At its most basic level, tourism is defined as “people traveling for fun.” For locals, that fun translates into a better quality of life, a thriving economy, and more dollars for businesses and local government. Tazewell County is a great place for visitors to travel to, and I would like to highlight just a few of these events and places.
Many of our communities have seasonal festivals that draw large crowds of people from outside the region. The Pekin Marigold Festival, Good Neighbor Days in Washington and the Morton Pumpkin Festival, for example, attract tens of thousands of visitors each year. Add to that the Tremont Turkey Festival, the Festival of Lights in East Peoria and Mack-Ca-Fest in Mackinaw, and the fun keeps coming. Christmas in Minier, Hopedale’s Fourth of July Festival and the Delavan Fall Festival round out Tazewell’s annual season of festivities.
Many of these events feature parades and rides, along with great food. Who doesn’t like a turkey leg or pumpkin pancakes, along with corn dogs, elephant ears or deep-fried Twinkies? (Okay, maybe I took that a little too far…)
Arts & Entertainment
Washington hosts an orchestra and offers plays and concerts at the Five Points auditorium. After the play, you can book a room at the Cornerstone Inn, a bed & breakfast on the city’s historic downtown square. Outdoor sports lovers come to Bass Pro in East Peoria and spend the day looking for what they need for their next adventure. They can eat and spend the night in East Peoria, with its many hotels and great restaurants. The Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino also draws tourists from throughout the state of Illinois.
Mackinaw Valley Vineyard can provide a relaxing evening of sampling their many fine wines while listening to live music in the gazebo. If you enjoy camping and listening to music, Kentuckiana Kampground near Hopedale is a great setting for the entire family.
In the summer, Morton features Arts in the Park, offering great live music while the kids play on the playground. You can bring your own picnic basket or purchase food provided on-site. The Tazewell Art Loop is a relatively new event with several communities providing art, food, live music and more every fourth Friday during the summer months.
Sports & Recreation
Tazewell County also has many excellent sports facilities that draw sports teams from throughout the Midwest. EastSide Centre in East Peoria, the Avanti’s Dome in Pekin and the soccer fields in Morton provide first-class venues for sports tournaments that fill our hotels and restaurants. The Ledgestone Insurance Open disc golf tournament is played partially in Tazewell County, drawing thousands of players and visitors from the entire country.
Tourism brought 114 million visitors to Illinois last year, along with nearly $3 billion in state and local tax revenue. With so many fun events attracting people to our communities, Tazewell County receives a share of those resources. This year, take some time and travel to Tazewell for a whole lot of fun! PM