As it has been since the inception of ArnFest, the Holiday Inn at Crystal Lake is once again the official hotel for ArnFest. Providing amenities including a fitness center and pool, and free parking and Wi-Fi, the Holiday Inn Crystal Lake is also the site of the ArnFest Banquet and Auction on Saturday night. The hotel lobby also tends to become Ground Zero for much ArnFest merry-making and fun.
Located in Union, Illinois, West of Chicago and East of Rockford, the Illinois Railway Museum (IRM) is quite a place in its own right. In addition to hosting ArnFest for seven years, it not only has a fine collection of OWWM, but it is the largest Railway museum in the United States, boasting everything from gargantuan steam locomotives to electric street cars to classic diesel-electrics—and most everything in-between.
For those of you arriving early for ArnFest activities, you will often find many attendees meeting at Portillo’s for dinner on Thursdays and/or Friday evening. While this is not an “official” ArnFest destination, it has become a tradition. Home of some excellent Italian beef, burgers, and hotdogs, the local Portillo’s also includes a Barnelli’s Pasta Bowl, with salads, pasta, and award-winning ribs.
Like Portillo’s, Around the Clock is another traditional gathering place for ArnFesters to load up before the activities of the day. Featuring breakfast specials and good food at a good price, Around the Clock also has its own in-house bakery.