Hopeful for Spring

As I write this, the National Weather Service reports the low temperature in Peoria this morning was -13 degrees, breaking the record of -11 set all the way back in 1936. This, just a week after our resident weather expert, Gertie the Groundhog, predicted six more weeks of winter. Yet we remain hopeful for spring—whenever it comes—as we put the finishing touches on this March/April issue.

Gazing at the snow drifts in my backyard, I wonder if my bushes and annuals will survive these arctic temperatures. Though I’m hardly a candidate for Master Gardener status, I enjoyed learning about the program and the vast range of community projects in which Master Gardeners have made an impact—from community gardens and garden walks to programs at Luthy Botanical Garden, Wildlife Prairie Park and many more. Indeed, it appears they are this region’s “secret weapon,” educating our community as they beautify it. 

We long for warmer temperatures and daydream of the approaching season, when families and friends can gather together and feast upon those traditional foods of spring: asparagus, mushrooms, eggs, berries and more. But which wines to pair with these flavors? On page 6, we take the guesswork out of wine pairing, offering several ideas and tips so you, too, can “Spring Forward with Wine.”

As two of this area’s most respected arts groups gear up for major spring shows, their passion for performance is unmistakable. In April, the Peoria Ballet will present its spring production of Cinderella at Five Points Washington, and Art & Society was fortunate to spend some time photographing the beautiful dancers who will bring the famous fairy tale to life. Meanwhile, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra will soon welcome world-renowned musician Béla Fleck to Peoria for an exploration of uniquely American music, from folksong to showtunes. On page 10, Fleck reflects on playing in Peoria and discusses his role in the American Classics program, noting that “America is a melting pot, and I am deeply melted.”

Elsewhere, Teri Cook has us cruising the waterways of Europe, while local historian Norm Kelly reports on a Peoria native who’s made a name for herself in Hollywood. Get to know Sam Gappmayer, the new CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, and take a look at this issue’s social scenes… you just might see yourself! Today, I’m bundling up, but hopefully by the time you read this, spring will loom just around the corner… a&s