrigley Field by Clint McMahon

After five months of hibernation, baseball is finally back.

And this is a great thing for all of us in Illinois, because we’re lucky to have some of the best professional ball clubs on the planet.

Not only do the Cubs and White Sox make their homes in Chicago, and play at some top-notch ballparks (Wrigley Field was voted one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois), but Illinois also hosts 11 minor league clubs that are loads of fun to watch. And you won’t have to break the bank to catch the action.

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7 wake up youve just driven over the biggest hole in america

Thorton Quarry ©Bob Lukens

If you’ve ever driven on the Tri-State Tollway (I-80/294) near the Illinois/Indiana state line, you’ve driven over the Thornton Quarry, America’s largest commercial limestone quarry and the second largest limestone quarry in the world.

This gargantuan hole in the ground is more than 300 feet deep, over 1½ miles long, more than a half-mile wide, and contains rocks from an ancient reef over 430 million years old. It’s been quarried on and off since the 1830’s and continues to operate today as a Material Service Corporation facility.

Millions of tons of aggregate in more than twenty different sizes and shapes are quarried from Thornton every year, and a good portion of that aggregate is used throughout the Midwest to create concrete and asphalt for roads, and ballast for railroad tracks.

The Thornton Historical Society is the only organization authorized to conduct tours to the bottom of the Thornton Quarry, which it does twice a year, in June and October. Go to the Village of Thornton website’s quarry page for more information about tours of the Thornton Quarry, the Biggest Hole in America!

– Bob Lukens
Bob is the public relations manager at the Chicago Southland CVB

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