The biggest Amish community in the state is located in Arthur, a city with a rich cultural history and much to see and do. Your next-day excursion should take you to the charming Midwest city of Arthur, which hosts its yearly celebrations and other activities.
With slightly under 2,300 inhabitants, Arthur is home to the state’s oldest and biggest Amish community. Despite being small, the hamlet has a lot to offer and is the perfect destination to visit for a day trip.
This post explores some of the best and most fun things to do in Arthur, IL.
The Homestead Bakery, which has since 2006 remained faithful to Arthur’s unique culture, is another source of pride for The 200 Acres.
It provides a full range of Amish products made entirely from scratch, including its renowned iced pumpkin cookies, honey yeast bread, caramel iced cinnamon buns, and sweetbreads.
Additionally, they provide locally produced salsa, butter, jams, and jellies.
The Homestead Bakery offers angel food cake for every occasion, cut-out decorated cookies for every season, and bread and rolls for every day.
Every holiday, you may savor the cheerily decorated cookies, party platters of cookies, dinner rolls for your get-togethers with friends, and daily bread like yeast and sweetbreads.
They provide fundraising options for your organizations, sports teams, churches, schools, or special events if you need to generate a little additional cash.
Location: 1749B E County Rd 1900 N, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
Every Labor Day weekend, Arthur invites thousands of people to a festival in the city center with food, activities, competitions, entertainment, crafts, and cheese!
You may enjoy all the free cheese and take in the tractor pull, parade, music, and Amish farm shop while learning about the culture of the Amish.
Each competitor is given a block of Colby cheese and a water bottle during the National Cheese Eating Championships, and the timer is set.
The winner is the first person to consume all or almost all of the cheese! One of the ice curling sport’s most entertaining games is the International Cheese Curling Championships.
In this game, you’ll work in a team with a “sweeper” who will throw a four-pound cheese “stone” at the designated target.
The Big Cheese Callithumpian Parade, which has a spectacular assortment of floats, clowns, vintage automobiles, fire engines, vintage tractors, and more, is another exhilarating event.
An annual event called “Sheep to Garments to Quilts” celebrates the process of creating quilts and clothing in the nineteenth century.
By the 1860s, woolen mills were producing wool cloth, but many households continued to spin their thread and weave their fabric, which they then used to make quilts.
The Schrock House will host an exhibition of early Amish attire, coverlets, quilts, and other hand-woven materials throughout the event.
You may view the blue and white coverlet the Diener family woven before they immigrated to America, Daniel Schrock’s coat from the 1870s, and the Campbell family quilt from the 1840s.
The event will feature manual shearing, continuous sheep shearing, wool washing, and drying demonstrations, and more advanced technologies.
Additionally, you may view spinning demonstrations on the flax or Saxony wheel and the walking wheel and witness the real spinning wheel Moses Yoder carried with him in 1865.
Additionally, there is a weaving demonstration with samples of handwoven fabric and various coverlets on exhibit.
Arthur hosts one of the biggest fireworks displays in central Illinois a week before the Fourth of July holiday.
To enjoy entertainment, food vendors, a fireworks show including World War II planes, and a 16-inch firework shell at the exhibition put this event on your calendar.
Around 1:00 p.m., a significant procession downtown kicks off the morning, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the celebrations there.
Then, in the late afternoon, go to the fairgrounds on the southern border of Arthur to observe a baseball competition, food booths, skydivers, and an airshow.
The airshow included a flyover by an F115 stealth fighter, WWII T6 aircraft, and skydivers from the Mid-America Sport Parachute Club.
The 24-minute performance features 1,000 airborne displays and some of the largest shells in the nation.
Other fan favorites are the 500-foot-long Niagara Falls show, the Wall of Fire, and the Rural Patriot, who triumphantly rides through the 100-foot-long array.
The Illinois Amish Interpretive Center, which featured historical and cultural displays on Amish people, was the precursor of the Illinois Amish Heritage Center.
A primer on Amish culture and tours of Amish-owned homes, farms, restaurants, and shops were also shown at the center.
It maintained a purpose to further knowledge, preservation, and appreciation of all facets of the Amish people’s history and legacy in Illinois over the years.
The Moses Yoder House, built in 1865, the first Amish residence in Illinois, and the 1882 Daniel Schrock House, are both preserved by the institution.
The Schrock House features displays on Amish history, culture, dresses, coverlets, and quilts made by Amish people.
You may view displays explaining components of the original home as Moses Yoder built it while the Yoder House is restored.
Attend Steam Threshing Days in August to see oats being threshed using gasoline, steam, horsepower, and demonstrations on how to grow and harvest crops.
Try the Harvest to Home celebration in October, which offers nearby activities.
Location: 368-276, IL-133, Arcola, IL 61910, United States
Ten minutes away from Arthur lies the drive-through wildlife park known as Aikman Wildlife Adventure, where visitors may get up and personal with various exotic creatures.
Its goals are to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience, perpetuate a family-friendly environment via education, interaction, and conservation, and offer a good quality of life for wildlife in need.
At Aikman Wildlife Adventure, more than 200 animals represent more than 70 native species from several continents.
Drive your car on their mile-long trail that traverses the sanctuary with Aikman’s Triple Crown to witness over 100 exotic species, lesser creatures, avians, and predators.
Pet and feed camels, zebras, and emus on the Wagon Adventure, and see bison, watusi, and water buffalo ranging freely on the Off-Road Adventure.
Then go to the Museum of Prehistoric Life, which includes life-size, meticulously preserved dinosaurs and other fossilized creatures.
Location: 125 N Co Rd 425E, Arcola, IL 61910, United States
A well-liked site called Lake Shelbyville is 36 minutes away from Arthur.
The general population is familiar with beaches, boating, fishing, water skiing, camping, and swimming.
It is the ideal place to discover nature, with 172 miles of shoreline and 11,000 water acres.
More than 50 miles of established multipurpose paths are available to visitors, including the Great Dacey route, which is great for hiking, geocaching, bird viewing, and photography.
Enjoy boating amenities at locations like the Sullivan Marina Campground, which satisfies the needs of campers, boaters, and fishermen while situated on a tranquil forested hilltop.
Lake Shelbyville holds the record for the largest fish ever caught for white bass and catfish.
Over 11,000 acres of crystal-clear water offer excellent fishing for bluegill, walleye, crappie, muskie, largemouth bass, and catfish.
The gateway to Illinois Amish Country is opened by ACM Tours, a full-service responsive tour guide business with numerous exclusive offerings.
They help guests with scheduling, reservation booking, itinerary planning, step-on guides, farm and store visits, and lodging. They also help with Amish in-home meals.
They have trained, native, experienced, and hands-on tour guides who are familiar with this area’s traditions, history, and folklore.
Introduce yourself to the great quilt-making in Arthur, where many hand-stitched, Amish and locally created quilts are on display and for sale at regional quilt stores in the countryside and in the city.
Visit Amish buggy factories to learn how the chassis, undercarriage, and body are built and demonstrate how steel-rimmed wheels are made.
As you follow the itineraries, your company will be fully immersed in the Amish shopping experience as they discover Amish-made custom furniture, baked goods, great art from across the world, home décor, locally created crafts, and delectable cuisine.
Location: 138 S Vine St, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
Formerly known as Country Cheese and More, Heartland Deli and Delights offers delicious local fare, baked products, and a savory selection of meats and cheeses.
Since the 1990s, they have provided for the Arthur neighborhood, and their neighborhood family-owned business is open for lunch in the center of the community.
They have a selection of bread, meats, and cheeses for delectable combinations, and they can whip you up a fast, hot sandwich or let you make your cold-cut combo.
Discover mouthwatering sausages, meats, and more than 50 types of cheese, including Ropp and other Wisconsin cheeses.
They specialize in baking and provide great bread, donuts, rolls, cookies, and other favored items.
You may also discover jams and jellies, handmade strawberry butter, Amish peanut butter, salsas, Amish-made noodles, and chocolates, with everything being locally produced.
Location: 205 S Vine St, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
The Arthur Amish community began using woodworking as a great agricultural substitute around 30 or 40 years ago, leading to the creation of jobs.
The Arthur Amish hamlet is currently the nation’s top maker of hand-crafted oak furniture thanks to their use of word-of-mouth marketing to promote their business.
The Wood Loft offers fine bespoke solid wood furniture, stunning heirloom items, more compact utilitarian home decorations, and fine woodworking.
They specialize in working with oak but also produce objects out of hickory, walnut, cherry, and maple.
Check out their illustrious tables, which come in Queen Anne, mission, round, oval, bespoke, and farmhouse styles.
View their custom-made chairs, manufactured from solid wood such as maple, hickory, cherry, and quarter-sawn, in a wide range of styles such as artisan, country, Shaker, mission, Queen Anne, and Southern.
Additionally, The Woodloft takes great pride in its hutches and buffets, crafted from cherry, hickory, oak, and brown maple solid hardwoods.
Location: 138 S Vine St, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
In 2010, Paul and Sarah Kuhns founded Pauly’s BBQ. It is now a staple in Arthur, serving dishes like handmade smoked mac & cheese, pulled pork, and award-winning beef brisket.
Paul, an Arthur native, started smoking BBQ as a hobby before becoming a self-employed cabinet installer.
He had no idea it would grow into a successful company! Sarah makes a ton of delectable cobblers, pies, handmade soups, and exquisite baked items for the restaurant.
The cuisine at Pauly’s is plentiful, hot, and prepared with the utmost care. The quantities are also just the right quantity.
Try their smoked turkey, beef brisket, pulled pig, ribs, and other famous meats, as well as their platters of grilled chicken breast, smoked pork chops, and fried walleye.
Try some delectable sides they provide, like baked beans, coleslaw, tater tots, cottage cheese, applesauce, mac ‘n cheese, green beans, and French fries.
Location: 310 E Columbia St, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
Do you want to start your day or have a treat in the afternoon that includes baked goods and some caffeine?
You may discover lattes, coffee, tea, ice cream, and amazing home-baked pastries at Roselen’s Coffee & Delights.
Roseline’s goal is to run a compassionate business while fostering an environment that encourages rest, comfort, and renewal in a hectic and demanding world.
Sisters Rose and Lena, who had the idea first, wanted to provide people with a peaceful alcove where they might gather with friends for conversation or read quietly in a corner.
They spent numerous hours studying the coffee industry, teaching themselves how to choose the ideal bean, and understanding how crucial it is to brew coffee at the proper temperature and humidity.
The sisters are still extremely passionate about providing excellent service and a first-rate experience to everyone who enters their shop.
Location: 1045 E Columbia St, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
The Arthur Strawberry Jam Festival honors one of the nation’s favorite fruits, the strawberry, to mark the end of spring and the beginning of summer.
In the 1950s, merchants had sidewalk sales to kick off the celebration. The Otto Center has recently hosted the Strawberry Social fundraiser, including strawberry pies and other sweets.
Every vendor incorporates a strawberry theme into their displays and merchandise, and every food seller offers plenty of free fresh bulk strawberries in addition to strawberry-themed menu options.
The Strawberry Tent offers free strawberries all day long, enjoyable strawberry activities for kids and adults, a strawberry pie-eating competition, and a large selection of strawberry jams and jellies.
There will be craft and food sellers, a Kids Zone for children, and customary retailer spring deals.
According to the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, only the pies during the event consume 54,000 strawberries!
Additionally, there is a continuous bake sale, including freshly made Amish treats like bread, cinnamon buns, and strawberry angel food cake.
The 200 Acres, a tiny piece of Arthur where pumpkins flourish beneath the sun and families rejoice every autumn season, is tucked in the verdant countryside of Illinois’ Amish Country.
Visitors to the Great Pumpkin Patch may view over 5,000 sturdy mums, several prime displays, and lovely gardens, in addition to 300 different species of squash, gourds, and pumpkin from 20 different nations.
Through the presence of several chickens, goats, pigs, exotic fowl, llamas, and bunnies, they also demonstrate an appreciation for animal variety.
They feature a We-Pick Patch with lots of pre-picked pumpkins, squash, and gourds and a U-Pick Patch with hundreds of pumpkins still on the vine.
They include wagon rides and mazes, including a mini-labyrinth for young children, a straw bale maze, a soybean maze, and a one-acre corn maze.
You may take the TGPP Express Wagon Ride, which gives you a tour around the Patch while teaching you about its history and the evolution of pumpkin cultivation over the years.
Visit their pumpkin tree, which stands proudly amid their children’s garden, conifer garden, huge, stunning mum quilts, and Noah’s ark of pumpkins, squash, and gourds.
Location: 1749A E County Rd 1900 N, Arthur, IL 61911, United States
Yoder’s Kitchen’s Amish specialties are a terrific way to eat like a local in Arthur.
Along with a buffet of Amish food, it also offers a wide selection of baked goodies that are sure to gratify.
Miller’s Family Cooking owner Anna Herschberger was up in a traditional Amish home where her mother ran a catering service.
Due to her Amish upbringing, Anna barely completed the eighth grade, but she learned more than enough from her mother.
Anna started working as a server in Yoder’s Kitchen in 1994, where she discovered a lot about the food industry.
She now runs Yoder’s Kitchen with her husband, Nelson, and their two sons, Daren and Derrick, who also work as restaurant managers.
Traditional Amish home cooking and baked products such as cinnamon bread, white bread, whole wheat bread, cinnamon swirl bread, cinnamon rolls, and peanut butter cookies are served at Yoder’s Kitchen.
Location: 1195 E Columbia St, Arthur, IL 61911, United States