The Kaskaskia Dragon – Vandalia, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Vandalia, Illinois

The Kaskaskia Dragon

Buy a token from the liquor store and you can make this beast spew flames on command. 

A fierce, fire-breathing beast lurks along an Illinois highway. A metal figure stands before the creature, gazing up at its lethal snout. At your command, bursts of flame erupt from the 35-foot-long dragon’s mouth. 

You don’t need to know any High Valyrian to make this dragon breathe flames on command. Just purchase a “dragon token” from the nearby liquor store or the hardware store for only a dollar. Each coin buys approximately 10 seconds of fire breathing fun.

This roadside attraction was built over a long winter in 1995 by the nearby Kaskaskia Supply and its owner, Walt Barenfanger. In 2001, the dragon moved near the highway in Vandalia, Illinois, to its current resting place, where hundreds of visitors have paid to make the beast breathe fire. It stands guard at an RV park, so you can sleep soundly knowing you’re protected by the fiery creature.

In recent years, the dragon has sported a black top hat, giving a most dapper appearance.

Know Before You Go

While the dragon is free for public viewing 24 hours a day, you must have a token in order to make it breathe fire. Tokens are available at both the Kaskaskia Supply (open Monday-Saturday from 7:30 am to 6 pm; Sunday 10 am-5 pm) and the nearby liquor store.

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