A large Illinois employer that people may not know much about aside from the fact it exists gave the public a rare opportunity to see what’s inside over the weekend. The Rock Island Arsenal, known for the military ordnance it has made over the years, is celebrating its 150th birthday. There was a parade and festival through Arsenal Island in the Quad Cities, which included entertainment, family events and building tours.

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Penny Kroul, one of the organizers of the event, says the open house is rare, but also a source of great pride. “We really are showcasing what the arsenal does in the community and how we support our soldiers worldwide,” Kroul said. “We’re really just excited. Folks can come on the island and participate with us.”

Kroul says the public may not realize how crucial the Arsenal is to the region. “We’re the largest employer. We have ties to the community,” Kroul said. “Even if we’re not employing folks here on the island, there are businesses that are working in conjunction with us, so that’s more employment opportunity in the community.”

As many as 8,000 workers are employed by the arsenal. In recent years some parts of the arsenal have been made available to the public – most recently the golf course.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/ www.AltonDailyNews.com)