By Mindy Borden
If you’re looking for a fun, yet educational, day trip with your kids that won’t leave them complaining of boredom, a visit to Casey is sure to super-size your family fun.
Casey, located about 75 miles southeast of Champaign-Urbana off I-70, has become increasingly more notable due to Casey native Jim Bolin, who decided that he wanted to do something to make the town stand out. Thanks to Bolin’s work, Casey is now home to seven landmarks receiving Guinness World Record status.
These include the world’s largest wind chimes, rocking chair, golf tee, pitchfork, wooden shoes, mailbox, and crochet hook and knitting needles. (UPDATE: In late September 2019, Guinness officials certified in Casey the world’s largest key, golf club, gavel, twizzle spoon, teeter-totter and barbershop pole.)
Many of the landmarks are located on a walking trail along Casey’s Main Street. On a beautiful day, visitors can walk between many of the sites. Posted signs and directional arrows are visible throughout town in order to guide visitors to the landmarks.
Our family frequently travels through Casey en route to southern Illinois and we recently stopped in order to tour the sites. Our girls commented it was the most fun car ride that they have had on our trips to see family.
We started our expedition at the world’s largest wind chimes (109 E. Main Street). The 56-foot structure is easy to spot when arriving into town. Directly across the street you will find the world’s largest rocking chair. It weighs more than 46,200 pounds and stands 56 feet, 6 inches tall. And it actually rocks! It took 10 people to rock the chair in order to qualify for the record because the items have to be functional.
A few blocks west of these two landmarks, you will find the world’s largest mailbox. Make sure to bring a piece of mail to send from the mailbox. The giant flag on the mailbox will rise when mail is inserted. You can climb up inside the mailbox and wave to the town that’s 32 feet, 6.5 inches below. Be sure to have someone take a picture of you and your family from the ground.
The world’s largest wooden shoes are directly behind the mailbox at the Casey Candy Depot (20 W. General Robey). Make sure to go during business hours in order to get an up-close and personal view of the wooden shoes. (The store is open on Sunday from noon-5 p.m. and Monday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., as of this writing.) Visitors are still able to see the shoes from an external window if they happen to be in town outside of the store’s regular business hours.
The world’s largest crochet hook and knitting needles are inside the Yarn Studio (2 E. Main Street). The knitting needles weigh roughly 25 pounds each and the crochet hook weighs more than 9 pounds itself. To qualify for the world record, Jeanette Huisinga, owner of the Yarn Studio and relative of Bolin, knitted 10 rows with the oversized tools. The Yarn Studio is closed on Sunday and Monday; it is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (hours subject to change, so always check).
The remainder of the world records are spread across town and will require some driving. The world’s largest golf tee is at Casey Country Club (203 NE 13th Street). Standing more than 30 feet tall and weighing 6,659 pounds, it is an impressive sight in the middle of the golf course. Visitors are able to access fantastic views of the landmark.
From there, drive about a mile to the world’s largest pitchfork. The pitchfork, next to local favorite Richard’s Farm restaurant (607 NE 13th Street), is 60 feet long and weighs 1,940 pounds. It was created to accompany the theme of the restaurant.
Other “big things” that weren’t quite record-worthy but are equally impressive: a 13-foot wooden coin at the Casey State Bank (940 Illinois Rte. 49); a 32-foot, 6-inch pencil; and a human-sized birdcage with perch (all on West Main Street); and a 36-foot long yardstick located at 101 N. Central in Casey. These should definitely be checked out on your visit. The birdcage was a family favorite of ours with both girls asking for photo opportunities in it!
If you find yourself craving some good food, the Whitling Whimsey is a fun cafe offering a great selection of foods and desserts. It’s beside the world’s largest wind chimes.
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