The Scary Side of Peoria

Written By: Andrew Ketterer


As October approaches, the Halloween season continues to sneak up on us. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways in the Peoria Area that will help you get that frightening adrenaline rush you’re looking for. We’ve picked out a few of the best scary sites and given a brief description for each.

Hopefully you’ll get the nerve to take on Peoria’s scary side in the near future!


WildlifeScaryParkSavetheDate2013Wildlife “Scary” Park

I hope you’re ready for an awesome time as Wildlife Prairie Park transforms into “Wildlife Scary Park.” The transformation will be open to the public on two weekends, October 18-20 and 25-27 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. A “Merry-Not-So-Scary” part of the park will be available from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. for the little ones. Tickets are $8 for non-members and $7 for members.

There is plenty happening throughout the park, including the Train-sylvania Express train ride, Franks-n-Steins food station and the Boo-tique for all of your Halloween trinkets. If that’s still not enough, walk through the Carn-E-vil and enjoy games, rides, face painting, storytelling, bonfires, movies and crafts.


Witches Walk

On October 18-19 at Fon du Lac Farm Park, follow the luminary “Witches Walk,” while experiencing the spooky sights and sounds of the season. This walk isn’t too scary and is the perfect amount of fright for the little ones. All of the farm buildings are decorated for Halloween and the ponds are mysteriously glowing. A storyteller has set up in a residence in the school and the witches in the general store have a treat for everyone.

The park is opened from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and costs $3 for adults and $2.50 for children.


SpiderHill_Zombies_600x280Spider Hill

Don’t miss out on one of the most popular haunted house locations in Central Illinois—Spider Hill at Three Sisters Park. Attractions include the Zombie Invasion Paintball War Wagons, the Massacre Mansion and the Trail of Terror. Every Friday and Saturday night in October will be open to the public. Ticket sales begin at 6:00 p.m. and the scares start at 7:00 p.m. Don’t miss out on one of the area’s most popular frightening attractions.


Historic Trolley Tours

Good news! You’ll have four opportunities to hop on Peoria Historical Society’s Haunted Peoria trolley tour. On October 5, 12, 19 and 26, the trolley tour will pick up all participants at 1:00 p.m. at Kellerher’s Irish Pub for a 1:30 minute tour telling the spooky stories of Peoria. Tickets can be purchased at Kellerher’s Irish Pub for $11, along with a $1 fee for the driver.

So for a scary trip through Peoria, mark the dates above on your calendar and hop on the trolley!


Happy Halloween everyone!

If you have any other “scary” spots in the Peoria Area, feel free to leave a comment below!


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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


“Playing in Peoria” – September 25

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

Someone forgot to remind Mother Nature that it’s now fall, as temperatures will remain in the mid-80’s throughout the weekend. Regardless, there’s plenty going on in the Peoria Area and many events that give you a chance to enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures for one more weekend. A major festival on the riverfront and a televised sporting event are on the schedule, along with a few miscellaneous events that we’ve yet to mention.

Let us know what you think if you’re able to make it out to any of these events this weekend!


Fine Art Fair

On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Peoria’s Fine Art Fair will take over the riverfront. Over 150 local, national and international visual artists from 26 states, Canada, Argentina and Israel will be showing off their work. The feature events at this year’s fair include the Children’s Art Festival, a community mural, live music and dance performances. Daily admission is only $5 and a weekend pass is $7.

Come to the Peoria riverfront and help celebrate the 51st year of the Fine Art Fair.

For a more detailed preview, click HERE!


Hard Charge

This event is for all of you fitness fanatics out there! On Saturday morning, Hard Charge will be hosting a televised event featuring more than 20 challenging obstacles spread over a course ranging between 4-5 miles. Registration for the event ends TODAY! So if you’re still looking to test your fitness level, be sure to click HERE and get signed up.

For a quick preview of the event and the obstacles, click HERE!


From the Field Cooking School: Wich-Craft

Sandwiches aren’t just for lunch. This Thursday night class shows you that a sandwich can be served anytime of day, and can be a full meal between two pieces of bread. Spend the evening making an unbelievable menu of different sandwiches, including variations on classics that are simple and extremely tasty!

For more information on From the Field Cooking School, click HERE!


Peoria Riverfront Museum: Free Admission Day

9318-44_0989Peoria Riverfront Museum will open its doors FREE OF CHARGE on Saturday as part of the Smithsonian magazine’s 9th annual Museum Day Live! Head to down to the riverfront and take advantage of this amazing offer by enjoying the several galleries in the year-old museum. Also, don’t forget to stop into the Giant Screen Theater for an experience like no other.

Take a look at our Kaci’s Places to Play video that features the Museum HERE!


Zoo After Dark

What happens when the lights go out at the Zoo? Head to the Peoria Zoo on Friday night and find out! Meet animals up close, learn what a night house is, and which animals are nocturnal. The tour begins at 7 p.m. and lasts until around 9 p.m. The cost of the tour is $20 per person, with a minimum of 10 and limit of 20 participants.

For any questions or to register, head to the Peoria Zoo website!


Additional Events

Just in case those aren’t enough to keep you busy, here a few more activities for the weekend!

–       Peoria Riverfront Market
–       Senior Day & Health Fair
–       Chinquapin Folk Music and Storytelling Festival
–       2013 FC Mid-America Soccer Shootout
–       Mark Lowry at the Peoria Civic Center

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.

Fine Art Fair: Showcasing a Thriving Arts Community

logoWritten By: Andrew Ketterer

On September 28 and 29, one of the most thriving subcultures of Central Illinois will take hold of the Peoria riverfront and the community, as the 51st Annual Fine Art Fair gets underway. Recognized as one of the premiere artistic and cultural events on the riverfront, the festival brings in over 150 national and international artists from 30 states and four countries. And this year, over 50 new artists will be making an appearance on the riverfront.


Central Illinois’ Top Fair

Hosted by the Peoria Art Guild, the Fine Art Fair features original works of art by local and global artists. This includes jewelry, paintings, printmaking, drawing, photography, glass, sculptures and much more. According to Sunshine Magazine, the wide array of artistic items, global artists and increasing attendance has ranked it as the top fair in Central Illinois, #3 in the state and #68 in the United States.

The Peoria Art Guild, a not-for-profit aimed at inspiring and educating the Peoria area, was established in 1969 after working with arts and education in the Peoria area for 90 years. This will be the Art Guild’s 51st year hosting the Fine Art Fair, bringing local and nationally recognized artists together to showcase their talents.


To support such a large event, the Peoria Art Guild depends on over 600 volunteers, 30 committee members, staff and board members, along with numerous sponsors from local businesses.

The amount of generosity needed to consistently pull off an event like this pays tribute to the support the local arts community receives from the citizens of the region. Furthermore, the community’s commitment recognizes this subculture as a vital part of the regional economy. People aren’t just coming out to see and admire the local talent; they’re purchasing the art as well! Evidence of this economic activity lies within the numerous studios and galleries throughout the Peoria area.


Peoria: A Thriving Arts Community

One of these popular locations is Studios on Sheridan, a renovated 1930’s era warehouse. The studios hold more than 20 artists at a time, with a loft style atmosphere, separate gallery spaces and a 700 square foot courtyard in the center of the building. The space is open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Contemporary Art Center of Peoria is another gallery that pays tribute to the economic impact of art in the Peoria community. Located on the second and third floors of a renovated warehouse, this 14,000 square foot facility hosts 15 working artists and displays pieces in three galleries. The cultural hub also features poetry readings, salsa and swing dance classes, yoga and live music every Friday night.

In February of 2011, the Central Illinois Artists Organization (CIAO) was formed with the sole purpose of promoting venues like Studios on Sheridan and the Contemporary Arts Center of Peoria. Eight artists formed an organization of more than 50 members and 10 venues to orchestrate an event known as First Fridays Studio Tour. The monthly experience gives the community an intimate look at local galleries, studios and organizations.

But organizations formed by artists aren’t the only businesses jumping aboard this thriving arts community. According to their website, the Peoria Riverfront Museum places “emphasis on works from Illinois and the Midwest region” in the Permanent Collection Gallery, as well as showcasing objects and works of art that are of historic or contemporary significance from around the world.

The Main Statement, a retail shop in Peoria, Ill., is taking things a step further by selling the local artwork. After recently celebrating their one-year anniversary, this funky and unique store offers shoppers locally produced gifts, accessories and most of all, art. The store has seen a great amount of support from the local community, but also from visitors who are often times surprised by the artistic talent the Peoria area has to offer.

Click HERE for the Kaci’s Places to Play video focused on The Main Statement.

ROOM is another local business supporting the arts movement by keeping everything local. This 7,000 square foot loft offers upscale meeting space with a focus on giving customers a feel for the Peoria community. A large portion of this experience is the creative and inspiring uses of local art displayed throughout the space. Every piece of art on the walls in ROOM is for sale. They’ll even help customers contact local artists if they see a piece that they can’t leave behind.


Don’t Miss Out

Head down to the Fine Art Fair this weekend for a unique look at the arts culture in Central Illinois. It’s the only event in the area that showcases most of the influential artists, both locally and nationally. The festival is sure to live up to expectations, even if you’re a newcomer to the art scene in Peoria!


Additional Information

For more information on the Fine Art Fair, click the links below.

Ticket Information


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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


HARD CHARGE: Televised Obstacle Mission

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

On Saturday, September 28, HARD CHARGE is heading to Peoria, Ill. The event includes more than 20 challenging obstacles spread over four to five miles of terrain at Three Sisters Park. Contestants will be crawling through mud, ducking for cover and scaling walls! When all of the participants finish up their HARD work, an awesome post-race party is waiting!


The timed and televised CHARGE for Glory heats begins at 8:30 a.m. If you’d like to go at your own pace, the CHARGE for Fun heats start at 9:40 a.m.

For additional registration information, click HERE.



In order to fully prepare all of you for what HARD CHARGE is bringing to Peoria, I’ve listed the obstacles on the course below, along with a short description of each. Check it out!

  1. Start Line
  2. Kick the Tires – Run through a maze of tires
  3. Back Scratcher – Crawl through a mud pit underneath barbwire
  4. Back Scratcher (continued) – Jump the barrelsBACKSCRATCHER
  5. Iron Will – Climb over and crawl under logs
  6. Black Hole – Crawl through a 25-foot black tunnelBLACKHOLE
  7. Cargo Charge – Climb a twelve-foot cargo net
  8. Iron Will 2 – Climb over and crawl under logs
  9. Knee-Knocker – Climb over 5 walls
  10. Cargo Construction – Run beneath a heavy cargo net
  11. Stormin’ the Desert – Find a way through the sandstorm
  12. Blockade Barrage – Climb over three walls of increasing height
  13. Knee-Knocker 2 – Climb over 5 walls
  14. Trip Wire – Just keep your legs up!
  15. Angled Ambush – Overcome a steep wall with a rope
  16. Muddy Mission – Crawl, walk or swim through the mud pitMUDDYMISSION
  17. No Holds Barred – Cross monkey bars over a mud pit
  18. Deep Freeze – Swim across an icy bath
  19. Jalopy Justice – Jump and run through a path of cars
  20. Amusement Park – 150 yards and 5 obstacles to push your limits

Now, if you think you’re tough enough to survive all of that, you’ll enjoy the CHARGER Village for the post-race party. For those 21 and older, the hard work pays off with a well-deserved FREE beer!

Are you tough enough for HARD CHARGE Peoria?


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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

“Playing in Peoria” – September 19

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

You couldn’t ask for a better forecast this weekend in the Peoria Area. Temperatures should stay in the low-70’s and the rain should stay clear of Peoria. Fall festivals, live music and even some live comedy all made its way onto the schedule in Central Illinois this weekend. Be sure to take advantage of the beautiful weather by getting out an experiencing something new in the Peoria Area.



Visit the Peoria riverfront September 20-22 for Oktoberfest, sponsored by the German American Central Society. The three-day festival showcases German heritage through song, dance, food, drink, cultural exhibits and more. Additional events include the Das Bier 5K Run and German dinners every night.

For a quick preview of the event, click HERE!


Double Feature Friday

If you’re interested in relaxing with an adult beverage and unwinding after a long week of work, the Peoria Riverfront Museum has just the event for you. Come party on the museum’s Sun Plaza from 5-8 p.m. and enjoy live music and the museum galleries for only $10. Then, walk down to CEFCU Center Stage for a live performance from the Modern Day Romeos. Sounds like a rockin’ night to me!


jsJerry Seinfeld

One of the world’s premier comedians, Jerry Seinfeld, will be performing his routine at the Peoria Civic Center on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Seinfeld has been praised for his ability to joke about the little things in life, relating to audiences everywhere. If you’re looking for a good laugh, now you know exactly where to find it this weekend.

Tickets are available at the Peoria Civic Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and


Autumn Fest

This family-friendly event is held in Washington Square each fall, with plenty of activities to keep your group entertained. The Gym Corner Gymnasts will perform at 4:00 p.m. There will be free carriage rides from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Live music and food will be available throughout the event. And lastly, for all of you shoppers out there, the Washington Specialty Shops will remain open throughout the festival. So if you’re interested in a hometown festival, Washington is the place for you on Saturday.



I know I’ve already mentioned Oktoberfest as a highlight event this weekend, but this little contest sounds like so much fun. Basically, the masskrugstemmen is a beer stein holding contest. Contestants will stand atop the picnic tables in the main tent, hold a 1-liter stein of beer with their arm extended and are not allowed to spill any beer. Whoever hold the beer the longest wins!

Friday – 9:15 p.m.
Saturday – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday – 2:00 p.m.

Additional Events

If you’re looking for more events for your weekend calendar, check out the links below.

Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre: Greater Tuna
Canton Friendship Festival
Cars N’ Art at the Levee District
Concert at the Vineyard – Midnight Special
Proctor Time Capsule

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.

Junction City: Experience Local

logoWritten By: Andrew Ketterer


Junction City Shopping Center has recently gone through a transitional period, attempting to perform a facelift procedure on the popular Peoria attraction by bringing in new stores and restaurants. The unique businesses that call Junction City home are all locally owned and operated, giving the location a unique feel that can only be found in Peoria.

Since its opening in 1956, the concept has been to “offer a collection of locally owned, premier retail boutiques in one beautiful and convenient setting,” according to the Junction City website. Although some of the stores have come and gone, this concept has remained a constant.

There’s no question that the most recent updates at Junction City have rejuvenated the Peoria-atmosphere the center strives for.


Fashion & Accessories

The various shops at Junction City offer everything from the contemporary and modern styles to timeless classics. Take a Saturday morning and explore these locally owned shops.

Belle Mie is a contemporary clothing store that offers designer items found exclusively in big cities, while providing fantastic customer service.

bellemie1Pooch Couture looks to create a unique shopping and grooming experience for the highly pampered pets their owners.

Matthew Mason is the perfect men’s clothing store for today’s busy executive that’s on-the-go, offering suites, shirts, ties, formal wear and business casual attire.

Random Clothier provides trend-savvy customers with current fashions, accessories, art, handmade goods and more, all in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.


ci1Food & Drink

No matter what food you’re looking for, Junction City has a restaurant for your hungry stomach. Junction City provides a cozy atmosphere for diners craving some local good-eats.

Holy Crepe offers just what the name describes—heavenly crepes made from scratch!

Sweet Cece’s Frozen Yogurt gives the consumer complete control. Simply fill your cup with yogurt, top with whatever you’d like, weigh your bowl and pay!

Candlelight Inn is the “Original” Home of the Chicken George and has been serving up lunch and dinner in Illinois for over 40 years.

Cyd’s Gourmet Kitchen provides the Peoria area with a café that serves healthy, wholesome meals. Cyd’s also offers a take-away market full of hand-made items.

Tavern on Prospect is the perfect place to blow of a little steam and have a little fun. Visitors enjoy a wide selection of wines, spirits and beers in a laid back atmosphere.


MG_64952Home & Décor

Modify your personal space in a way that is uniquely your own at the home and décor shops in Junction City.

The Bronze Frog is focused on making customers’ shopping experiences pleasurable while bringing a metropolitan flavor to a mid-size market.

Exhibit A Gallery plays host to sever local artists. Browse through hundreds of art pieces including paintings, glass art, pastels and much more.

LS Home gives visitors a full range of interior design, whether it’s new construction or renovation. The team helps create a space that fits your lifestyle.

Design Plus Granite is the leading granite fabricator in the Central Illinois area, boasting 10 years of experience in the industry.

Illinois Valley Glass opened in 1951 and offers same-day window repair. Call the shop for all of your glass needs.


Be sure to spend a day in Peoria exploring Junction City and all of the unique and local businesses it has to offer!

For more information, head to the Junction City website.


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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

Oktoberfest: Peoria’s German Weekend

Written By: Andrew Kettererlogo


The Peoria Park District and the German American Central Society are pleased to welcome back the annual German Festival—Oktoberfest—on September 20.  The 3-day event on the Peoria Riverfront showcases German heritage through song, dance, food, drink, cultural exhibits and much more.

Below are a few things our team is excited to check out this upcoming weekend.


Event Info

All attendees will enter at the Gateway Building (401 SW Water Street) on the Peoria riverfront. Parking options include lots at the Hamilton/Water Street intersection, Caterpillar, RiverPlex, Gateway Building, River Station and many more areas.

Friday, September 20
12-5 p.m. – $7
5-11 p.m. – $9
Saturday, 21st of September
12-5 p.m. – $7
5-11 p.m. – $9
Sunday, September 22
10:30 a.m. Polka Mass – FREE
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. – $7

Heritage Tent

The German Heritage Exhibit at Oktoberfest is a collection of historic and cultural displays that trace past generations of Germans who call the Peoria Area home. This exhibit is widely proclaimed one of the best German Heritage displays across the country!

Geneology serches will be available from 5:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday, 12:00-9:00 p.m. on Saturday and 12:00-5:00 p.m. on Sunday! Come on out and search your German surname to find its origin.

Video presentations will be running at Heritage Tent throughout the festival.


das bier run 2Das Bier 5K Run

On Sunday the Peoria Jaycees, Peoria Park District and the German American Central Society are hosting the 2nd Annual Das Bier 5K Run. This 5K run starts at 12:30 p.m. and finishes along the riverfront at the festival. The awards ceremony will be held directly after the race at 2:00 p.m. A $30 race registration fee will also grant you access to Oktoberfest!

Every runner will receive a commemorative stein. Packet pickup will be at the Gateway Building on Friday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Register HERE!


German Dinners

If you’re in need of authentic German food, Oktoberfest has nightly dinners that are served in the Main Tent. The dinners include Marinated Pork, Spaetzle and Red Cabbage. Delicious desserts will be available for an extra $2.

Don’t miss your chance to grab a cold beer and a hearty German dinner while enjoying the festival’s atmosphere.


And Even More…

Click on the links below for information on additional activities happening throughout Oktoberfest.

–       Live Entertainment
–       Lindenhof Puppet Theater
–       Masskrugstemmen (Beer Stein Holding Contest)
–       Carnival (New in 2013)

Don’t miss out on a weekend filled with German songs, dances, food and drinks! For additional information, head to the Oktoberfest website.


Written By: Andrew Ketterer

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.