Romance “Plays” in Peoria

Gentlemen, make sure you take note. February 14th is Valentine’s Day. February has been known as the month of romance and love for a long time. In the 1700’s, Americans started making hand-written notes to loved ones expressing their emotions. Eventually, in the 1840’s, Americans started mass-producing Valentine’s Day cards to tell loved ones how they felt. Nowadays there are all sorts of ways to tell that special someone how much they mean to you. Maybe taking them on a trip for a romantic weekend? But what if you’re on a budget? We have a couple suggestions for affordable restaurants in Peoria.

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You don’t need to go a long distance for a weekend escape. Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center in East Peoria offers a romantic date night package to help you and your loved one have a night out while staying on a budget. Stoney Creek’s Date Night Package includes: a $25 gift card to Basta’s Restaurant or Texas Roadhouse, two movie passes to the Carmike Movie Theatre, a bottle of Fexinet Cordon Negro champagne, a box of Godiva chocolates, complimentary breakfast and late check-out the next morning. “We pride ourselves on putting people first,” says Stoney Creek Inn’s Assistant Manager Amber Bigelow. “We offer our guests not only a guest room but an experience.”

For couples looking for something a little more private with a lot more food, Chestnut Inn in Sheffield is the perfect bed and breakfast. They offer a Spa Package which includes: one night in the Rosewood Suite, a dinner for two, and a couple’s massage. A special bonus for those of you looking to get away for Valentine’s Day Weekend contains a lot of food. “Our Valentine’s Day Special features the amazing Chef Monika and her 5-course meal,” says employee and husband to owner Monika Sudov, Jeff Sudkov. “Foodies should definitely stay with us!” The courses are comprised of mini cheeseburgers, freshly prepared salmon, white chocolate raspberry desserts and many more mouth-watering concoctions.

The Embassy Suites and Conference Center in East Peoria  offers couples a great place to stay and relax. They have a Romance Package where couples can enjoy a one night stay, a box of chocolates, a bottle of champagne, two keepsake flutes and late check-out the next morning.  “We are the innovators of creating memories,” says Embassy Suites Director of Sales, Diana Anderson. This hotel has a great location for the couples that would like to get out and be able to spend some quality time shopping.

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If your sweetie if more interested in the performing arts, we have you covered there too! Country Inn & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites and Wingate by Wyndham are all offering an amazing offer package for those who are looking to experience Jersey Boys while they are in Peoria. The Jersey Boys: Oh, What a Night! Package includes: an overnight stay at one of the previously stated hotels, prime seating to enjoy Jersey Boys, lunch or dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ, transportation to and from your dinner and show, free private lot parking, and breakfast buffet.

Creating memories are a huge part of a romantic getaway. Nothing is better than creating those memories with someone you love and doing it within your budget. You don’t have to travel all the way to Paris and spend a load of money to rekindle a romantic spark. Just take a look at these fine lodging accommodations and many others where you can easily stay and “Play in Peoria”

Stoney Creek Inn Date Night Package Details

Chestnut Street Inn Spa Package Details

Embassy Suits Romance Package Details

Jersey Boys Package Details 

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Illinois Music Education Association

Written by: Jess Miller

Music lovers in the Peoria Area will be excited to hear that the Illinois Music Education Association  conference is coming to the Peoria Civic Center next week. ILMEA has hosted the past 28 conferences in the heart of Peoria and they call Peoria “home”.

“Peoria is the home of the Illinois Music Education Conference because of the strong support we receive from the City of Peoria, the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and our venue partners,” says Darcy Nendza, Executive Director of IMEA. “We are proud to call Peoria home!”

Now, you might be asking yourself “If I am not a music educator, why would I be excited about this conference coming to Peoria?” Good question.

This conference is not just for the instructors and students; it’s also for everyone who has a love for music! Not only will this conference host a free and public exhibit on Saturday, January 26 from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. that has over 175 exhibitors but, they are also providing a variety of free and budget-friendly concerts by some of the best musicians in the state.

The first concert is on Wednesday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m. and will feature the U.S Marine Corps All-State Jazz Band. This one is free and open to the public to attend! Just make sure you call the Peoria Civic Center to get a ticket voucher for this one. (309-673-8900)

The next concert is on Thursday, January 24 from 3-5 p.m.; this is the All-State Composition Contest Showcase Concert which features composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, Theresa Andersson. Andersson has performed on the Conan O’Brien  and Craig Ferguson shows. This one is also free and open to the public.

Friday, January 25 ILMEA will have the All-State Jazz Night Concert which has a small admission charge of $5, but this concert features both instrumental jazz and vocal jazz music. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

And finally, Saturday, January 26 they will have the All-State and Honors Concert. This one is also $5, and for that price you get to see 2 amazing concerts by the best high school musicians in the state!

There are roughly expected to be about 2,000 instructors as well as 8,000 additional students and exhibitors coming in from all corners of the state for this once a year conference. You don’t want to miss out on all these extraordinary performances by gifted music makers!

If you would like to see the whole schedule click here!

What the Festival of Lights Means to Me

Written by: Kaci Osborne, Tourism Manager at the PACVB

As a child driving through the Festival of Lights I remember how magical it all seemed. I grew up in Manito, Ill. where the population is 1,700, and the Festival of Lights was the closest thing to Disney World this side of the Illinois River. My family and I would “ooh and aah” our way through the two-mile spectacular display every year. With dragons, whales, space ships, and even 20-foot tall ducks, the Winter Wonderland really had something for everyone!

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enterpriseDragon_CREDIT John Telger

Now fast forward 20 years and I am an employee of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Festival of Lights to collect surveys. We passed them out at the beginning of the line and I collected them at the end to gather feedback.  As I drove through the Winter Wonderland to man my post at the bottom of the hill, I was just as amazed as my 8 year old self. This time it was more in appreciation of all of the work that goes into this event! Housing over 100 displays, made up of millions of lights, created and maintained by 300 community volunteers; it truly is a spectacular event.  East Peoria should be proud; they have put together a light display that would put Clark Griswold to shame.

Check out what other people had to say about the Festival of Lights this year!

Tami W. of Bloomington, IL

“Thanks so much! Love that this is here for our kids!”

Jeanette R. of Rantoul, IL

“We drove from Rantoul! The lights are awesome! Well worth the trip!!!”

Jodi W. of East Peoria, IL

“We have been coming every year for 14 straight years and love it! Thank you for all that you do.”

Shaun M. of Peoria, IL

“We come every year for a great time! 12 years in a row!”

Michelle W. of Champaign, IL

“Thank you for a wonderful tradition. We love the lights!”

Lee G. of Quad Cities, IL

“Grandkids love the lights and want to come every year.”

Emily B. of Normal, IL

“I live in Normal IL and this is the second time we have come to the festival of lights this year. My son loves to see the lights here and can’t wait to come back!”