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Midwest Morel Fest and Mash Up Home Brew Tasting

Festival season is beginning and Saturday May 6th promises to be a fun packed day here in Ottawa! It’s the Ottawa Midwest Morel Fest and Mash Up Home Brew Tasting at Jordan Block Park (Main Street and Route 23/71N). Festivities include morel mushroom hunting and auction, music, home brew beer tasting, kids morel painting and a craft and food market featuring local vendors.

About Morel Fest:
At Ottawa’s Annual Midwest Morel Fest you can learn, hunt and buy morel mushrooms. This unique festival offers ‘everything mushrooms’ from the morel enthusiast to the curious observer! Attend Morel University where you can learn to identify morels then take off for a guided hunt. We have set aside land just for you! There will also be a Championship Hunt which will feature over $400 in cash prizes. Both hunts have limited availability so be sure to register.

The prediction for the 2017 Mushroom season according to Mr. Tom Nauman, the conditions for morels are perfect. With a couple weeks to go, if the conditions hold up, this may be a great hunting season. So don’t miss out!

 

About Mash Up Home Brew Tasting:
The Mash Up Homebrew Festival is a friendly gathering of Homebrewers sharing their beer with you! Tasting tickets will be available at the door – 3 tasting for $5.00. Admission gets you samples of the best homebrewed beers our competitors have put on the line. Judges will pick the Best Brew and the Mayors Choice, while you, the people, will get to vote on People’s Choice. Judging will take place before the tent is open to the public. The tasting tent opens to the public at 12:30pm. Come by and  try over 50 different brews from clubs across Illinois!

 

Schedule of Events:
7:30am – Hunt & Auction Sign-In
8am to 8:30am – Morel University (Learn how to hunt morels)
8am to 4pm – Vendor Market
8:45am – Busses depart for hunt
9am to 11:30am – Guided & Championship Hunt
10am to 2pm – Kids morel painting
12:30pm – 5pm Morel Mash Up Home Brewers Tasting
1pm – Mushroom Auction
2pm – Championship Awards schedule subject to change
5pm – After Party at Tangled Roots (812 LaSalle St)

Schedule is subject to change.

Tickets and Information
General admission to market and morel auction: Free!
Pre-Registration Morel Hunt Fees: $30 adults, $15 kids under 12 ($10 additional fee for day-of registration) Register by May 2nd.
Home Brewers Tasting Tent: $5 for 3 tasting tickets. Must be 21 and show valid ID to participate.
For registration and more information, call the Ottawa Visitors Center at 815-434-2737 or visit www.PickUsOttawail.com.
Hunt tickets strictly limited. No Refunds.

The Simple Life for Vacation Home Owners

The Simple Life

Located along the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill., Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142-acre development of single-family homes, townhomes, vacation cottages, carriage homes and condos, centered on a 32-acre harbor with a full-service marina and year-round restaurant. With its boating amenities, waterfront living and nearby recreational attractions, such as Starved Rock State Park and the I&M Canal Trail, the community offers an ideal resort lifestyle for those seeking a vacation, retirement or full-time residence.

“Many of our buyers are a bit nostalgic about how they want to spend their precious free time with their family and what they are looking for in a vacation home,” said Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “Often they think about their own childhood and how they would pack up the station wagon and go away for the weekend. When they come to Ottawa and Heritage Harbor, they love our small-town atmosphere and simpler way of life that not only harkens back to another time, but also lets them focus on building terrific memories with their family and friends.”

Charming downtown Ottawa

Barry noted the Ottawa community is a big contributor to the lifestyle vacation-home owners appreciate at Heritage Harbor. “This is a small town where business owners know their customers and greet them by name, which really adds to the sense of belonging when you own a second home here,” she said. “Plus, we still have a butcher’s shop, an independent grocery store, a weekly farmer’s market and a liquor store that even delivers. Our locally owned businesses create a sense of place that’s harder to come by in areas that are dominated by chain stores and big national brands. People tend to slow town and enjoy the experience of patronizing area businesses, rather than rushing through errands in order to cross items off their to-do list.”

She added that Ottawa is home to a number of community events and festivals that add to its charming atmosphere. “There are things happening throughout the year, such as Riverfest in the summer and our annual Scarecrow Fest in the fall, which encourage area residents to come out and enjoy our downtown district,” she said. “It’s a lively little town where you’re always likely to run into someone you know, whether you’re at one of our summer festivals or simply taking time to window shop as you walk through downtown.”

Ottawa’s relaxed pace of life and small-town feel extend to the streets of Heritage Harbor, where a series of pocket neighborhoods are designed to build a sense of community among residents. Green spaces with seating areas, community fire pits and meandering walking paths encourage homeowners to socialize. “One very traditional feature we include in many of our home designs is a wide, inviting front porch,” said Barry. “Back when most homes had front porches, families would often sit outside in the evening, visiting together and chatting with neighbors who walked by. We worked hard to recreate that same friendly atmosphere at Heritage Harbor through our streetscape and our home designs.”

Quaint and inviting cottages

A recreation-based lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activities and easy access to nature is another appealing part of the “simple life” at Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “Our vacation-home owners are looking for a complete change of pace from their day-to-day life and a place where they can not only enjoy the activities they love, but also share them with family and friends,” said Barry. “We often work with buyers who grew up in a family with a boat or lake cottage and want to give that same experience to their own kids. For them, having a home at Heritage Harbor and boating on the Illinois River is how they spend quality time together and create memorable family experiences.”

In addition to boating, Heritage Harbor is a convenient home base for hiking in Starved Rock State Park, biking on the I&M Canal Trail and enjoying a variety of other outdoor pursuits.

“We say it’s a slower pace of life, but it’s anything but boring with everything the area has to offer,” said Barry. “What our buyers really love is that this region lets them truly unplug and slow down, in the sense of having time to spend on the people and activities that matter to them most.”

Currently available at Heritage Harbor Ottawa are custom home sites priced from $92,500, vacation cottages priced from $209,990, townhomes priced from $284,900 and immediate-delivery single-family homes priced from $329,900.*

For information on Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort and available homes, call (815) 433-5000 or visit www.heritageharborottawa.com.

*Pricing subject to change.

Wind Down and Indulge Your Senses at the 2016 Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Fest

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It’s that time of year again as the weather warms up and layers are peeled off to come out and play in Ottawa. A fantastic jazz line-up awaits, paired with the freshest lobster and the best of Illinois wine. Still hiding? Come out, come out wherever you are and come on down to a fantastic three days that kicks off on June 10th. Find out more about the 2016 Ottawa 2 River Wine Fest and locate a great place to kick back.

Join Us for the 6th Annual Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Fest
Robert M. Eschbach, Mayor, with the principle partners of, the Ottawa Visitors Center, Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association, have planned a weekend to remember starting on Friday June 10th at 5pm and ending on Sunday June 12th at 5pm. This year’s event offers incomparable fresh grilled lobster in conjunction with three days of amazing live jazz performances and almost 20 wineries offering top quality pours to delight taste buds.

Visitors can enjoy historic architecture at the juncture of two rivers- a place where culture and nature enlivens and celebrates. Between jazz sets, featuring the incomparable Ladies of Chicago Jazz, explore the rich history of Ottawa.

• Walk through the site of the first ever Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Washington Park.
• Visit the grounds and tour the historic Reddick Mansion.
• Do a little shopping at the West Main Street antique district and unique boutiques. Grab something special found nowhere else.
• Drive along the Illinois River for scenic views and to step back into the history of our first inhabitants and explorers.

This weekend has something for everyone. During your stay, visit Court Street on Saturday or Sunday for Ottawa’s Outdoor Craft & Botanical Fair. Who doesn’t enjoy browsing our local fair to pick up something to brighten a room or garden? Ottawa knows how to have a good time. Are you ready?

Friday and Saturday planned entertainment ends at 10pm, but that does not mean you have to go home. After some Ottawa fine dining, turn to Heritage Harbor in Ottawa to soothe tired feet and prepare yourself for another day of adventure. Their state of the art marina has more than 450 boat slips. For those staying the weekend, pick up anything you need at the ship’s store and marina-side bar & grill, The Red Dog Grill. Its location on the Starved Rock pool of the Illinois River offers visitors world-class boating amenities and picturesque waterfront properties. The area is near two major interstate highways and is only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago. Plan your getaway today.

Schedule a stay Heritage Harbor to indulge in luxurious living surrounded by restorative natural beauty. This naturalists’ bird-watching spot lies along the Starved Rock Pool of the Illinois River but is also only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago. Isn’t it time that you treated yourself? The Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Festival and Heritage Harbor awaits.

Scarecrow Fest in Ottawa, IL

Every year at the end of September, hundreds of people head to Starved Rock Country and fill the streets of downtown Ottawa for the famous Scarecrow Festival.

This year’s event, marking the 28th annual celebration, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring a number of activities for all ages, the festival is an Ottawa tradition the whole family can enjoy.
The festival’s main attractions, of course, are the scarecrows. Local businesses and organizations construct the scarecrows to match the year’s theme and compete for prizes in two categories. The scarecrows are then put on display throughout downtown and festival goers vote on their favorite. The theme for this year hasn’t been announced yet, but Ottawa’s businesses and organizations have a hefty task ahead to beat the amazing straw Batmans, Supermans and other heroes from last year’s Superheroes theme.
Scattered throughout downtown alongside the scarecrows will be various booths and tables where people can learn about local businesses and nonprofits, watch demonstrations, and buy crafts and baked goods. In fact, the Scarecrow Fest features over 75 booths every year, making it Ottawa’s largest vendor fair. Many of the restaurants and shops in downtown also run special promotions during the festival so people can take a break from the vendor fair and activities to grab a bite and shop at some of Ottawa’s favorite stores. Other popular Scarecrow Fest activities include the chili cook-off, pet costume contest, Zombie Run 5K and a morning farmer’s market.

While the vendor fair, sales and chili cook-off are meant for adults, plenty of activities will also be available for children. Ottawa’s Scarecrow Fest is even recognized as Illinois’s biggest toddler-friendly festival because of its offerings for children of all ages, not just older children. A petting zoo, face-painting stations, bouncy houses, a rock-climbing wall and the bicycle rodeo are some of the attractions younger members of the family can enjoy at the Scarecrow Fest. Kids are also encouraged to take photos with their favorite scarecrow or in one of the scarecrow cutouts so families can remember the fun they had at the event.

Ottawa’s Scarecrow Fest is sure to be a fun-filled day for everyone, from families with kids and couples looking for a date idea, to friends getting together for a day out. Mark Sept. 26 on the calendar and make sure to come out and support the Ottawa community.

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