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The arts thrive in Peoria

Courtesy Peoria CVB
Eastlight Theatre
Broadway musicals entertain audiences at the Eastlight Theatre. This regional community theater seats 1,100 people and features Midwest and Chicago actors. Backstage tours after the shows can be scheduled.

“We exclusively perform a variety of musicals, typically first-run productions and new shows coming off Broadway,” said executive director Steve Cordle. “We were one of the first community theaters in the country to perform ‘Les Miserables.’”

Peoria Riverfront District
In warmer months, the Peoria Riverfront District hums with festivals focusing on steamboats, the Irish, blues and soul. During the Budweiser Grand Nationals Weekend, Illinois’ largest motorcycle festival, thousands hop on their motorcycles and converge for a street-style party with stunt shows, vendors, live music and plenty of ice cold beer. Oktoberfest, Peoria’s annual German event, encourages revelers to don authentic German attire, celebrate with bands and musicians on multiple stages, dance, and enjoy food and cultural exhibits.

“From May through September, if we don’t have a weekend festival scheduled, then there’s a concert,” said Sharon Gramm, executive director of the Peoria Riverfront Association. “We cater to a wide range of tastes and interests.”

Waterhouse, a banquet and catering facility, hosts Peoria Cabaret Theatre, a company that performs original, interactive dinner comedies. “Howlin’ on Water,” a highly entertaining dueling piano show, encourages sing-a-longs and takes requests. A summer jazz series at the landing features local musicians. Kelleher’s Irish Pub and Eatery hosts live music on weekends.

RiverFront Market offers fresh produce, chef demonstrations, art, live music and crafts on summer Saturday mornings. The Peoria Riverfront Museum opens mid-October and offers customized movies for groups on its giant digital screen.

Peoria Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau


Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.

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