The Riverfront is Hoppin'!

It's summer in Peoria… time for grilling, boating, hiking, swimming, fishing, and simply enjoying our region’s natural beauty. Without a doubt, the Illinois River—the reason this land was settled in the first place—is at the top of that list.

The river runs threadlike through this issue, from our snapshot of waterfront dining options to the cover story on Hooked on Fishing. Located prominently along Route 116 in East Peoria, you’ve probably driven past it many times, but did you know it’s the largest nonprofit fishing education organization in the entire country? It’s certainly one of our region’s hidden gems! 

On July 12th, a first-time event will highlight our beloved river as it raises awareness about “the fish everyone loves to hate.” That’s right: those pesky Asian carp are the stars of the inaugural Flying Fish Festival and Bowfishing Tournament taking place along the river outside of Bass Pro Shops. In the morning, watch those fishermen in action, and in the afternoon, area chefs will cook up the fish and offer samples. Will Asian carp be the next culinary delicacy? 

The following weekend, the three-day Country Life Music Festival brings some of the biggest names in country music to Ravina On The Lakes, while the second Saturday in August brings IGNITE Peoria—a celebration of the arts and creativity—to the Peoria Civic Center.

Indeed, summer is a time for festivals... with a whole host of summer shindigs, from the Red, White and Boom! Fourth of July celebration to the ever-popular Taste of Peoria to unique, cultural celebrations like India Fest, Fiesta en el Rio and Erin Feis. And don’t forget about the Peoria Riverfront Market on Saturday mornings… The riverfront will be hopping—don’t miss out!

Meanwhile, if you’re itching for a road trip, try the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway. In this issue, we highlight five wineries along the award-winning route, but there’s so much more… with breathtaking views and opportunities for camping, picnicking, fishing, geocaching, horseback riding, hunting… Visit to learn more and customize your own trip!

Over the years, I’ve decided that staying and playing at home during the summer months suits me just fine. Being a lifelong Central Illinoisan, I know the cold winter months will return soon enough… so get out there and enjoy everything our region has to offer! a&s