The Decatur area enjoys year-round tourism. A major focal point. Lake Decatur, is a popular sport fishing lake renowned for its large-mouth bass, white bass, channel catfish, walleye and crappie fishing. The lake and its surrounding environment attract visitors from all over the state for year-round boating, camping and hiking. Sand Creek Recreation Area offers horseback riding and bow hunting of deer. Rock Springs Center provides a wide variety of outdoor activities such as bicycling, cross-country skiing, and hiking.
But the city offers its own special brand of tourist attractions. Spring offers its own special brand of tourist attractions. Spring , Summer and Fall are especially inviting. Museums, art galleries, campgrounds abound thought the area. Festivals and craft shows, marathon races, and concerts highlight holidays and seasonable celebrations bring tourists from all over the state.
Popular among visitors are the Decatur Celebration, SummerStart, Pumpkinfest, Autumn Shoreline Classic, JWA Anheuser-Bush charity golf classic, jazz festival, and old-time piano playing contest. The Decatur Celebration draws 300,000 people each year and is designated as one of the top ten street fest in the United States.
SummerStart features the boat races, crafts, bands, dancing, and good food. The Autumn Shoreline Classic at nelson Park is Central Illinois's' most popular running race, featuring a 15K running race;a 5k run/walk race and, for the kids, and a 1/2 mile " Tot Trot".
November starts with the silver Dollar City Art and Craft show at the Hickory Point Mall and the dressy March of Dimes Chef's Auction, followed by the annual Greater Downstate Bluegrass Music Festival.Art and craft shows and music festivals continue up through Christmas.
The holiday start with the Decatur Jaycee' Community Christmas Parade and continue through the symphony of trees and the Heritage & Holly Historic Home Tour, and Christmas Time at the Zoo. This is the time when the Oglesby Mansion and the Millikin HomeStead dress up, putting on their Best Victorian-era charm of the Christmas season. Area churches join in inviting local residents and holiday travelers alike to chorales and candlelight activities.
But the Decatur area also has its year-round cultural attractions. A stroll through downtown is an event in itself. Tourist will find a total of 27 monuments reflecting local historical events and famous people. Among these are the statue of "Lincoln at 21" on West, Main. A must-see attraction are the frescoes providing a grand perspective of history of central Illinois. Birks Museum at Millikin university, endowed by the two sisters, maintains an exhibit of fine glassware, china and porcelain, some dating back to the 15th century. the collection totals more than 1000 vases, lamps and pieces of art, reflecting such names as Wedgewood, Tiffany and Boehm. The museum also features exhibits of turn-of the century furniture and Chinese art objects.
The children's Museum of Illinois delights children with its handsome physics and other science demonstrations. The Macon County Historical Society Museum Complex brings the Prairie Years and the Victorian Eara to life through a prairie Village including the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced. Other museums in and around the area offer a look at lifestyles of a bygone age, as lived by prominent families of the region.
Local art galleries work by nationally known artist as well as local talent. Gallery 510 is dedicated to local artists who have joined together to promote the visual arts. It is located in a century old landmark home in the Decatur historic district. The Kirkland Fine Arts center at Millikin University displays work by art students as well as national known artist.
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Lake Decatur is the premier recreational area with its 36-mile shoreline offering excellent fishing and boating as well as hiking in the surrounding countryside. The lake produces catches of large-mouth bass, crappie, channel catfish and blue gill. Boating is allowed year-round. Boat ramps are provided at convenient locations around the lake.
The Decatur Park District offers an abundance of recreational opportunities from bicycling to bow hunting, Whether your interests are service clubs, historical pursuits, political, literary, professional, educational or just plain "birds of a feather flocking together" you will find your kindred spirits here. The Rock Springs/Fairview Bikeway is a 2,54-mile, paved trail for very excellent scenic touring from Fairview Park to Kiwanis Park and Rock Springs Center. Bow hunting is permitted both at the Rock Springs Center and Sand Creek Recreational Area. This is hunting for the sporting purist.
Wintertime ushers in cross country skiing at Rock Springs Center trails whenever there are 3 inches of snow. Equipment can be rented on site, When there is no snow, these trails become hiking trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. The Sand Creek Recreation Area also offers hiking and horseback riding. A total of 7.6 miles of marked trails pass through oak and hickory forests, meadows and wooded creek bottoms and prairie. Winter also draws ice-skaters to the Decatur Civic Center Arena for old-fashioned open skating. Ice skating lessons are available, Bring your sleds to Griswald Conservation area for great sledding. There is a warming hut on top of the hill, The YWCA and YMCA provide indoor swimming, racquetball, handball and squash. Swimming is also offered at the Decatur Athletic Club. Kiwanis, Sinawik, South Shores and Cresthaven city parks provide free tennis. Trap and skeet shooting and turkey shooting are available at the Decatur Gun Club.
The Park District maintains a total of 6 golf courses to challenge the serious golfer and the beginner alike. Each course has a resident PGA professional. Fairies Park Golf Course and Hickory Point Golf Course are I 8-hole, 72-par courses with restaurants and driving ranges. Scovill Golf Course has a restaurant and driving range" and 71 par and Nelson Park Golf Course at 65 par both are 1 8 hole courses but play a little easier. Stevens Creek Golf Course and Wildwood Golf Course are short 9 hole courses and play even easier at 28 and 27 par respectively.
Scovill Park, which is located at 71 S. Country Club Rd. is dedicated to all children, This wonderland of fun includes wooden towers, forts, slides, swings and places to climb, jump and tunnel. Animals from around the world live as they would in the wild in this 10-acre zoo on a bluff overlooking Decatur. The zoo is closed during the cold weather months, however, residents take time off from their winter vacation to host Christmas time at the Zoo. Children can visit Santa and his elves at his workshop and meet all the winter-loving animals.
If reading and study are your style, the Decatur Public Library will answer your needs. In addition to well-stocked shelves, the library is ready to come to you through its extension outreach services. Volunteers provide home delivery of library materials to those who have no in-home family members who can visit the library on their behalf.
Decatur is home to the Decatur Pride, a nationally ranked fast pitch softball team. A large group of boosters make an evening at Borg-Warner field entertaining.
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The arts are alive and well in Macon County. Much of the entertainment such as festivals, arts and crafts shows, outdoor recreation are home-grown. But the community has eagerly sought and been blessed with fine music, dance and drama.
Theater 7 is a non-profit community theater organization whose purpose is to foster an interest in theater through the presentation of live plays, musicals, and instructional workshops on various aspects of theater production. Theater productions, choirs, ballet troupes, high school groups and professional performers are just some of the many events held at the Lincoln Square Theater. The theater is managed solely by volunteers, and profits from the performances are used to restore and preserve this elegant and historical building.
The Greater Decatur Chorale is an outstanding chorale ensemble comprised of 20 adults performing beautiful music ranging from Broadway favorites to songs of the hit parade, as well as many other familiar melodies. Two concert series are held at the Decatur Civic Center Theater, The Greater Decatur Chorale is co-sponsored by WAND-TV.
The Decatur Park Singers are a top-quality ensemble comprised of college-age performers with vocal and instrumental arrangements backed by a state-of-the-art sound system. The Decatur Park Singers perform not only in Decatur but also at festivals, company functions, conventions and celebrations throughout Illinois and into Missouri.
The Kirkland Fine Arts Center plays host to groups such as the Moscow Festival Ballet, the Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quartet, and the Flying Karamazov Brothers.
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The Decatur Public schools provide students with the necessary tools and skills to become productive citizens of the 21 st century. The Board of Education recently approved $5 million to improve those skills. The upgraded technology will help students learn better, help staff members perform their responsibilities better and provide information to the public on current educational happenings and events. The 1 8 public elementary schools K-6 and one K-8 offer instruction in language arts, reading, handwriting, spelling, mathematics, social studies, science and health. Physical Education, vocal and instrumental music studies and speech therapy programs are delivered through special teachers. The schools seek to expand the horizons of their students through field trips, guest speakers, and special programs.
The three junior high, or middle schools (grades 7-8) provide a continuation and strong preparation for high school in the language arts, math and the science. Students expand their experience into exploratory studies that include the arts, business, foreign languages and music. It is here that students begin to sense the excitement and challenge of a wider world of learning and to prepare for high school. The 3 high schools serving Decatur residents offer a widely varied range of college preparation, technical and vocational courses. There is a strong emphasis toward cooperative experienced-based courses, sponsored by local business and industry
Industry benefits from educated, well rounded graduates with a wide variety of educational tools and knowledge in the use of computers and technology at all levels.
High school students are well grounded in a basic education for life-long learning, yet may choose from a variety of elective courses to suit each student's special interests and talents. Students explore their own extracurricular interests, too, through athletics, drama, music, special clubs, and vocation-related groups.
The central theme that runs through the schools is mastery of basic skills and achieving excellence at all levels. There are honors and gifted programs to challenge the academically talented while support is offered for those with special needs. The schools are committed to the integration of technology into the instructional process to insure that students are equipped with the skills for continuous education.
Parents are given the opportunity to be continually involved with the content and quality of public education. Groups such as the PTA, booster clubs and special interest groups are encouraged to be involved at all levels.
Over 2,000 students are enrolled in private and parochial elementary and secondary schools. Public and private cooperation and coordination is maintained through a mutual commitment to providing the best education possible, whether the students goes on to higher education or into the work force.
Higher education beyond high school is offered through a local community college as well as a university. Richland Community College provides Associate degrees in the arts and sciences and transfer programs to 4-year institutions. The Articulated 2 + 2 program prepares students for transfer to Baccalaureate programs in Arts, Sciences and Engineering. Richland also offers basic certificates in Applied Sciences and Human Services. The college also maintains a strong continuing and community education program for those who simply want to expand their educational horizons. Courses are offered for the GED and for those learning English as a second language (ESL).
Millikin University is committed to the instruction of professionals in the performing and creative arts as well as to preparing its graduates for the professions. Graduates in all fields also receive a full grounding in a basic education for a lifetime of learning. Millikin takes pride in motivating students to develop reasoning ability, esthetic awareness, discriminating judgment and a sense of purpose.
The University offers Bachelors degrees in 25 major academic fields, in its college of Arts and Science and College of Fine Arts.
Additional interdisciplinary degree programs and pre-professional programs round out a full scope of academic opportunities. The colleges are composed of 3 divisions-. Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics. These include 14 majors leading to a four-year degree, including the Languages, Philosophy, Writing, Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Social Sciences, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics.
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Decatur maintains 2 area hospitals totaling 735 beds. Decatur Memorial Hospital, a 350-bed facility and St. Mary's Hospital, a 385-bed facility, are leading multidisciplinary providers of surgical, medical diagnostic, prevention and treatment services, In addition, Decatur Memorial Hospital serves as a primary and secondary cancer referral center within central Illinois providing radiology, oncology, and mammography as well as outreach education and prevention, home care and hospice, Decatur Memorial Corporate Health Services include such primary services as physicals, drug screens, MRO services, physical therapy, X-Ray, and a wellness center.
St. Mary's Hospital is a member of one of the largest multi-hospital systems in the United States with a total of 1 3 hospitals and over $ 1.2 billion in revenue. Their closest partner, St. john's Hospital in Springfield, provides St, Mary's patients with a direct link to meet specialized health care such as neonatology and cardiology. St. Mary's top priority continues to be quality patient care, which led to the creation of a regional health care network. This alliance of facilities, located throughout Central Illinois, is designed so all share in the development and enhancement of clinical services, Patients now receive a seamless continuum of care.
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Decatur residents enjoy a wide variety of religious denominations. Over 130 churches and synagogues are located in the area. The major denominations are represented throughout the city's neighborhoods. Baptist churches total 35, Methodist churches and Church of God locations each number 1 6, Lutheran IO-, Catholic 6, and Presbyterian and Disciples of Christ each number 5. A host of other denominations including Christian Scientist, Pentecostal, Mormon, Church of he Nazarene, Temple of B' Nai Abraham, others including interdenominational churches are located here.
Decatur area churches represent far more than places of worship. They are centers of community, civic and cultural activities, youth clubs and interest groups. Churches, large and small, minister to families providing Sunday services, mid-week prayer meetings, nursery accommodations, day care centers, Bible school, and special services of all kind.
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