Friday, February 4, 2011

Illinois Celebrates Reagan's 100th Birthday

Illinois may be the Land of Lincoln, but northwestern Illinois is all about another presidential son: Ronald Reagan. Dutch spent his childhood here - born in Tampico, high school in Dixon - and the region works hard to promote its Reagan shrines. That's why Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert and a host of other Republican dignitaries are coming on Feb. 4 to kick off Reagan's 100th birthday year. The Centennial Commission has the slate of events. 

Dixon holds the top sights. A Reagan portrait made from 14,000 red, white and blue jellybeans hangs in the Dixon Historic Center. Reagan's Boyhood Home has a bizarre statue of Reagan admiring corn kernels in his hand and a one-of-a-kind gift shop run by chatty locals.