Arthur, Ill. (WCIA)

The Illinois Amish Heritage Center is hosting a Barn Raising Event Weekend October 28 and 29 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at the Illinois Amish Heritage Center campus. The weekend will not only feature a traditional Amish barn raising for the first time in Central Illinois in 100 years, but local Amish food, Amish demonstrations, craft vendors and more! 

Illinois Amish Heritage Center To Host a Barn Raising Event This Weekend

The Illinois Amish Heritage Center is hosting a two-day barn raising event this weekend
including activities and demonstrations for all ages plus local amish food, vendors and attractions. The public event will be from 9am to 5pm on Friday, October 28 and Saturday October 29 2022 from 7:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. at their campus located between Arcola and Arthur, Illinois, on Illinois Route 133.

The Herschberger-Miller barn, originally constructed three miles west of Arthur, Ill., in 1879, was
dismantled in spring of 2022. The refurbished wood from the barn arrived to the Illinois Amish Heritage Center campus October 20, 2022 and reconstruction began.

This two-day public Barn Raising will feature local food such as:
• Pauly’s BBQ
• Sisters Coffee
• Bagdad School Lunch Tent
• Steam Engine Ice Cream & Pie
• Local Amish Bake Sale
• Fresh Popcorn
• Amish Pretzel Sale to benefit a local family in need
• PLUS: Saturday Only-7am -9am- Authentic German breakfast with pancakes, liverwurst,
sausage, and more!

Additionally, the weekend will feature the following demonstrations and attractions:
• Apple Butter
• Apple Cider Press
• Buzz Saw Demonstration
• Blacksmithing
• Buggy Rides
• Children’s Crafts
• Glassblowing
• Grist Mill Demonstration
• Horseshoeing
• Petting Zoo
• Rope Making
• Sawmill
• Shingle Making

Attendees will be witness to a partial hand-raising of the Herschberger-Miller barn. Those wishing to attend can purchase tickets at the admission gate for $10 per person, or visit bit.ly/IAHCBarnRaising to purchase in advance.

For more information, call Cassie Yoder (217) 254-4012. Also, look for the Illinois Amish Heritage Center at www.illinoisamish.org and on Facebook.

About the Barn:
This large, five-bay, Pennsylvania-style barn features the typical forebay overhang on the east side, and a drive-in threshing floor on the west side. On the lower level are stalls for six draft horses, pens for various livestock, and the milking bay along with grain and feed bins. The upper level is open for hay and grain storage. The barn was dismantled in February and the timbers were shipped to the facilities of Trillium Dell Timber Works, now Firmatas, in Galesburg, Illinois for restoration or replacement as needed. A traditional barnraising is planned for the fall. This will be coordinated by Firmatas staff and involve interested public and Amish from the local as well as other Amish areas. The framework will go up first followed by the roof rafters and roof and then the siding. The interior of the restored barn will include the original grain bins,
stalls, and other features from the original barn.

The addition of a working livestock barn at the IAHC will allow the site to feature various types of farm animals and farming activities related to them. This will bring the site one step closer to an envisioned Amish living history farm. Once restored, this barn will allow visitors to experience traditional care and feeding of livestock and horses, and grain threshing and feed storage, along with other traditional farming practices. It will also be used as a horse hotel, to attract visitors with horses that would then stay at local hotels and bed & breakfasts. Animals for demonstrations, viewing and a petting zoo will also be housed in the barn.

Tourism to IAHC and the Area:
The Arthur Area Association of Commerce reports that annually over 200,000 visitors from all 50 states and an average of 50 foreign countries travel to Arthur, Illinois (population 2,300), home of the state’s largest and oldest Old Order Amish Settlement of 4,500 Amish living in the surrounding area. Located just 9 miles west of Interstate 57, IAHC is easily accessible, and within a 50 miles range, cities include Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Mattoon, Charleston, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Danville, Lincoln, Effingham, Tuscola, Arcola, Taylorville, Sullivan, and Terre Haute, Indiana. Specifically, IAHC draws visitors from across the nation, bringing tourist dollars to Illinois. A review of 2589 individuals or families completing IAHC registration cards demonstrate that 45% of those visitors reside out of the State of Illinois. IAHC is also beginning to attract visitors from other countries, including France and Japan.

Within a 50- mile radius of Arthur there are 111,000 students in grades K-12, attending 370 public schools. It is anticipated that the IAHC will be a prime field trip for public schools to send busloads of students, chaperoned by teachers and parents, to see Amish culture come alive, encouraging families to return for festivals, events, and demonstrations. Located within a 30 miles driving distance there are 72 hotels and lodgings, with 5,836 guest rooms that will benefit from expanded programs, demonstrations, festivals, weddings, and events that are predicted
to draw overnight visitors, attracted by the addition of the two historic barns and demonstration agriculture field.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Illinois Amish Heritage Preservation Center is to enhance the preservation,
understanding, and appreciation of all aspects of the culture and heritage of the Amish people in Illinois from 1865 to the present.