2013 Pekin Marigold Festival – May the Marigolds Be With You!

 Written by: Adam Gierhart

Pekin Marigold Festival

Starting in 1973 as a tribute to, “Pekin’s favorite son, Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen,” (Pekin Chamber of Commerce website) the Pekin Marigold Festival has blossomed over the years and, now in its 40th year the festival is the best it’s ever been!

Learn more about the inception of the festival, HERE.

The 2013 Pekin Marigold Festival will be held Thursday, September 5 – Sunday, September 8 and this year’s theme, “May the Marigolds Be With You!” references the Star Wars franchise, tying in with a couple of the special guests making an appearance this year!

“…Learn more you will, if on you read!”


This year’s Marigold Festival features a great lineup of entertainment on the Ameren Marigold Festival Showcase Stage!Pekin Marigold Festival Entertainment

The live entertainment kicks off Saturday, September 7 with Julie K, The Prairie Star Fiddlers, Brazilionaires and New Blood Gospel Bluegrass Band and continues on Sunday, September 8 with Loose Shoes, the august, and the Dragon Spotlight Talent Show Winners.

Click HERE to see the entire lineup and more information about the performers.

Marigold Parade

The Marigold Parade is taking place on Saturday, September 7 at 10 a.m. and begins on Broadway – Click HERE for the complete parade route.


The Carnival will be running throughout the entire festival:

       – Thursday, September 5: 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.
       – Friday, September 6: 5 – 11 p.m.
       – Saturday, September 7: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
       – Sunday, September 8: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Click HERE for Carnival pricing and details on Bracelet Night (Thursday, September 5)!

Special Guests


The 2013 Pekin Marigold Festival’s Star Wars-based theme, “May the Marigolds Be With You!” is fitting due to the lineup of two special guests.

Tom Kane, the voice of Yoda and Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in Star Wars: Episode II – Attach of the Clones, will be making appearances for autograph sessions on Saturday, September 7 from 1- 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 – 3 p.m.Boba Fett

How often do you get the opportunity to talk to Yoda?! Often not you do!

Learn more about Tom and Daniel, HERE.

And Even More!

And if all this isn’t enough to get you over to Pekin for the Marigold Festival, maybe this will help convince you…

Miss Marigold Pageant

2013 Miss Marigold Pageant Contestan

On top of all the great entertainment I’ve already discussed, the 2013 Pekin Marigold Festival also features:

       – Friday Night Family Fest
       – Art in the Park
       – Festive Food Court
       – Marigold Bags Tournament
       – Marigold Medallion Hunt
       – Miss Marigold Pageant
       – Robert K. Bresnahan Memorial
         Car & Motorcycle Show
       – Sand Volleyball Tournament

So get over to Pekin, September 5-8, for the Star Wars-themed 2013 Pekin Marigold Festival!

Dress like Yoda. Dress like Boba Fett. Dress like Anakin Skywalker. Dress like C3PO. Dress like R2D2. Dress like a Marigold. Dress like a normal person.

Just make sure you mark September 5-8 on your calendars for the 40th annual Pekin Marigold Festival!

May the Marigolds Be With You!


For a complete list of Peoria Area events, visit our Calendar of Events.

Stay up-to-date on Peoria Area happenings by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and YouTube.


“Playing in Peoria” – August 28

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

As the weather has heated back up, so has the amount of things going on in the Peoria Area! This weekend is full of festivals, events and interesting ideas on how to spend your three-day weekend!

If there are any events we missed, or if you have more information, just leave a comment for us at the end of the article.

Enjoy the weekend everyone! 


Last Peoria Chiefs Home Games

Help cheer on the Peoria Chiefs in their last home series of 2013! The series kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. against the Clinton LumberKings. Friday night will serve as “Fan Appreciation Night,” along with the final fireworks show and flat screen giveaway. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the Peoria Chiefs, as the highest level of baseball in the Peoria Area.


blues festBudweiser Blues Fest

In it’s 25th consecutive year the festival is back at Peoria’s riverfront August 30-31, and is bigger and better than ever! Each year, there’s an endless list of activities and things to do at the festival, but the most popular is probably the live entertainment! This year, the music scene will be fronted by performances from Marcia Ball, Paul Thorn, Bill Porter, Chris Stevens, The Jeremiah Johnson Band, Barry Cloyd, Preston Jackson and many more! Other popular attractions over the three-day festival include workshops, a delicious fish fry, and a music competition for local bands. Whatever your interests, you should get down to the riverfront this weekend and check out this amazing festival.

For more information, head to our feature blog post HERE!


Redneck Rally

Head out to Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Ill. this weekend to celebrate Labor Day in “Redneck-style!” For three days, camping, music, motorsports, contest and more will keep the crowds entertained. Hike over to the main stage where Saving Abel (Saturday night) and Pop Evil (Sunday night) are the headlining acts. If that’s not enough, walk over to the “Hillbilly Playground” for Toilet Bowl Bags, Mud Volleyball, Toilet Seat Horseshoes and more!

For a quick preview of the event, read our feature post HERE!


From the Field Cooking School – Couples Night

If you’re looking for something fun and different to do with your significant other this weekend, From the Field Cooking School in Morton has the perfect thing. On Friday at 6:00 p.m. couples will file into the cooking stations with their dates and prepare to cook their gourmet dinner together. But don’t worry; the staff will be alongside to teach and help you along the way. The menu includes an appetizer, salad or soup, side dish and dessert, along with your choice of three entrees. Sounds like a fun date and some good food!

For a detailed schedule of events, click HERE!


mackinawGrape Stomp and Harvest Festival

Come get your feet wet in wine this Sunday at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and Winery in Mackinaw, Ill. Along with stomping some grapes, there will be a harvest demonstration, wine tasting throughout the day, food from The Catering Company and live music! The fun lasts from 12:00-6:00 p.m. It should be the perfect way to spend a Sunday without work the following day!


Additional Events

Along with everything listed above, these events are also going on in the area this weekend.

–       Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre: “Greater Tuna”
–       Manito Popcorn Festival
–       Zoo Run Run
–       Farmers Market in the Levee District
–       Peoria Riverfront Market

As always, stay busy and keep it here for news on everything “Playing in Peoria!”

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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

Redneck Rally – It’s Not a Party, It’s a Lifestyle!

Three Sisters Park Hosting a 3-day Redneck Festival Labor Day Weekend

Written By: Adam Gierhart

Celebrate all things “Redneck” Labor Day Weekend at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Ill., where you will experience three days of camping, music, motorsports, redneck games, contests, mud and much more!

Below are some of the highlights in store for the weekend’s festivities:Redneck_banner


What’s better then some good, clean, redneck competitions? The Redneck Rally will feature a wide variety of competitions throughout the weekend, including a Daisy Duke Look-Alike Contest, Mud Belly Flop Contest, Mud Pit Tug-of-War, Best Mullet Competition, Hubcap Hurl, Mud Bog Dash, and the sure to be entertaining, Most Redneck Campsite Competition!

And that’s just naming a few!


To go along with all the fun competitions throughout the weekend, the Redneck Rally will showcase some great entertainment on the Main Stage, as well as numerous camping area events and entertainment.Redneck_Drumset

The Main Stage will be hopping Saturday and Sunday with great live music.

Saturday’s lineup features Highway 61, Brian Dennison Band, Hillbilly Herald, and headliners Saving Abel!

Sunday’s lineup will showcase Comatose Catfish, Joe Stamm & the 26ers, Kentucky Headhunters, and headliners Pop Evil!


Is there anything more fitting for the Rally than motorsports and mud racing?hill_n_hole2

The Redneck Rally has some great 4X4 competitions lined up: Off-Road Mud Racing, 4X4 Drag Races, Hill-N-Hole Mud Drags, Mud Bogs and, of course, Lawnmower Races!


If all of this isn’t enough to get you to Three Sisters Park this Labor Day Weekend, maybe the Hillbilly Playground will convince you!

Inside the Hillbilly Playground, rally attendees can participate in Toilet Bowl Bags, Mud Volleyball, Toilet Seat Horseshoes and more!


Tickets are on sale NOW!

An advance 3-day pass can be bought HERE for $65 or at the gate for $75, or you can purchase an advance Sunday Only ticket HERE for $35 or $45 at the gate.toilet_seat_horseshoes_2

We hope to see you there!

For a full list of Peoria Area Events, click HERE.

Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube for up-to-date area information and happenings!

Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival Takes Over the Peoria Riverfront, August 30-31

Written by Adam Gierhart

For a quarter of a century, the Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival has been entertaining the Peoria Area on the downtown Riverfront and, in it’s 25th consecutive year, the festival is bigger and Blues Fest Logobetter than ever!

Check out the extensive list of talent that has performed during this festival’s 25-year run, HERE.

“Considered one of the top blues festivals in the Midwest, the Budwesier Illinois Blues Festival comprises two days of internationally known Blues artists and workshops,” according to the festival’s website.

The festival, taking place Friday, August 30 and continuing through Saturday, August 31, will feature 3 stages with live entertainment, workshops, , a fish fry, and the “Road to Memphis” competition.

Live Entertainment

Blues Fest Concert PhotoDefinitely, the highlight of the annual Blues Festival is the live entertainment that fills the air along the Peoria Riverfront. This year’s entertainment features over 15 performers on 3 stages, including Marcia Ball, Paul Thorn, Bill Porter, Chris Stevens, The Jeremiah Johnson Band, Barry Cloyd, Preston Jackson and many more!

View the entertainment lineup, HERE.



This year, the Illinois Blues Festival features 3 workshops that the event’s website says, “will enhance your ability to both express and enjoy the Blues as either a player or listener while you learn a few of the tricks of the trade.”

Chris Stevens will host a guitar and a harmonica workshop on Saturday, August 31 in the Blues Tent.

Get more info on the workshops, HERE.


Fish FryBlues Fest Photo

New to this year’s festival, will be a fantastic fish fry! The fish fry will have fish tacos, walleye and fish & chips!

What’s better than a fish fry while listening to some soothing Blues music on the Peoria Riverfront.


“Road to Memphis” Competition

The “Road to Memphis” is the “official competition leading up to the Blue’s Foundation’s world famous International Blues Challenge,” according to the festival website. “This is an opportunity for unsigned Illinois bands to compete for entry into the [International Blues Challenge] with expenses paid by the River City Blues Society.”

The competition is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, featuring undiscovered and unsigned Illinois Blues talent as they perform for an opportunity of a lifetime!


Tickets to the 25th Annual Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate for a single-day ticket and a 2-day festival ticket is $30 in advance and $35 at the gate.

Purchase your tickets, HERE.

The weather in Peoria is predicted to be ideal this weekend, so get down to the Peoria Riverfront and check out the staple summer festival celebrating its 25th anniversary!

For a full list of events in the Peoria Area, click HERE.

“Playing in Peoria” – August 21

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

What does the Peoria Area have to offer this weekend? Well, luckily for you we have kilts, Guinness, carnival rides, live music, hot rods, Harley Davidsons, 19th century activities and much more that will keep you entertained for the next few days.

For some reason, this weekend is jam-packed with festivals, fairs and carnivals. These events are spread throughout our region and you will be able to find at least one that peaks your interest. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for family fun before the summer ends!

Here’s a brief look at a few of the festivals, fairs and carnivals in the area this weekend.

Live music is one of many attractions at Erin Feis on the Peoria riverfront this weekend. (Photo By: Josh BimBaum)

Live music is one of many attractions at Erin Feis on the Peoria riverfront this weekend. (Photo By: Josh BimBaum)

Erin Feis

Grab your friends and head down to the Peoria riverfront for this 32-year-old Irish festival. This year, three stages will showcase a music lineup that features two bands from Scotland (Red Hot Chilli Pipers and MANRAN) and a band from Ireland (FullSet). The Ward Fighting Irish Boxers Exhibit is new to the festival this year, featuring a display that pays tribute to the Irish dominance in the sport of boxing for two centuries.

And what is all this Irish fun without a few pints and a taste of Irish whiskey? Don’t worry! You won’t have to find out! The Tasting Room is offering whiskey tasking sessions, as well as Budweiser samples from regional breweries! Drinks will also be available throughout festival.

For a quick glance at Erin Feis, read our preview HERE!


Bureau County Fair

This local favorite gets underway today at 12 PM! Tractor pulls, bags tournaments, talent shows, a demolition derby and more bring in people from throughout Illinois. Along with the normal carnival activities, popular country singer Justin Moore is slated to perform on Friday night! There are plenty of additional activities throughout the festival. Click HERE for a detailed schedule of events.

If you don’t want to miss out on all the fun, grab some friends and head to the Bureau County Fairgrounds in Princeton!

Take a trip to downtown Lacon this weekend for the Old Settlers Festival.

Take a trip to downtown Lacon this weekend for the Old Settlers Festival.

Old Settlers Festival

The next activity on our weekend list includes the Old Settlers Festival in Lacon, IL. This four-day festival that begins tomorrow offers a small-town feel, but still has plenty of activities to keep you busy, including a carnival, 5k & 10k run/walk, beer garden and much more! Click HERE for their calendar of events. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem!


Bombs Away Bash

The Bombers, a group of car enthusiasts that focus on the 50’s and 60’s, will be taking control of the Avanti’s Dome in Pekin on Saturday at noon. The Reverend Horton Heat, Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Deke Dickerson will perform, with opening acts from The Dyes and The Krank Daddies beginning at 5 p.m. Along with the concerts, car displays, vendors, food and a Harley Davidson give-away should keep you entertained.


Additional Events

If you’re looking for more, or just aren’t interested in any of these festivals, don’t worry! There’s plenty more going on in the Peoria area this weekend.

–          Peoria Riverfront Market
–          Peoria Chiefs vs. Burlington Bees
–          Pioneer Days
–          Museum Explorers at Peoria Riverfront Museum
–          Artists on the Boardwalk
–          Historic Trolley Tours
–          Spring Creek Station at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and Winery

As always, stay busy and keep it here for news on everything “Playing in Peoria!”


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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

Erin Feis: The Pipes are Calling You

Written By: Andrew Ketterer


On Friday, August 23rd, you can expect to see the Peoria riverfront engulfed with bagpipes, kilts and pints of Guinness. Erin Feis, the 32-year-old three-day Irish festival, will overtake Festival Park with music, dance, food and fun with the sole purpose of celebrating the Irish heritage in the Peoria, Ill. region.

In 1981 at the Peoria Knights of Columbus, four committee members, a handful of volunteers and 800 attendees celebrated the first Erin Feis. After a few location changes, including Exposition Gardens and Ravina on the Lakes, the festival has evolved into a three-day celebration led by 20 committee members and hundreds of volunteers.



And this year, the event continues to grow. Three stages will showcase an Irish-themed band lineup that includes the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and MANRAN from Scotland, and FullSet from Ireland! Along with these international favorites, many regional and local bands will be performing on each stage during the day. For the full live music lineup, click HERE!



One of my favorite events, being an of-age and responsible whiskey drinker, happens in The Tasting Room where an official Irish Whiskey Ambassador leads a tasting session. These sessions are on Friday and Saturday evening from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. It costs $15 per person, but it is well worth it! Along with whiskey tasting, Budweiser products from regional breweries will be sampled for $10 per person.



Don’t get any funny ideas. This exhibit doesn’t feature two Irish men drinking whiskey and punching each other repeatedly until someone hits the deck. The Ward Fighting Irish Boxers Exhibit pays tribute to the Irish dominance in the sport from the mid-19th century into the 20th century. It sounds like a pretty interesting exhibit to me!


These three topics are just the things I’m most interested in for the big weekend. But don’t worry; there are numerous entertaining exhibits on display throughout the weekend. You’re sure to find something that fits your interests. Just head to the Erin Feis website for more details!

And remember, it doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for everyone to claim they’re Irish!


Daily Schedule

Friday, August 23:

4:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

FREE admission before 5:00 p.m.

$9 after 5:00 p.m.

Children under 12 are FREE, but must be accompanied by an adult.


Saturday, August 24:

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

$7 before 5 p.m.

$9 after 5:00 p.m.

Children under 12 are FREE, but must be accompanied by an adult.


Sunday, August 25:

9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

$7 before 5 p.m.

FREE admission with a canned good donation from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Children under 12 are FREE, but must be accompanied by an adult.


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

“Playing in Peoria” – August 14

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

I have good news for all of our active Peoria Area visitors and citizens! There is a lot going on in the area this weekend and I’ve decided to change things up a bit. I’ve included a couple typical events that are highlighted, but I’ve also chosen a few places that haven’t been mentioned yet. It’s a good week to take a chance on a Peoria event or festival that you haven’t heard of or previously experienced.

taste-of-peoriaBut first, I want to remind everyone out there that tonight is the perfect opportunity to fill (or overfill) your stomachs with food from restaurants located in the area. The 2013 Taste of Peoria starts at 4:00 p.m. tonight on the Peoria riverfront. Over 40 vendor booths will be serving up samples of their best dishes and two separate stages will provide the entertainment. Our own Adam Geirhart posted a great preview of the event last week! Check it out HERE!

Now, let’s talk about this weekend…


River City Soul Fest

This Peoria Park District signature event returns to the Peoria riverfront on Friday and Saturday for a weekend full of Gospel music. On Friday, popular artist Earnest Pugh will be the headlining act, and on Saturday Mint Condition will take to the stage. The latter is an R&B band that has performed for over three decades, giving fans funky and soulful beats. The festival will also feature a variety of merchants, vendor booths, food and more. Tickets are $10 on Friday, $15 in advance for Saturday, and $20 at the door on Saturday.


Peoria Chiefs

On Saturday night at 6:30 p.m., the Chiefs kick off a 3-game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins). It’s been dubbed “Hockey Night at the Ballpark,” as the Chiefs are set up to honor their hockey counterpart—the Peoria Rivermen. Sunday’s game gets underway at 5:00 p.m., with kids 12 and under receiving a FREE ticket at the box office! The first 1,000 lucky fans will also receive Chiefs player poster. Come on out and cheer on the Chiefs as they continue their playoff run this weekend!


Rolling on the River with Peoria Historical Society

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the Peoria area, this might be the perfect event for you. On Thursday at 5:00 p.m. the Spirit of Peoria will begin boarding for a historic night on the Illinois River. The Brazillionaires, a Latin music band from Central Illinois, will be providing the entertainment. All IMG_1429attendants will also have the opportunity to listen to Ken Zurski reflect on “The Wreck of the Columbia.” Tickets cost $35 and only 225 will be sold. Head to Harp & Thistle, Kelleher’s Irish Pub or the Peoria Historical Society offices to purchase tickets. For a behind the scenes look at the Spirit of Peoria, check out our post HERE!


Rhythm in the Rainforest

Until this week, I had never heard of this event, but it sounds awesome! On Saturday from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Luthy Botanical Garden will host the incredible Preston Jackson and Friends in their fragrant rose garden! I’m not sure it gets much more relaxing then some cool jazz and delicious food while surrounded by a beautiful garden. Tickets can be bought at Luthy’s or by calling 309-681-3506.


Peach and Pancake Breakfast

signpumpkins2If you’re a breakfast person, I promise that you’ll love the Peach and Pancake Breakfast at Tanners Orchard from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Saturday. It only costs $7.99 for adults and $3.99 for children 10 and under. Oh, and I forgot to mention that it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT! The orchard will also be sampling peaches and other goodies throughout the morning. This might just be the perfect family activity, especially when you consider everything else Tanners Orchard has to offer!


Additional Events

If none of the above events got your blood pumping, or if you’re just completely motivated to fit in as many activities as possible this weekend, here is a list of additional events in the area.

Women of Faith Tour at the Peoria Civic Center
Peoria Riverfront Market
Concert at the Vineyard: Jammsammich
T-shirt Day at the Peoria Zoo
India Fest
Weddings Unveiled Bridal Event at the Peoria Civic Center

Or browse our full CALENDAR OF EVENTS!

As always, stay busy and keep it here for news on everything “Playing in Peoria!”

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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