John Deere Historic Site kicks off special events


GRAND DETOUR – The John Deere Historic Site kicks off its season of special events with its annual Music & Crafting Through Time Festival on Sunday, June 23 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

This event pairs the entertainment of local musicians with a variety of pioneer-era crafters and artisans demonstrating and selling their wares. Attendees will learn about candle making, basket weaving, broom making, quilting, tatting, and soap making. Children of all ages can also participate in a variety of old-fashioned games like hoop rolling, graces, and potato sack races.

“Our Music & Crafting Through Time Festival is a great opportunity to have some fun, the old-fashioned way,” said Kristen Veto, manager for the John Deere Historic Site. “In addition to enjoying a relaxing day of listening to local musicians and learning about pioneering crafts, guests can also experience everything the Historic Site has to offer, including demonstrations by our blacksmith and guided tours of John Deere’s home.”

The performance schedule for the day includes rock and blues musician, Robbie Leblanc from 10 a.m.-noon. and easy rock band, Burn N’ Bush from 1-3 p.m. Crafting demonstrations will take place throughout the day. 

A hot dog vendor and ice cream truck will be on site for the day but picnic baskets are also welcomed. Attendees should know that alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the grounds.  Guests are also encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to the event.

Other special events at the Historic Site this season include:

Green Iron Days, Aug. 2-4 – This unique biennial event brings together vintage tractor owners displaying their legendary John Deere machines. A special parade will be held Aug. 3 at 7 p.m.

Fall Festival, Oct. 12 – A celebration of the harvest season where kids can decorate pumpkins, bob for apples, ride in a covered wagon or visit with farm animals.

The John Deere Historic Site is a free attraction and is open seasonally, March through December. Located in Grand Detour, the site is the original Illinois homestead of John Deere and is the location where he built his first successful “self-scouring” steel plow. It was recently named one of Illinois’ top historic sites by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission. Gates open daily, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, Noon- 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is always free.

For more information about the Music & Crafting Through Time Festival or the John Deere Historic Site, go to, call 815-652-4551 or email