From festivals, to outdoor recreation, to performing arts … there’s a lot to enjoy in Richland County. “Home of the White Squirrel”
The centerpieces of Olney’s attractions are their world-famous White Squirrels. The loveable creatures can be found at many places throughout the city, but they are most prevalent in the older residential neighborhoods with mature trees and in the Olney City Park.
Olney City Park
The Olney City Park is home to more than White Squirrels, the Cummins Municipal Band has been performing summer concerts there for more than 100 years. The Richland County Fair is held there each July and the Olney Fall Festival Arts and Crafts Festival is held there each September.
Olney Christmas Light Display
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s be sure to experience the Olney Christmas Light Display, featuring thousands of holiday lights plus animated cartoon characters in dazzling displays.
Several special events are held at Olney City Park throughout the year, including a Christmas light display. The light show begins on Thanksgiving weekend and runs through Christmas. In July, the Richland County Fair also holds their annual county fair at the park. On the last Saturday of September, the Olney Arts Council hosts their annual Fall Festival in the City Park.
Olney’s White Squirrels
For more than 100 years, Olney area has been home to the largest known population of white squirrels. The best viewing spots are Olney City Park, Millers Grove and several residential neighborhoods with mature trees and feeding stations. Look for them in the early morning hours when they are most active.
East Fork Lake
East Fork Lake offers outdoor recreation for the whole family, including fishing, water sports and picnic areas that make for a wonderful day on the lake. A brochure highlights the features of this recreational jewel.
Borah Lake was built as a water supply reservoir by the City of Olney in 1954. Borah Lake covers 137 acres and has a depth of 26 feet and an average depth of 11 feet. The lake has a coastline of 15 miles and a watershed of 2,155 acres. Borah Lake’s sport fish population consists primarily of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish. Channel catfish are stocked into the lake on an annual basis. Flathead catfish and yellow bullheads can also be found in the lake. Every year, the fish population is surveyed.
Richland County is home to Vernor Lake. This lake spans 36 acres. At its deepest point, it is about 45 feet deep. Anglers can probably catch a variety of fish while fishing, including Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, and White Crappie.
Bird Haven, Robert Ridgway Memorial Arboretum & Sanctuary
Located on the southern side of East Fork Lake, at Millers Grove, this site is a living tribute to Robert Ridgway, naturalist, scientist, artist and author.
A walking trail allows visitors’ to view over 50 different varieties of trees, fauna and wildlife. A world-renowned man, Dr. Ridgway was an authority in the field of ornithology with the Smithsonian Institute.
Kiwanis Road, Olney
Located on the north side of East Fork Lake. Playground Equipment, VITA path (Fitness/exercise trail) and Disc Golf! (A.K.A. Frisbee Golf) Bring your own Frisbee or Discs or they can be purchased at Wal-Mart. Fun for the entire family or the serious enthusiast! Also, offering opportunities for you to fish, picnic and boat.
Richland County is also home to two wineries —Fox Creek Vineyards, located three miles north of Olney, and Berryville Vineyards, located south of US 50 near the Richland/Lawrence County Line on the Prairietown Road.
1910 N. Prairieton Rd., Berryville
Somewhere nestled between Mulberry Hill and the town of Berryville, lies a place called Berryville Vineyards. Here we harmonize with nature to cultivate premium wine grapes. Only hand selected, sun-ripened fruit from our own vineyard becomes Berryville wine. All our wines are 100% Estate Grown & Bottled, ensuring you the finest quality.
Berryville Vineyards features handcrafted fruit and grape wines from 20 varieties of grapes as well as raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries grown on site. Visitors are welcome anytime (by appointment other than Saturdays) to enjoy the peaceful nature of Berryville Vineyards. Walk through the mature oak forests, picnic in the vineyards or wade in the creek. Escape to the seclusion of the country and relax.
Open: Saturdays Noon to 5:00 PM and by Appointment
Fox Creek Vinyards
5502 N. Fox Rd., Olney
Fox Creek Vineyards Company is a small, family owned and operated winery with their own modest vineyard and is located in the Southeastern Illinois countryside amid the low rolling hills of the old orchard country of Richland county.
They have fine Hand-Crafted Wine in the Traditional Styles of the Old Masters.
Tastings and tours are available. Open: Fri. – Sat.10 am – 6 pm; Sun. 1 pm – 6 pm; and by appointment
Chamber of Commerce Bicycle Classic
The Annual Olney and the Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce Bicycle Classic in September always brings smiles to everyone’s faces, with bicycle races for families and individuals from 4 years and up, followed by professional racers competing in timed criterion races.
Richland County Dining
412 E. Main, Olney
Open: Mon. 6AM – 2PM, Tues. – Sat. 6:00 AM to 7:30 PM, Sun. 7AM – 2PM
1950’s style restaurant, family oriented, carry out or dine in. In operation for over 50 years. Homemade French fries is their specialty. Well known all over the country and featured in several magazines.
The Country Griddle
1065 W. Main, Olney
Open: Tuesday, Wednesday and Sundays 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Thursday, Friday & Saturday 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Closed Monday
We have special rooms for that special event! Our Garden Room seats up to 60 people and our Banquet Room seats up to 250 people. Also available; sound system, pull down screen, DVD and TV. FREE Wireless Internet too!
American (Traditional) Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – Buffets & Southern food, Lots of rooms for all types of gatherings. Walk-Ins Welcome, Good For Kids, Take Out and Catering.
Hog N Dog
320 S. West , Olney
Open: Open 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday – Saturday, closed Sunday
Smoked Pork Sandwiches, Baby Back Ribs, Jumbo Beef Hot dogs and BBQ. “You’ll Relish the Flavor”
205 S. Whittle Avenue, Olney
Open: Mon – Wed 7:30 – 6:00, Thurs – Sat 7:30 – 8:00
The Gourmet Espresso Cafe. Interesting and delicious menu items prepared fresh for you daily. Sandwiches, Wraps, Cakes & More. Catering, Showers & Parties Too. FREE wireless Internet available on-site to patrons. You’ll Love Us A Latte!