Little Lake County parents are active, mobile and always seeking adventure! Sometimes we even traverse outside of our fair county to find family entertainment beyond our borders. Due to popular reader demand, we introduce “Little McHenry County,” a monthly column dedicated to finding fun with our neighbors to the west, written by McHenry County Moms in the know. This month we look at a historic artist’s showcase space and event venue in Harvard, the Starline Factory.
History and Culture in our Backyard
If you’d like to add some McHenry county history and culture into your family routine, check out the Starline Factory in Harvard, Illinois. Built in 1883, this cool historic factory has been transformed into a unique event, eating and art venue.
The Starline Factory has an interesting history that make attending events here more meaningful to McHenry County residents. In 1883, Henry Ferris invented and patented the hay carrier, and his shop was moved into the basement of a local hardware store in Harvard. Soon after, the hay carrier was sold in the hardware store. Owners of the store, Charles Hunt, and his father-in-law Nathan Helm, teamed up with Ferris. Together they manufactured over 50 products and acquired more than 250 patents on farm equipment in the factory. This property was saved from demolition more than a decade ago and was restored. It was then transformed into this beautiful niche for artists and events.
The Stanchion Pub at the Starline Factory is a restaurant open to the public Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Access to the Starline Factory rooms are open for viewing during this time. Salads, soups and sandwiches fill the menu, along with a few appetizers and desserts.
4th Friday Events
A highlight here that draws a crowd are the 4th Friday events at the Starline Factory. Regional artists work in collaboration with the community and art collectors to bump up the “cool” factor in this trendy space. Art exhibits, four stages of live music, and open artist studios all make this a fun way to unwind after a busy week.
A cash bar is available for wine, beer and mixed drinks, and appetizer tables are set up for some noshing. The entry fee is $10.00 cash at the door and (bonus!) kids 17 and younger are free when accompanied by a paying adult. The event runs from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on the 4th Friday of each month. Additionally, if you have an artistic leaning yourself, inquire about having your work featured here as local artists are encouraged to participate.
Special Events and Workshops
Special events are held here throughout the year, such as the upcoming Easter Country Breakfast on Sunday, April 1st. For a price tag of $19.95 for adults and $10.95 for kids age 4 – 12, a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet is provided in this interesting space. And if it’s an extended family affair, don’t worry, a full cash bar is also available. The special feature is a Bloody Mary Bar. The Easter Bunny will make an appearance so you can grab a cute picture of your family in your Easter best.
The Starline Factory also offers a variety of workshops for your inner artist, including some in photography, encaustic art and gems. Check out the website for more information and to register. And if you are so inclined to hold an amazing party, event space is also available and absolutely gorgeous.
If you are looking for a way to break out of the winter doldrums, check out this fun and beautiful historical landmark in McHenry County.