The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (Discover Peoria) is excited to promote a robust line-up of activities and events happening this summer in the Peoria area where you can discover a one-of-a-kind experience for the whole family to enjoy.

The summer months bring opportunities for discovery that cannot take place during the fall and wintertime in central Illinois. Now open for the season, antique cars, trains and Caterpillar machinery await you at the Wheels O’ Time Museum in north Peoria. Get in touch with nature by checking out Wildlife Prairie Park where you can view native wildlife and even feed Big Mike the bison, surround yourself in the amazing colors of the season at Luthy Botanical Garden in Glen Oak Park and then pop-over next door to the Peoria Zoo where you are transported to Africa, Asia, and Australia to view lions, tigers and meerkats - oh my! Looking to get out on the water this summer? Take a ride on the Illinois River with Sail Peoria or the Spirit of Peoria and Pekin offers paddleboat rides at Mineral Springs Park and Lagoon. The sounds of cheering fans draw people to Dozer Park in downtown Peoria to cheer on the Peoria Chiefs, a minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Central Illinois is at full bloom during the summer months. Local festivals, concerts, events and cheering on the Peoria Chiefs are all a perfect way to soak up the summer sun,” said MacKenzie Taylor, Marketing Coordinator for Discover Peoria. “Our community members rally behind every single event, creating an atmosphere of happiness and opportunity for all ages to discover something new or re-discover something they haven’t explored in years.”

Small-town festivals line the summer weekends in the heart of Illinois. Good Neighbor Days in Washington, which traditionally kicks off the summer festival season, and Illinois’ largest firework display, Red, White and BOOM! are both this year canceled due to COVID-19. Check out the Good Neighbor Days Festival page and the Red, White and BOOM! page on our website for up-to-date information on both events. But do not worry, there are still plenty of events happening all summer long in the Peoria area.

Annual Events: 

  • Peoria Heights Fine Art Fair at Downtown Peoria Heights (May 22, 2021) - The Peoria Heights Fine Art Fair provides a quaint venue for hundreds of community members to see and buy works of art from regional artists in a charming setting. The fair draws professional, juried artists and their work to display in classic white tents positioned along Prospect Road. 

  • Tailgate N’ Tallboys at Louisville Slugger Sports Complex (June 3 - 5, 2021) - Central Illinois’ premier country music festival returns for three days at Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria. The line-up consists of headliners, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt and Jon Pardi. 

  • 33rd Annual Elmwood Strawberry Festival at Central Park (June 5, 2021) - The Elmwood Strawberry Festival is an annual event held every first Saturday of June. Located at Central Park the festival is filled with crafters and vendors as well as great food including the famous strawberry pizza and color run. 

  • Canton Art on Main Fine Art Festival at Jones Park (June 5 - 6, 2021) - The Canton Art on Main Fine Arts Festival gives local and state artists from all media and backgrounds the opportunity to showcase, promote and sell their work along with the community members to get out and discover new art. 

  • 56th Annual Tremont Turkey Festival at Tremont City Park (June 11 - 13, 2021) - Since 1966, the Tremont Turkey Festival has been bringing in crowds from all over the state of Illinois featuring its giant turkey legs, strawberry shortcake, a carnival and more. 

  • Chillicothe Days at City Park (June 16 - 19, 2021) - Formerly known as Claud-Elen Days, this festival, originally started in 1967, includes live music, food and drink, a parade and a signature car show. 

  • Juneteenth (June 19, 2021) - Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration of ending slavery in the United States and this event will celebrate Black history, culture, feature local Black-owned businesses and more. 

  • Old Settlers Days at Metamora Village Square (June 23 - 26, 2021) - Held in the historic Metamora Village Square, Old Settlers Days is a time for the community to come together and enjoy carnival rides, food, a parade and much more. 

  • 4th of July Honor America Celebration at Memorial Stadium (July 4, 2021) - Pekin’s Independence Day celebration will feature an amazing fireworks display beginning around dusk (9:15 p.m.) with a rain date being July 5, 2021. 

  • Chillicothe’s 4th of July at Three Sisters Park (July 4, 2021) - Celebrate the 4th of July in Chillicothe with an afternoon of fun at Three Sisters Park leading up to a huge fireworks display. 

  • The Heart of Illinois Fair at Exposition Gardens (July 13 - 17, 2021) - The Heart of Illinois Fair is a mainstay in central Illinois' summertime fun, featuring five days of carnival food, rides and shows. 

  • 18th Annual Havana Car Show at Havana Riverfront Park (August 14, 2021) - Head out to Havana for a fun-filled day on the banks of the Illinois River featuring hundreds of new and vintage cars.

  • 20th Annual Henry Lacon Chillicothe (HLC) Canoe & Kayak River Jaunt (August 15, 2021) - This outdoor river adventure begins at the Henry Waterworks Park and will take down the Illinois River where the event concludes in Chillicothe with a dinner at Shore Acres Park Pavilion.

  • Summer Camp Music Festival at Three Sisters Park (August 20 - 23, 2021) - For 20 years, Summer Camp Music Festival has featured a range of artists and performances across multiple stages for three days with a pre-party taking place this year on Thursday, August 19, 2021. 

  • Peoria Irish Fest at the Peoria RiverFront (August 27 - 29, 2021) -  Since 1981, the Peoria Irish Fest has been celebrating Irish culture, music, food, dance, and more.  

A Bounty of Farmers’ Markets in Central Illinois

Central Illinois is fortunate enough to be brimming with fresh local produce and vendors at different Farmers’ Markets around the area. Start your week off by checking out the Farmers Market at the Metro Centre, which is open Monday through Saturday. Tuesday evenings are for Morton Farmers’ Market N More. Wednesday evening there are back-to-back Farmer’s Markets across the street from each other at the Keller Station and Junction City. Head out to Pekin on Thursday afternoons for the Pekin Farmers’ Market and start your weekend on Friday nights in the Levee District for the East Peoria Farmers’ Market. Saturday mornings wrap up the area’s Farmers’ Markets with the Peoria RiverFront Market, Peoria’s Southside Farmers’ Market, Metamora Farmers’ Market, Canton Main Street Farmers’ Market and the Havana Farmers’ Market. If you can’t make it to one of the area’s Farmers’ Markets, check out these other recurring events happening all summer long. 

Recurring Events: 

  • 2nd Saturday Market at Downtown Chillicothe (May 8, June 12, July 10 and August 14) - This citywide retail event and includes retail businesses on 4th, 2nd Cedar and Santa Fe streets. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 2nd Saturday of the month year-round.

  • Downtown Thursday 2nd Street Market at 2nd Street (May 27, June 24, July 29 and August 26) - The downtown Chillicothe street festival takes place on the last Thursday of the month during the summer with vendors lining the street and each month has a different theme.

  • Tazewell Art Loop’s Fourth Fridays (May 28, June 25, July 23 and August 27) - Celebrate the arts and shop local at this summer the only event happening every fourth Friday from May through August in Morton, Pekin and Delavan.

  • First Fridays (June 4, July 2 and August 6) - First Fridays are a beautifully sensory experience one can take through the heart and soul of Peoria, discovering local artists, new exhibits and shopping local. 

  • Havana’s First Fridays & Night Market at Main Street (June 4, July 2 and August 6) - Featuring an amazing lineup of artists and musicians, visit Havana’s local shops, boutiques, restaurants and catch the live music downtown at the Stag Tap Beer Garden stage. You can also view local artists’ work at The Cove Center. 

  • Central Illinois Cars & Coffee at The Levee District (June 5, July 3 and August 7) - The first Saturday of each month during the summer is time car enthusiasts gather to show off and drive their new and vintage cars. 

Learn more about these events and other events happening in central Illinois this summer at DiscoverPeoria.com/Events.