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Elk calling from northwestern Illinois

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[SEPT. 29, 2005]  DEER GROVE -- Are you looking forward to the earthy sights and smells of the fall season? The folks at Sandy Pine Elk Farm are too as they prepare to welcome fall visitors. Located just outside Deer Grove, 85 miles west of the Chicago suburbs, the farm is a perfect destination for that fall day trip.

The Henrekin family started operating the elk farm in the fall of 1999, beginning with five animals that have quickly grown to 43 head as of this spring. The decision was made to open the farm to the public in August 2004 as a new agritourism destination because of the overwhelming interest in these majestic animals found in the Midwest. "We had an incredible busy fall last year giving approximately 7,000 elk tours to see our internationally ranked bulls," the Henrekins said.

A 7-acre corn maze full of fun twists and wrong turns and a 2-acre you-pick pumpkin and gourd patch have been added for family enjoyment.

The newest addition is a retail gift store stocked with one-of-a-kind gifts, including aspen log furniture, Native American baskets and pottery, leather wear, jewelry, candles, gift items, and much more.

The Henrekins say that fall is the most exciting time of year at Sandy Pine Elk Farm. As you're browsing the store, the aromas of cinnamon, spices and fresh apple pie will coax you over to chuck wagon concession stand, where there is a treat for everyone. On busy weekends they might be grilling elk burgers or brats, or on those crisp fall days, serving chili. And for those with the sweeter tooth they offer a variety of fresh-baked pies -- like apple caramel walnut, peach praline and very berry -- or everyone's fall favorite caramel apples.

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This spring a Sioux-style tent was added to the elk habitat. "We are currently making the tipi available for added atmosphere to our bonfire cookouts and for presentations for our fall school groups," LaMonica Henrekin said. "Reservations are filling up fast with family reunions, Scouts and small-business retreats."

Sit back and enjoy a relaxing wagon ride out to the elk pastures, nestled among the red pine trees and rolling hills. Always be on alert, listening in anticipation to hear the sound of antlers locking or bulls bellowing their mating call, the "bugle."

Sandy Pine Elk Farm invites you out to their farm this fall to enjoy the crisp days and relaxing atmosphere. Take a day to retreat to the country to this unique farm that allows its visitors an up-close glimpse of one of the country's most majestic animals, the North American elk.

Fall business hours are Monday-Saturday 9-6, Sunday 10-5.

[News release and LDN]

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