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February 28 - March 2, 2007
NEW: What are the "Seven Wonders of Illinois"...?
By Chad Morelli

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Statue of Zeus and the Lighthouse of Alexandria are all old hat.

Modern times call for better marvels. How about a 170-foot catsup bottle, a statue of "The Gentle Giant" and a 2,200-acre prehistoric archaeological site?

The Illinois Bureau of Tourism is asking residents to vote on the "Seven Wonders of Illinois," a list that could potentially include one of three different sites in Madison County. Already in the running for the final list of seven: the Brooks Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, the Robert Wadlow statue in Alton and the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

The "Wonders" contest will choose one wonder from seven different regions in Illinois: Chicago, Chicagoland, Northern, Central, Western, Southwest and Southern. The tourism bureau kicked off the idea on Feb. 8, receiving thousands of nominations through its Web site,

The nominations will continue through today. After that, the nominees will go head-to-head in a system of bracketed voting to determine a winner in each region.

Beginning Monday, March 5, residents can cast their digital ballots on the tourism bureau's Web site... and then vote once a day, each week during the month of March!

The folks at the Collinsville catsup bottle are already campaigning, hoping to get the word out to the public.

"We've got it up on our Web site and we've been telling people about the 'Seven Wonders' voting in our newsletter," said Judy DeMoisy, who handles public relations for the big catsup bottle in the sky. "We're talking about one of the coolest pieces of Americana around. We think a lot of people will be voting for it."
Directors at the Illinois Bureau of Tourism said they created the Seven Wonders contest as a way to promote some of the most "wonderful" tourism and sightseeing spots in Illinois. By creating an official list, the bureau hopes to bring more visitors into the Land of Lincoln.

seven wonders

7 wonders of illinois

"By enlisting consumers to help us determine the Seven Wonders of Illinois, we hope to excite residents and visitors alike and drive travel to our one-of-a-kind destinations," said Jan Kostner, deputy director of the Illinois Bureau of Tourism.

The final seven will not be announced until April 30. By that time, the tourism bureau hopes to have a number of travel packages available for those who want to see the Seven Wonders. The bureau will also offer downloadable videos on its Web site, allowing visitors to take virtual tours of the wonders.

Creating lists of "Seven Wonders" is nothing new. Around 240 B.C., the historian Herodotus compiled the original list, now known as the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World." That list included the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus, the Mausoleum of Maussollos, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

In Illinois, the Seven Wonders nominees so far include: the Old State Capitol in Springfield, the Popeye statue in Chester, the lodge at Starved Rock State Park, the Mississippi River, the Superman statue in Metropolis, the John Deere Pavilion in the Quad Cities, Millennium Park in Chicago, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, and the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest.

"When you actually take a minute to think about all of the amazing sites and great locations in Illinois, we truly do have some wonderful places to visit," Kostner said. "That's why we want to create this list, so people will realize some of the things that are out there."

Other wonders of Illinois in the running...

alton giant popeye superman

old state capital cahokia mounds

Brooks rich & tangy ketchup

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