Top of the Morning, Aug. 4, 2014: From the Archives
Since 1998 — except that year the grass was dead — the Fighting Illini have made Rantoul the center of the universe for a hot couple of weeks in August.
Camp Rantoul is getting ready to open again as the summer home of the football team.
So as you contemplate heading to Rantoul to watch, with the eternal optimism of the preseason, we asked Mike Graham, the village clerk of Rantoul who has been around the block a time or two, for some things to know about Rantoul that won't happen on the football field.
Here's a tip: Bring your clubs and your bathing suit.
— Gordyville USA: a national treasure for local auctions, national horse shows and other events, located halfway between Rantoul and Gifford on U.S. 136.
— Taylor Studios: a national exhibit maker located in the (old) Wal-Mart building on East U.S. 136. They also designed and operated the best haunted house in Champaign County in October 2013.
— Willow Pond Golf Course: an 18-hole golf course located on the old Chanute Air Force Base and originally designed by a nationally renowned golf course architect for the Air Force.
— Brookhill Golf Course: An 18-hole golf course located 2 miles north of Rantoul on Maplewood Avenue.
— The Rantoul Recreation Department Complex hosting Camp Rantoul with the Forum Fitness Center and the Hap Parker Aquatic Center.
— Ott's Drive Inn: a unique institution in the life of Rantoul since 1963. (Bob Asmussen is kind of fond of it.)
— The Java Connection in downtown Rantoul: a new unique dining experience for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
— Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum located on the old Chanute Air Force Base, displaying the rich 77-year history of the base, which closed in 1993.
— Hardy's Reindeer Ranch with its gift shop and live reindeers from Alaska. Located west of Rantoul and just south of the industrial complex on Evans Road.
Meanwhile, in our online gallery, we'll treat you to some images you might not normally see:
— Lou Henson and Dee Brown.
— Large men sliding or cannonballing into the Hap Parker water.
— Asmussen and a reindeer.