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'Shipyard on the Prairie' Focus of Seneca Festival

Shipyard Festival To Feature Living Historians
from WWII Era Boom Time

June 15, 2012, Romeoville, IL — This year's Seneca Shipyard Days Festival is shaping up to be a wealth of living history for veterans, their families and WWII historians. Taking place in Seneca, 30 miles from Joliet, from Wednesday, June 20 through Saturday, June 23, the event will feature key people and projects certain to draw the interest and intrigue of veterans, and others those looking to learn more about the role this region played in the international theatre as the "Shipyard on the Prairie."

Hailing from DesPlaines, Art Carlson, whose life's work has been creating a Landing Ship Tank (LST) replica will be bringing his replica and his experience with it to the event beginning on Thursday, June 21. The following day, Friday, June 22, starting at 5:00 p.m., the author of a highly-acclaimed work, Flat Bottom Odyssey, Gene Jaeger, will participate in a discussion and book signing. Another historically significant personality scheduled to be at the event is Marshall Caulk, one of three remaining survivors who served on the LST 625 during WWII. He will be involved in a "Boom Time" presentation with the Seneca Historical Guild at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Additionally, the USS LST Memorial Organization will also be represented at the event. The non-profit group is in the process of raising funds for ongoing repair projects, and will have information and merchandise available.

This annual event is coordinated by a volunteer group of local residents, under the direction of Michael Ellis. Ellis is a 5th generation owner of Ellis Ace Hardware in Seneca, the state's oldest hardware store, now in its 140th year. He also operates a Radio Shack and rental services from his business, and is proud of the cooperative spirit of all the planners and program participants involved. "Everyone takes great pride in the part they play in bringing a well-deserved spotlight on Seneca during this event," said Ellis. He added, "With so many stories and experiences to be shared, we encourage people to come and honor the town and those who played a part in its boom during World War II." Ellis is eager to give credit to everyone who has helped him by offering their time and commitment year after year. Many additional features during the Festival include Taste of Seneca, tours of the Seneca Grain Elevator, a newly revamped Flea Market (on Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm), and fireworks, among other activities for visitors of all ages (check out the event's website at for a schedule of events, and background on the history of the Seneca Shipyard during WWII).

"Seneca Shipyard Days Festival is another great example of what our partners do so well, which is to collaborate and celebrate our region," said Bob Navarro, President and CEO of the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). "Whether visitors are coming from other states or neighboring towns, it's a great opportunity to learn about and acknowledge this time in America's history," he added. Navarro said the CVB applauds the event's lead planner Michael Ellis, the committee and sponsors for their dedication to bringing fresh and interesting features to the annual event.

For more information on this and other great festivals and travel destinations, go to and click on this specific festival; or call the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 800-926-CANAL (2262), for information on this and other partner opportunities along the 92-mile stretch along the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal.


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