This southern Illinois town is the official home of Popeye

Road trip to Chester to visit the only Popeye museum

Did you know the iconic cartoon character Popeye was inspired right here in the Heartland?

In fact, the creator Elzie Crisler Segar was born in Chester, IL.

The cartoonist took his very first job at Chester’s Opera House.

That’s where he got the inspiration for several of his characters. That includes Popeye, based on Chester resident Frank “Rocky” Fiegel, Olive Oyl who was a lean local storeowner, and Wimpy who resembled his boss at the opera house, J. William Schuchert.

Today, Chester has embraced where it all began.

Popeye fanatic Debbie Brooks and her husband own the only Popeye museum, housed in the same building as the old opera house in Chester.

Heartland Weekend’s Nichole Cartmell takes you inside Spinach Can Collectibles to see thousands of Popeye items.

You can also say “I am what I yam, an that’s all I yam” as you stop along the Popeye Character Trail.

Around Chester, you’ll find 13 statues of various characters.

Coming in 2018, the statue of Nana Oyl will take residence near the Chester Rehab Center.

Follow this link to down the map of the Popeye Character Trail.

The Popeye Picnic

Everyone is invited to celebrate the sailorman at the 39th annual Popeye Picnic.

Enjoy live music, carnival rides, food stands, and lots of entertainment.

Even better: most of it’s FREE.

New this year, a WWII LST 325 will be docked at the riverfront.

Make time to step inside the public library for a special exhibit from the Smithsonian.

WHAT: Popeye Picnic

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to midnight
Sunday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

CLICK HERE to see the full schedule of events

WHERE: Chester, IL