Santa Claus Parade & Yule Like

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

santaThe 126th Annual Santa Claus Parade begins at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, November 29 in downtown Peoria! This spirited tradition is actually THE longest running holiday parade in the entire country. Over 80 different parade sections, including costumed characters, horses, novelty groups and decorated floats will immediately give you that holiday cheer you’ve been waiting for. It’s an event that is sure to have the children laughing and cheering all morning long!


Community-Wide Food and Coat Drive

Whatever you do, don’t forget to bring your canned goods and gently used coats! Volunteers will be collecting these items along the parade route for the Salvation Army and the Midwest Food Bank as part of the community-wide food and coat drive.


Parade Route

The parade will kick off on the corner of Monroe St. and Bryan Ave. The parade will turn left down Main St., before taking right on Jefferson and passing the Peoria Civic Center. The route turs left on Liberty and then left again on Adams before ending at the intersection of Adams St. and Hamilton Blvd.

For more information, please reference the map below.

Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 10.14.03 AM

Yule Like Peoria

Be sure to head back to downtown Peoria later on Friday night for the Yule Like! From 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., commercial buildings in downtown Peoria will host many different kinds of entertainment! From ice carving contests to decorating Peoria’s streetlights, this event has something for everyone.


As part of the celebration, the Peoria Art Guild is hosting the Holiday Frost Fair from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Gateway Building. This is the perfect way to find a few original gift ideas for the holiday season. Be sure to check out the reasonably priced selection of Illinois artists. Admission is FREE!



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Peoria Turkey Trot

Written By: Andrew Ketterer


Are you ready to run for your Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday? Well, here’s your chance to win a race, AND A TURKEY!

Join the Peoria Park District for the 43rd Annual Peoria Turkey Trot—Peoria’s oldest running race—on this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. After winding their way through the four-mile Detweiller Park course, the top two finishers in each division receive a trophy and turkey (compliments of Kroger). Every single racer will receive a Turkey Trot t-shirt with registration.

So, who’s ready to claim the bragging rights in their family? And who knows, you may just come home with a free turkey!

There will also be a half-mile fun-run for the kids that will take place before the big race.



Register HERE or at the Glen Oak Pavilion on race-day. To download a paper registration form, click HERE.

Through 11/20: $16 ($14 for Illinois Valley Striders Members)

turkeytrotAfter 11/20: $18

Youth Fun Run: $2 (no t-shirt)



–       Peoria Park District
–       Kroger
–       Running Central
–       Illinois Valley Striders
–       Rudds Team & Trophy


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“Playing in Peoria” – Nov 14

Written By: Andrew Ketterer


And just as I thought the temperatures were warmer than usual in Central Illinois, they’ve plummeted to remind us just how cold you can feel outside! This week’s highlighted events include activities that will leave you in the holiday spirit.



Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre: “Deck the Halls!”conklins

This Christmas musical gets underway in Goodfield, Ill. on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. This performance brings together holiday music, comedy and hilarious audience participation that will put you in the holiday spirit! According to the theater, this is the most popular show of the year and always fills up fast.

The show runs from Nov. 14 to Dec. 31. Tickets are $35. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. The buffet will be opened from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the show will start at 8:00 p.m. BYOB. For more information, call (309) 965-2545.


Moonlight Madness and Lighted Parade

Get to Wyoming, IL on Saturday night for this unique event that begins at 5:00 p.m. and runs through the night. Most of the local businesses participate in the event by handing out goodies to the audience. Santa will also make an appearance for pictures with the little ones.

The parade of lighted floats will begin at 7:45 p.m.


Meet Me in St. Louis

Catch the few performances of “Meet Me in St. Louis,” featuring the classic heartwarming story of a happy family and their life at the beginning of the 20th century as the World’s Fair made its way to St. Louis. This is the perfect show for families and will get everyone in the mood for the holidays.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on November 15 and 16 at Peoria Players Theatre. On November 17 the performances will begin at 2:00 p.m.


Bradley vs. Chicago Statewalt

Don’t forget to check out Bradley basketball at the this weekend! They’re off to a promising start!

At 7:00 p.m. on Friday, head to the Peoria Civic Center to watch your undefeated Bradley Braves take on Chicago State. The Braves muscled by Central Michigan on Tuesday night with an 80-70 victory to take their record to 3-0.

Don’t forget to wear RED!




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.

Sugar: Wood-Fired Bistro & Gourmet Treats

Written By: Andrew Ketterersugar

Since 2004, hungry Central Illinois citizens have been flocking to Cracked Pepper and Salt for delicious food. Owner Travis Mohlenbrink and his team have opened their third restaurant in the area—Sugar. This wood-fired bistro gives diners a unique and casual experience that offers wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches, fresh salads and handmade gourmet treats.

Located in the Warehouse District of downtown Peoria, Sugar is the perfect place to enjoy lunch, dinner or even a late-night snack. Be sure to wash down their delicious menu items with one of their Artisan beers or a bottle from their modest wine collection.food2

And if you’re on the go, take advantage of their carryout service. Sugar also offers a number of different catering packages for 10-100 people that are sure to add that unique touch to any special event.

Sugar is located at 826 SW Adams Street in Peoria, Ill. Give the restaurant a call at (309) 676-0848 for carryout orders and catering information.


Private Diningfood3

Sugar offers a delightful private dining space that can accommodate the most important of business meetings, birthday celebrations and other special events. Accommodating up to 25 people, this space is sure to leave a lasting impression. Almost the entire menu is made available for the party, from salads to the wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches. And don’t forget about the tasty desserts!

Sugar provides full audio/visual services with laptop hookups and Wi-Fi service. Give the restaurant a call to make your reservation and get information on menu-selections and the in-house business services.


Tasty Menu Items

Although I’d be excited to order almost everything on the menu, I’ve selected a few of the menu items that definitely caught my eye.

Smoke Pork Chipotle Pizza: braised pork, smoked gouda, caramelized peach, bacon, chipotle bbq and roasted pineapple.

Roast Salmon Salad: salmon, greens, diced cherries, smoked gouda, red onion, tomato, sunflower seeds and creamy lemon dill.

House Meatball: veal, pork, ground beef, fresh herbs, marinara, mozzarella and parmesan on Dutch crunch bread.

Artisan Stuffed Bread: house made dough stuffed with prosciutto and parmesan, rolled and wood fired with a basil cream sauce.



Monday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Closed on Sunday.


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“Playing in Peoria” – Nov. 6

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

We might be in the month of November, but temperatures aren’t exactly cooling down in Central Illinois. With highs in the 50’s and 60’s all weekend, it might just be your last chance to get outside before the temperatures begin plummeting and the snow starts to fall.

This week, I’ve highlighted a couple outdoor events for the entire family, along with an educational community event at the Peoria Riverfront Museum that won’t disappoint. The Peoria Civic Center will also play host to a couple of events on Friday and Saturday.



Dickson Mounds November Night Hike

Travel to the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewiston for the November Night Hike on Friday night from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This is a perfect event for the entire family, where everyone will enjoy the sounds and sights of a brisk fall evening. Participants will have the opportunity to view the local wildlife, as well as enjoying stories around a campfire.

This event is FREE to the public, but be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and terrain.


8th Annual Holiday WalkJunction city

Junction City Shopping Center is hosting the 8th Annual Holiday Walk in Peoria, Ill. From 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to take pictures with Santa, see live reindeer and even hop aboard a carriage for a stroll around the shopping center.

Kick off the holiday season in style and experience the local atmosphere by visiting the local shops and restaurants. Also, a live performance from the ELITE Ensemble is sure to have your attention.


Community History Day

Don’t miss out on this educational event at the Peoria Riverfront Museum on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Peoria Historical Society is proud to present this program, which offers and arra of educational opportunities for guests of all ages.

The event features Civil War displays, reenactors, lecturers and even live musicians. There will also be an exclusive sneak peek of the new American Experience film JFK on the Giant Screen Theater!

Admission is free for all Peoria Historical Society members and half-price for the general public.


Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Talesdisney live

Bring the kids to the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday for three classic fairy tales in this live stage show. Viewers will follow Snow White, Belle and Cinderella on their breathtaking journeys in this Disney reenactment.

The shows will begin at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center Arena. Tickets can be purchased at the Peoria Civic Center box office and any Ticketmaster location.


Bradley vs. Jacksonville State

The Bradley Braves Men’s Basketball Team will kick off their regular season schedule against Jacksonville State this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center. The Braves had a nice preseason, going 5-1 against the competition.

Come out and help the Braves get off to a good start this season!

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



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.


Peoria Zoo – Kaci’s Places to Play

Written By: Andrew Ketterer


Last week Kaci was able to get up close and personal with a few different animals during her private tour of the Peoria Zoo. Yvonne Strode, director at the Peoria Zoo, was able to take some time to walk Kaci through the zoo and answer a few of her questions.


Strode began by talking through the history of the zoo, specifically the 27-million dollar expansion that was completed in 2009. Strode said, “With that expansion, they brought in some of the really big animals that people love.” These animals include giraffes, rhinos and zebras, along with the lions that have always been at the zoo.


Geographic Exhibits

With the expansion, the Zoo began organizing the exhibits into geographic regions around the world. Along with the new Africa exhibit, visitors to the zoo have enjoyed the addition of the Australia exhibit, which allows them to walk among the animals. The Asia exhibit recently featured four tiger cubs that have grown to over 200 pounds in just a year.


Behind-the-Scenes Tours

The education department enjoys taking a look at where the animals sleep at night. “We spent a lot of money and care to make sure the animals have what they need,” said Strode. Although the smell of the Rhinos may be a bit overwhelming, it seems that visitors of all ages enjoy getting a peek into where the animals live at night.


Winter Hours

Most people may think that the zoo is closed during the winter months, but they’re wrong! The Peoria Zoo remains opened from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. every day. Some of the animals can’t be outside during the colder months, but the recent renovations have included viewing windows and day rooms that allow visitors to see the animals.


Kaci’s right, “Where else can you visit Africa, Australia and Asia all in the same day?!” Next time you’re looking for something to do, check out the Peoria Zoo.

And don’t forget to tell the giraffes that Kaci sent you!



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

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


Jonah’s Seafood House & 2601 Oyster Bar

Written By: Andrew Kettererjonahs


Jonah’s Seafood House

If you’re craving fresh seafood and you’re in the Peoria Area, Jonah’s Seafood House is the place for you! When veteran restaurateurs Terry and Pattie Waldschmidt opened Jonah’s, they pictured a dining experience unlike those available in the area. Specifically, they wanted to present a menu that featured flavors from Tampa, San Francisco, Boston and New Orleans.

According to their website, the menu is based on “simplicity and consistency, and a commitment to excellence.” Twice each day, Jonah’s prints out menus that offer a variety of fresh fish for guests to pair with cooking styles, sauces, toppings and sides. The fish is flown in and received fresh each day, inspected for quality and then cut and weighed by hand.

To put it simply, the food is incredible!


2601 Oyster Baroyster bar

Acting as the perfect compliment to this incredible restaurant, the 2601 Oyster Bar promises good times and good food, whether you’re coming in on a boat off the water or from your latest business meeting. Be sure to grab a drink from the bartender while having a few of the fresh-shucked oysters on the half-shell from the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf.



Jonah’s can also accommodate large parties ranging from weddings, rehearsal dinners, birthdays, anniversaries and more. The banquet rooms have a wonderful view of the Illinois River and downtown Peoria.

The River Room: Great for a cocktail party or larger rehearsal dinner. Seats up to 55 people.

banquetsThe Bluepoint Room: Perfect for larger functions.

The Middle Room: This area is cozy and sits up to 45 people.

The Conference Room: This is the most private area and seats up to 20 people.


Call (309) 694-0946 or e-mail for more information.


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