Multimedia Specialist

Anthony Zilis is a multimedia specialist at The News-Gazette. His email is azilis@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@adzilis).

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This week’s stop in our video series on local businesses with stories to tell: The Moo-Thru at the Sidney Dairy Barn in Champaign County.

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Until 2017, the Sidney Dairy Barn would become so busy on weekends that people would park in the neighboring lot, which housed a construction office.

That year, instead of continuing the nuisance to his neighbor, Dairy Barn owner Dennis Riggs decided to buy the building and turn it into what is now called the “Moo-Thru.”

“It’s been everything from a lumber yard to a seed station to an apartment building to a construction office, and now we’ve turned it into a multi-faceted unit that includes a drive-thru, a historical background of my farming operation and a historical background of the Sidney Dairy Barn itself,” he said.

Its small museum includes pieces from his grandfather’s blacksmith shop, photos and tools from the family’s farm, and a John Deere 1035 tractor.

“It runs, it drives, it’s slow, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of power,” Riggs said of the tractor. “The kids love it. They’ll climb on the seat and that kind of thing.”

Also included by the cash register at the end of the drive-thru is a replica of what the Dairy Barn would have looked like in the 1960s, when it first opened.

“The history of the building moves on. What will it be in 20 years? I don’t know,” Riggs said. “But right now, it’s got a whole new chapter and a whole new history that hopefully a lot of people will be able to enjoy.”