What’s “Playing in Peoria?” – May 31

As the weather continues to heat up, so does the calendar for the Peoria Area! Yet again, there are several events and festivals happening this weekend. If you’re interested in seeing the complete schedule, head to our calendar of events. Cross your fingers and toes and hope for some sunshine because there are numerous outdoor activities that the area has to offer over the next few days! If the skies aren’t cooperating, don’t let the forecast keep you locked in your house. There are still plenty of things to do in Peoria!

Here are a few of the highlight events for this weekend…

wild west cherry fest

Wild West Cherry Fest – Do you enjoy carnivals, beer gardens, live music or even mini horse corrals? Stop by the Washington Festival Grounds from May 29 – June 1 and enjoy the 2013 Wild West Cherry Fest! There will be activities going on for every age!

Peoria Riverfront Market – The first Riverfront Market is going on this Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The schedule for the summer includes every Saturday morning until September 28 at Liberty Park on Peoria’s Riverfront. The market features local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, flowers, and local hand-crafted arts including jewelry, pottery, wood-turned items, and much more. Stop out and support your local businesses!

Sommer Park: World War II Reenactment – The WWII Reenactors will bring history to life on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 with over 30 tanks, half-tracks, trucks, and heavy weapons as well as World War II War Birds in action! You will be able to see the types of camps the Allies and Germans used during the war and battles will be reenacted throughout this action-packed, two-day event. Come out with your family and experience history at Sommer Park!

IHSA 1A and 2A Baseball State ChampionshipsDozer Park, home of the Peoria Chiefs will play host to the IHSA 1A and 2A State Championships throughout the weekend. The top-8 high school baseball teams will showcase their talent starting Friday morning and spilling over into Saturday afternoon. Come on down and watch some quality amateur baseball!

IHSA 1A and 2A Softball State Championships – Parallel to the action at Dozer Park, the ladies will get their chance at glory as well. EastSide Centre will host to the IHSA 1A and 2A Softball State Championships on Friday and Saturday. Games begin Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. and the champions will be crowned by Saturday night. Let the games begin!

Boat Drunks Concert – If music is your thing, we’ve got that too! The Boat Drunks have been categorized as “Trop-Rock”, which refers to the style of music made famous by Jimmy Buffet. So if you’re looking to let off a little steam, dance and enjoy a cold one, head to the CEFCU Center Stage at The Landing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1! Tickets are available at the gates for $7.

As always, stay busy Peoria!

This post is part of a weekly series that is designed to promote a weekly schedule of Peoria Area Convention and Visitor Bureau member businesses and events.

Written By: Andrew Ketterer


Spirit of Peoria – Kaci’s Places to Play in Peoria

PEORIA, IL – Last Friday, Kaci Osborne, Tourism Manager at the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (PACVB), took a ride to the riverfront and climbed aboard the Spirit of Peoria for a behind the scenes look at this fun and unique experience that the Peoria Area has to offer.

The Spirit of Peoria is truly one of the hidden gems in the region. This unique riverboat was built in 1988 in Paducah, Ky. and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The boat is solely propelled by its 21’ diameter paddle wheel; making it one of the few riverboats operating without the aid of any props or thrusters. Its shallow draft of 4’ enables the Spirit to land in just about any river town.

Okay. Okay. That’s enough about the actual boat. How does it entertain visitors?

Well, in about every way a boat possibly could. The Spirit of Peoria offers many different types of cruises to every age. The cruises travel up and down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and offer the authentic paddle wheel-driven trips to many locations throughout the region.

Captain Alex Grieves, owner of the famed riverboat, told Kaci just how busy this summer was shaping up to be. He mentioned June 1st as the start date for site seeing cruises that are available every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

But in addition to site seeing tours, Captain Alex says, “What’s so unique is that we offer private parties available on the boat. We do a lot of wedding receptions, fraternities and a LOT of proms.”

In addition to these events, multi-day and overnight trips are available as well. Specifically, the Captain Alex highlighted extended trips to Alton, Ill., Starved Rock, Ill. and St. Louis, Mo. that are available this summer.

Kaci points out that once off the boat, there’s so much more to check out on the Peoria Riverfront, including the Peoria Riverfront Museum, Caterpillar Visitors Center, many great restaurants and the riverfront farmers markets.

There’s no question that the Spirit of Peoria is one of the more unique “Places to Play” in Peoria!

This is part of the Kaci’s Places to Play in Peoria YouTube series. Please check out Peoria Area CVB Media Page for more videos from Kaci!

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

What’s “Playing in Peoria?” – May 22nd

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and let me tell you, it’s going to be a busy few days. There are several events and festivals happening in Peoria this weekend, but I was only able to pick and highlight a few. If you’re interested in seeing the complete schedule for this weekend, head to the calendar of events. With beautiful weather expected for the weekend, be sure to get out and enjoy a few Peoria Area events!

Louie Louie Festival – One of Peoria’s favorite events signals the beginning of summer, the Louie Louie Festival! Bring your kazoo and your most creative outfit down to the CEFCU Center Stage. Enjoy the warm breeze and a cold beverage while supporting the Illinois Valley Striders and St. Jude Runners. The parade begins at 3:30pm and heads down Main Street to the Riverfront. Admission is free for those wanting to attend.

Peoria Chiefs vs. Kane County Cougars – The Peoria Chiefs will host the Kane County Cougars on May 22, 23 and 24 at Dozer Field. The first pitch will be thrown at 6:30 p.m. each night. Don’t miss out on enjoying the warm weather while enjoying $1 hot dogs on the 22nd, a fireworks show on the 23rd and a chance to meet former St. Louis Cardinals players.

Old-time Piano – Events include a Tune-Ups party Thursday night at Sky Harbor where the public gets a chance to play. Friday, a dozen or more piano champions play the calliope on the Spirit of Peoria luncheon cruise. Music starts Friday night at the Four Points and continues there until the “Red, White and Blue Brunch” on Monday morning. A sing-along and variety show Saturday night features the University of Las Vegas Nevada Ragtime Rebels marimba band. For more information, click here.

2013 Youth Sports Festival – The Youth Sports Expo, presented by Chillicothe Xtreme Sports, will represent youth sports organizations from throughout the state of Illinois. Included in the festival will be vendor booths, clinics/workshops and other exciting interactive events.  This Expo is intended for youths and their families to get exposure to a wide array of sporting options, to ask questions and to experience new, exciting sports related activities.

FREE Boat Drunks ShowHead over to the Par-A-Dice Hotel parking lot on Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend to enjoy a great, FREE show of the Boat Drunks.  The Boat Drunks perform “topical rock” along with other favorites including Jimmy Buffet, REO Speedwagon and The Beatles.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase.  You won’t want to miss this performance!

International Music, Wine and Beer FestivalMackinaw Valley Winery’s annual Music, Wine and Beer two day Festival will be “bigger and better” this year, featuring over 55 wines and 55 beers for tasting and purchase from “Around the World.” I can’t forget to mention a new high end tasting station! Morton Community Bank is the corporate glassware sponsor and the Lions Club Charity will provide food concessions. Saturday and Sunday there will be music performed throughout the day both days!

Summer Camp Music Festival – The annual Summer Camp Music Festival is being held at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL. This event includes three days jam-packed with live music that is performed on seven different stages. Headlining acts include Moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Big Gigantic, STS9 and the Avett Brothers.

This post is part of a weekly series that is designed to promote a weekly schedule of Peoria Area Convention and Visitor Bureau member businesses and events.

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

Member Spotlight – From The Field Cooking School

If you’re looking for something new and different to do in the Peoria Area, do yourself a favor and check out From the Field Cooking School in Morton, IL.

From the Field Cooking School is culinary education center designed for the everyday person. The trained staff teaches you how to prepare great meals, cooking techniques, the science of cooking, kitchen safety and sanitation, some food history and other useful information presented in a clear, easy to understand and entertaining manner.From the Field

As Chef Owner Bill Turney points out, cooking has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember.

“From the first fried egg sandwich I made when I was a boy, through my bachelor years when I was cooking good food while my buddies survived on mac and cheese, to cooking with my new bride, to taking a cooking class for fun, to leaving a thirty year career to go back to college for a degree in culinary arts; cooking as evolved from a kid frying an egg into my life’s passion.”

And now Bill’s goal is to share that passion with everyday people in the Peoria Area. In today’s culture, most of us depend on restaurants, drive-thrus or pre-made meals that we shove in the microwave to feed ourselves. It’s just the culture we live in. Bill’s goal is to change all of that by teaching people how to take control of the food they’re putting into their bodies, one class at a time.

Did I mention that doing your own cooking saves you money? But that’s not all; Bill wants people to realize the enjoyable side of the kitchen.

As Bill says, “Cooking can be really fun—I mean it’s sharp knives, fire and good eats. What’s not to like?”

From the Field offers several different types of classes and services including:

Hands-On Classes – Students choose from dozens of topics and then do the cooking themselves, learning each step of the process during the 3-hour class. Of course, tasting your food at the end is the best part!

Demonstration Classes – Students watch and learn from a chef who prepares the food. Don’t worry. You still get to enjoy the final product when the chef is finished.

Couple’s Night – Guys, this is the perfect opportunity to earn a few extra bonus points with your significant other! Five couples prepare and enjoy their own gourmet meal together, giving each of them a fun and enjoyable experience.

Corporate Team Building – As everyone here at the PACVB learned when we held a group outing at From the Field, this is the perfect way to get employees out of the office for the day to do something fun together. Say goodbye to crazy high-ropes courses and company retreats. Go cook some food!

If you’re one of the people that is constantly looking for something new, fun and exciting, From the Field is a must-visit. Whether you’re looking to learn how to cook, entertain your significant other or create a better atmosphere with your employees, From the Field Cooking School has something for you!

To learn more about From the Field Cooking School or to view the upcoming calendar of events, use the contact information below.

Phone: (309) 263-6020
Email: bturney@mtco.com
Website: fromthefieldcookingschool.com
This post is part of a weekly series featuring Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau member businesses.
Written By: Andrew Ketterer

Luthy’s Botanical Garden in the Lime Light

Luthy’s Botanical Garden has not always had that name. On September 7, 1896 The Palm House opened and it was a grand Victorian structure that held formal gardens, a lily pond and a fountain. The Palm House was made of glass and also contained tropical plants like palms and weeping figs. This was one of Peoria’s greatest attractions until 1951; it was torn down and replaced with Luthy’s current structure.600x600_1261062766800-Luthylogostackedblack

On November 21, 1951 the newly built structure was opened and displayed the first Chrysanthemum Show. At this time, the conservatory was called “Glen Oak Conservatory.” It wasn’t until February 1987 that the garden was named in honor of George Luthy, who was a soft-spoken bank president that sat on the park board. Luthy was known for his roses, he had 300 in his personal garden. “[He was] very generous with his roses and shared them with people,” says Bob Streitmatter, Luthy Botanical Garden Manager.

Today the garden covers 6.4 acres and “holds a collection that is comprised of some very unique specimen plants, native plants and common plants which are accessible to the home gardener,” says Streitmatter. As we roll into Spring, this is one of the gardens busiest times according to Streitmatter. This is when they have different events at the garden such as the Tropical Conservatory , the Mother’s Day Orchid Show, and Adult Classes and Tours . If you have never taken a trip to the garden, they host plenty of special events that give you a great reason to check it out. Streitmatter’s favorite event is the Rhapsody in Bloom Arts Festival  which it taking place June 29, 2013.

fountainWith such a variety of activities to take part in, what is stopping you from visiting the garden? Visit EnjoyPeoria.com to see what is up and coming at Luthy’s Botanical Gardens!