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American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

Good Times in Illinois on the Old Lincoln

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Mark your calendars for August 25th through the 27th as Dekalb will be hosting its annual Cornfest and Rochelle will have its Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival.


Dekalb is about 20 miles east of Rochelle and both are on the original Lincoln Highway. Part of L-H down Dekalb's main street will be closed for those days, a great way to walk on the highway and not get run over.


Both festivals will feature rides, food, music, and other activities. Both will have old car shows.

The main act in Dekalb will be Survivor, of Rocky/Eye of the Tiger fame. Also there will be a free corn roast Saturday from 11 AM to 2 along with bus tours of the community.


Additionally, Rochelle will have a parade, an old tractor/truck show and a fly-in of vintage planes.


We're going to try to split our time between the two. Too bad they can't have it on different weeks.


For more info:


Dekalb- www.cornfest.com


Rochelle- www.lincolnhighwayheritagefestival.com


Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cornfest is History


The 2006 Dekalb, Illinois, Cornfest is over for another year. Lincoln Highway, which serves as Dekalb's main street, was blocked off between 1st and 4th streets for three days. Fun was had by the crowds, who came despite the constant threat of, and occasional rain.


Friday, we ate...corn. Also brats. Buck an ear is a good price these days.


We also visited an old college stomping ground, Andy's. They have been doing extensive remodelling and returning to its 30s-40s look. You can now see the original tin ceiling, covered since the early 60s by a dropped one.


They are also going to reopen McCabe's which is next door and has been closed for years. McCabe's is housed in what I regard as the most impressive buiding in downtown Dekalb.


Saturday, we ate...more corn, this time for FREE!!!! From 11 to 2, 20,000 ears (50 tons) were given away on a first-come first-served basis. And come they did. There were long lines but relatively short waits thanks to the assembly line serving process. The only negative aspect was the very slippery road, thanks to the butter drippings of thousands of ears of corn being wolfed down.


An old steam-powered piece of farm machinery heated the water in the four huge troughs, where people stirred with pitchforks. The corn was then placed in laundry baskets and brought up to the tables to be devoured. This poor piece of machinery valiantly tried to out whistle the many trains that pass through Dekalb daily, but with little success.


The corn was donated by a very generous Del Monte Corporation.


We got to see a Jimmy Buffett tribute band called Pirates Over 40 and then a high-powered girl group called Catfight.


FYI- for any of you traveling through Dekalb, all restaurants are now non-smoking and the same will apply to bars next year.


Sunday, we ate...you guessed it...more corn!!!! I am officially corned out for awhile. Saw an excellent blues performance by Howard & the White Boys at noon. They cut their teeth at Andy's. Other regional acts that got their starts at the venerable place are Mr. Myers, a Caribbean rock band, and the Dekalb Footstompers, a group you have to see to believe. Hint: tuba, accordion, rock guitar, and drums.


Later, the Fabulous Janes took the stage and put on a performance that would leave you breathless.


I managed to get the last seat on a tour of Dekalb's historical homes led by Dekalb historian Steve Bigolin. If there is anything you want to know about the town's history, he's the guy to ask. The Dekalb Chronicle has just published a book by him in honor of Dekalb's susquicentennial being celebrated this year.


Sunday's headliner was Survivor. For a bunch of aging guys, they haven't lost a bit of their rock and roll swagger.


I was surprised at how few of the people knew anything about Lincoln Highway and got a lot of questions because of my LH shirt and hat.


Keep on Eating that Corn and Cruising Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

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