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.


The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway


The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway is one of the most stunning and picturesque areas to visit in Midwest. It has been frequently referred to as a pristine paradise that everyone can appreciate because of its scenic allure and native feel.

As one of the most highly acclaimed hot-spots for Peoria travel and tourism, the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway offers breathtaking opportunities to take-in the area’s natural wonders, wildlife, geology, and history. Whether you’re a visitor spending a vacation in the Peoria Area or a local seeking a special afternoon, traveling to the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway offers an incredible experience for all walks of life.


Outdoor Activities

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway provides a wide array of activities for those who appreciate the outdoors. With a diverse ecosystem, the area is ideal for viewing wildlife in its most natural state. Bird watching in particularly is one of the most appreciated activities for visitors. With hundreds of bird species spanning from various eagles species to the most exotic owls, bird watchers are sure to enjoy the scenery.

For more active individuals, the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway offers a wealth of hiking and biking trails. Each trail is well-designed for efficient navigation to some of the area’s most pristine views. Mountain bikers can take advantage of varying terrain, all the while absorbing some of the most stunning scenery the Midwest has to offer.


Canal Area Tackle Shop (near Princeton, IL) rents bicycles, canoes, kayaks and camping equipment to visitors.

The Illinois River itself gives way to a number of activities, such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and more. Visitors can enjoy a picnic, or simply relax and take in the clear blue waters at the Riverfront Park.


Points of Interest


The Illinois River Encounter exhibit at Peoria Riverfront Museum tells the unique story of the Illinois River.

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway encompasses over 150 years of U.S. history and hosts many unique points of interest. A few notable places to learn about the rich history of the area, as well as that of U.S., include the Dickson Mounds, Emiquon, and Peoria Riverfront Museums.

Within the New Salem State Park, brick streets and classic lighting reflects the old-world ambiance of a city in which Abraham Lincoln resided for many years. For history-buffs, a visit to some of these places provides a deep connection to the 17th and 18th centuries.

If you visit the byway at the right times of year, there are a number of special festivals that take place, such as the Annual Oktoberfest event and the Catfish Festival. These enjoyable events offer a great time for both locals and visitors of central Illinois.

So bring your binoculars, hiking shoes, canoe, kayak, or bicycle, and enjoy the splendors of the byway. As long as the weather in Peoria complies, the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway is a must-see gem for all types of travel goers.

For more information, visit Peoria.org

Taste of Peoria – Wednesday, August 14

Written by: Adam Gierhart

How often do you and your family go out to eat? Probably not nearly as often as you’d like. I’m right there with you. There are so many fantastic restaurants in the Peoria, Illinois area that I’d like to try as many as I can without breaking the bank.

Well, there’s a great event coming up that showcases over 45 restaurants from the Peoria Area, selling their best stuff in the heart of this 2013 All-America City – the Taste of Peoria!Taste of Peoria

And the best part…most of the food for sale only cost $1 – $3, so you’ll be able to try a wide variety of local restaurant flavor for about what it would cost you for dinner at just one dining locale.

The Taste is taking place next Wednesday, August 14 from 4-11 p.m., with 45+ restaurants in booths spread across the beautiful Peoria riverfront on the banks of the Illinois River.  Check out the event map HERE.

Although, I’m sure all 45+ restaurants participating in the Taste of Peoria are fantastic, I’m going to focus in on five booths that will, without a doubt, be feeding me next Wednesday night:

Table 19 (Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette)

Opening earlier this year, the completely renovated Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette also opened up a new restaurant: Table 19. This newcomer to the Peoria Area culinary scene will fittingly receive its fair share of attention at the Taste, as it is one of the newest establishments being showcased.

Table 19 will be serving up the following items at the Taste of Peoria:Corn Chowder

  • Silver Queen Corn Chowder
  • S’mores Cheesecake
  • Pomegranate Spritzer

Item I’ll be eating multiple servings of: S’mores Cheesecake

Echo Valley Meats

Hot of their appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank, Echo Valley Meats and owner, Dave Alwan, are going to be set-up in Booth 14, right next to the token station so you won’t have to travel too far to get some of the absolute best-tasting meats in the entire Midwest. I’ve sampled a number of Echo Valley’s products and, if I could, I would be placing a reservation for two at Booth 14 next Wednesday.

Echo Valley Meats will be carving up the following items at the Taste of Peoria:Brisket

  • Beef Brisket
  • Prime Rib
  • American Cut Pork Chops
  • Bacon Pecan Brownies

Item I’ll be eating multiple servings of: Beef Brisket

The Lindenhof (German-American Society)

Without a doubt, one of the hidden culinary gems in the Peoria Area, The Lindenhof dishes out some of the best German food in the area. Every Friday night the German-American Society hosts a German Dinner at the Lindenhof that is just simply incredible. If you can’t make it to the Taste on August 14, make sure to mark your calendar for an upcoming Friday, so you can check them out.

The Lindenhof will be dishing up the following items at the Taste of Peoria:Pretzel

  • Heidelburger Sliders
  • Bavarian Pretzels

Item I’ll be eating multiple servings of: Heidelburger Sliders

Hickory River Smokehouse

What’s better than some good ol’ fashion barbeque and pulled pork? Let’s be honest, not much else. This Texas-style smokehouse serves up anything and everything barbeque for its guests on the north side of Peoria, right next to the Shoppes at Grand Prairie. So strap on your best barbeque bib and get ready to try some authentic, mouthwatering barbeque.

Hickory River Smokehouse will be barbequing the following items at the Taste of Peoria:Pulled Pork

  • Pulled pork nachos
  • Smoked wings
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Baby back ribs

Item I’ll be eating multiple servings of: Pulled Pork Nachos

Boyd’s Steakhouse (Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino)

Boyd’s Steakhouse, located in the Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, features some of most delicious steaks, seafood and deserts around and, as their website says, “[brings] you the time-honored practice of naturally improving tenderness and creating unique juicy flavor to you.” Booth #36 is definitely a must-try at the Taste!

Boyd’s Steakhouse will be bringing you the following items at the Taste of Peoria:Shrimp

  • Bacon-wrapped shrimp, stuffed with cheese
  • Filet kabob with balsamic glaze and blue cheese mashed potatoes
  • Strawberry shortcake

Item I’ll be eating multiple services of: Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, Stuffed with Cheese

The Taste of Peoria also features some great entertainment throughout the evening on the CEFCU Center Stage at the Landing and the Festival Park Stage in Festival Park. Click HERE for the entertainment schedule and lineup.

Make sure you mark next Wednesday, August 14 from 4-11 p.m. on your calendars for the annual Taste of Peoria and don’t forget your appetite at home! I’ll see you there!

For more information about the Taste of Peoria, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Visit our Calendar of Events to keep up with all the great happenings going on throughout the Peoria Area each and every week.

There is a $2 admission charge to get into the Taste of Peoria.

What’s “Playing in Peoria?” – August 7

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

I have an awesome lineup of events going on in the Peoria Area this weekend! We’ve got festivals, races, animals, concerts and wine. Does it really get any better than that? Even if you’re not into everything we’ve listed, there’s still something in the area for you to enjoy.

It won’t be long until summer is long gone and the snow covered days will be upon us. Get out and enjoy what the Peoria Area summer has to offer before it’s too late!

AMA Grand Nationals TT RacesBudweiser Grand Nationals Weekend: If you’re a motorcycle person, this is the event for you. Thousands of visitors will hop on their bikes to come to this two-day festival full of motorcycle activities! The giant parade for charity ends on the Peoria Riverfront where there will be bike shows, leather goods vendors, live music, great food and, of course, ice cold Budweiser! Dokken, Shooter Jennings and Quiet Riot will be performing! For more details, head to the Grand Nationals website.  Don’t forget to stop by the AMA Grand Nationals TT Races on Sunday!

Peoria Chiefs: The Peoria Chiefs have home games on Thursday and Friday against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers). Thursday night is Thirsty Thursday at the ballpark where you can get $1, 12 oz. domestic drafts and fountain drinks. Friday night is packed full of promotions: Flat Screen Friday, Dueling Pianos Night and post-game fireworks! Visit the Peoria Chiefs’ website for more details and ticket info.

2013 Happy Together Tour: One of the largest tours of the summer will make their way to the Peoria Civic Center stage this weekend. On Sunday, August 11 this amazing lineup including The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, Gary Pickett & the Union Gap, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys will be rocking Peoria. Get your tickets at the Peoria Civic Center box office!

Running with the Dogs: Calling all DOG PEOPLE! This is what you should be doing on Sunday. This Junction City event benefits Paws Giving Independence and will be a day of fun for all, especially the dogs! Live music, food, refreshments, rattles, dog activities and more will be included in the post-race Luau Party. The dog race starts at 10 AM with pre-registration from 8:30-10 AM. So come on out and let the dogs have some fun.


2nd Annual Wine Walk: Hosted by Junction City and Peoria Art Guild, this event helps raise money for Art Awareness for events and education within Peoria, IL. At one location you’ll have the chance to sample over 15 wines, enjoy live entertainment, modern art, shopping and more. A ticket purchase includes the Wine Walk activities, a FREE pass to the Fine Art Fair, take home tote bag and more! So if you’re a big supporter of local art, head to Junction City on Saturday from 1-6 PM.

Along with these great events this weekend, there are also other events going on in the area, including:
Peach and Pancake Breakfast at Tanners Orchard
Concert at the Vineyard – Brushfire at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard
Concert at the Vineyard: Loose Shoes at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard
Super Saturday! at the Peoria Riverfront Museum

Or browse our full CALENDAR OF EVENTS!

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.

Women of Faith Brings Life-Changing Event for Women to Peoria

August 16-17, 2013 at the Peoria Civic Center

Written by Adam Gierhart

Scheduled to visit 24 cities nationwide, the Women of Faith: Believe God Can Do Anything Tour, makes a stop to “Play in Peoria” at the Peoria Civic Center – Friday, August 16 – Saturday, August 17.

“The Women of Faith Believe God Can Do Anything tour is THE life-changing, live Christian event for today’s woman,” according to their website. “Where chart-topping music artists and world-class authors and Bible teachers create an unforgettable, day-and-a-half experience for women from all walks of life.”

The tour lineup features top female comedian, Anita Renfroe, chart-topping musical artists, MercyMe and Kari Jobe, as well as world-class authors and teachers Lisa Harper, Lysa TerKeurst, Jen Hatmaker, and Sheryl Brady.

Women of Faith: Believe God Can Do Anything Tour

Event Details
Date: Friday, August 16 – Saturday, August 17, 2013
Time: Friday – Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; Event starts at 7:30 p.m., Saturday – Doors open at 8 a.m.; Event runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: Peoria Civic Center – 201 S.W. Jefferson Ave., Peoria, IL 61602
Registration: Visit www.womenoffaith.com or call 888-493-2484

About Women of Faith
“Women of Faith events are produced by the world’s largest producer of inspirational events, Live Event Management Inc., a Thomas Nelson company based in Plano, Texas. Through authentic connection with audiences, humor, an atmosphere of encouragement and support, and our line-up of world-class talent including well-known Christian authors and performers, Women of Faith delivers life-changing messages via high-quality programs in cities across North America.”

What’s “Playing in Peoria?” – July 17

The middle of July is here and the window for fitting in your exciting summer activities is slowly closing. It’s my goal to motivate you to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy all that the Peoria area has to offer before it’s too late! So, I’m going to keep giving it my best shot to get you out-and-about.

There are a couple big events this weekend, along with a couple that may normally slide under your radar, but again, that’s why I’m here.

Peoria Chiefs: The Chiefs will host the South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks) in a three game series that ends Friday, July 19. After sweeping the Silver Hawks (crossed fingers), the Chiefs will welcome the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) into town for another three-game series that kicks off on Saturday. Promotions for the weekend include “Flat Screen Friday,” “Jimmy Buffet Night,” a Boat Drunks concert and a poster giveaway. It looks like the weather will cooperate all weekend, so get out to Dozer Park and enjoy some professional baseball!

Live Music: Just like most weekends so far this summer, the area is hopping with live music! Here are a few shows I’d suggest getting out to if CEFCU667you like having a cold one and catching some tunes.

Canned Heat will play CEFCU Center Stage on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Their unique blend of modern electric blues, rock and boogie has earned them a loyal following and influenced many aspiring musicians. They’re list of hits include “On the Road Again,” “Let’s Work Together,” and “Going Up The Country.”

Mike and Joe will take the stage on Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. This college town favorite is one of the most watched cover bands in the Midwest. They’ve been known to play some Filter, Goo Goo Dolls, Dave Matthews Band and more. If you want to party on the riverfront, this is the band to come see!

JammSammich will also be playing on Saturday night, but at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and Winery at 7:00 p.m. This band has earned a reputation with the locals as one of the best classic rock bands around. They’ve been known to pack the dance floor and give listeners the “ultimate good time.” Bring a lawn chair and some snacks out Mackinaw and enjoy some of that classic rock n’ roll.

Heart of Illinois Fair: The fair continues through this weekend with livestock shows, competitive exhibits, carnival rides, games, demo derbies, and truck and tractor pulls. No matter who you are or what you’re interested in, there’s something for you at the fair. So head out to Expo Gardens this weekend and experience it for yourself.

National Softball Association (NSA) “B” Northern Fast Pitch World Series: This softball tournament brings in over 4,000 athletes to compete for six days at five different locations including EastSide Centre (East Peoria), Birchwood Park (Morton), Medina Township Park (Mossville), Avanti’s Dome (Pekin), and Shute School (East Peoria). An opening ceremony celebration will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Monday at CEFCU Center Stage along the Peoria riverfront. The tournament begins on Tuesday, with games at each location beginning at 8:00 a.m. Check out nsanorth.com for more scheduling information.

NSA Itinerary Flyer_FINAL

As always, stay busy Peoria 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.

Plunge Into Summer with the Local Water Parks

The dog days of the Central Illinois summer are no joke! As someone who’s spent almost every summer of his life here, I can say that sometimes you just need to find a way to cool off, but enjoy the sunshine as well! Luckily for anyone traveling to the area, we have plenty of places to help you cool off.

In this post, I’m highlighting the four major water parks in the Peoria area that are sure to keep families entertained for the entire afternoon!


Lakeview Family Aquatic Center


Tues-Fri: 12 – 4 PM
Sat-Sun: 12 – 5 PM

This Peoria Park District facility is a gigantic water park, with multiple attractions that will have your family swimming all day long! The park offers a large swimming pool, a zero depth pool with exciting play equipment, three water slides and diving boards. There is also a sand play area with equipment for kids to build sand castles, forts or whatever they feel like.


Peoria RiverPlex – AquaPlex


Mon-Fri: 12 – 7 PM
Sat-Sun: 12 – 5 PM

Do you remember those days as a kid when you were planning on going to a water park, only to look outside and see nothing but thunder, lightning and sheets of rain coming from the sky? Well if you’re in the Peoria area, there’s no reason to feel that disappointment again. This indoor aquatic park features a two-story water slide, lazy river, zero depth pool and a complex of splash equipment.


DragonLand Water Park


Mon-Sun: 12 – 5 PM

This water park, located in Pekin, has something for everyone in its three-plus acres of park land. DragonLand touts three different water slides that will twist and turn you, including “Dude” the dragon slide. One of the coolest things about the park is the sand beach area with an extended deck and lounge chairs. It’s the perfect place for a family to have a little picnic at the water park. There are also sand volleyball courts and well-kept locker facilities.


Splashdown Water Park


Mon-Sun: 11 – 6 PM

This water park has to be the most popular in the area, jam-packed with different areas and equipment that will keep a smile on your face. The three story tree house play area is breathtaking, with an enormous bucket that dumps tons of water on everyone underneath every few minutes. The unpredictable curves of the Wild Ride Tube Slide might just have you screaming by the time you get to the bottom. And if that isn’t enough, the Lazy River is the perfect place to hop on a tube and relax, as you float around the three-acre park.

Written By: Andrew Ketterer