Farm, barn and ag tour set June 29

Canal Corridor Association offers 9-stop, self-guided tour

The Prairie Center Alpaca Farm is one of the stops available on a self-guided June 29, 2024, tour of agricultural sites in the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area. Tickets are $20 for adults (free for youths 17 and under) and include exclusive access to nine locations open throughout the day. Purchase advance tickets at

Tickets are on sale for a self-guided tour Saturday, June 29, of nine agricultural sites in the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area.

The Canal Corridor Association offers a one-day tour of agricultural and historic sites around La Salle, Utica, Ottawa and Seneca. These will have rare, behind-the-scenes access to an alpaca farm, a centennial barn, a working grain elevator, historical museums and more.

“The barns and farms on this tour offer something for everyone,” said Donna Theimer, the tour’s lead organizer and volunteer with Canal Corridor Association, “so it will be a great way to spend the day learning about the region’s rich agricultural history at sites only open for this tour.

“This will also be a unique opportunity to meet your local farmers, learn more about how they care for their facilities as well as the beautiful farm architecture, and hear about how these family farms have endured through booms and obstacles for decades.”

Tickets are $20 for adults and free for kids 17 and younger. They can be bought in advance at Tickets include exclusive access to nine locations open throughout the day.

Ticketed visitors should begin the tour by checking in at either the Seneca Historical Museum (the easternmost stop, 431 N. Main St., Seneca) or the I&M Canal Visitor Center in La Salle (the westernmost stop, 754 First St., La Salle), where they will receive entry wristbands and a tour map. Tour sites will be open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The event will take place in rain or shine.

The Canal Corridor Association, the official coordinating entity for the I&M Canal, is sponsoring this tour, which is designed to highlight the important connection between agriculture and the waterway that changed the course of history for Chicago, the Midwest and the country.

“The opening of the canal in 1848 had a profound impact on agriculture in northeastern Illinois and propelled corn to its preeminent status as the major cash crop in this part of the state, a position it has held ever since,” Ana B. Koval, president of the Canal Corridor Association, said in a news release. “This tour is a great way to relive that history with exclusive access to some of the region’s most picturesque farms. Plus, you can enjoy the stores, shops and cafes in canal tours across the tour.”

The I&M Canal National Heritage Area promotes the economic development, culture, heritage and stories of the region and communities that owe their growth to the canal. Designated by Congress in 1984 as the first National Heritage Area in America, the I&M Canal follows its historic route from Chicago through 60 communities across north-central Illinois to La Salle-Peru, connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River.

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