Tourism & Special Events
The Department of Tourism and Special Events is responsible for organizing and attracting events for the benefit and enjoyment of East Peoria residents and visitors, both local and from out of town. The department focuses on these areas:
- Organized sports tournaments ranging from local to national championships in softball, baseball, soccer, track and field, volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics. Participants range in age from grade school through college, with teams coming from Illinois and out of state.
- Special activities in the city featuring family fun and entertainment, including classic car shows, competitive running events, the Independence Day fireworks display, and more.
- Logistical support for large fundraising events in the city hosted by regional and national charitable organizations.
Also under the direction of the Department of Tourism and Special Events is the management and day-to-day operations of EastSide Centre Sports Complex, one of the premier athletic facilities in the Midwest. The facility features:
- 10 baseball/softball fields, two of which were recently renovated to synthetic turf.
- Four full length soccer/lacrosse fields.
- Three indoor basketball courts.
- A 20,000 square foot gymnasium with a newly renovated floor surface that can host many activities including sports tournaments, craft/vendor shows, tumbling and trampoline events and more; an indoor walking track, and a fitness center offering group classes and fully equipped with strength and conditioning equipment.
East Peoria Festival of Lights
Although an end-of-the-year holiday event, the Department of Tourism and Special Events staff works on the East Peoria Festival of Lights all year, building the festival's signature lighted floats and displays; planning the lighted parade, drive-through display attractions and special events; organizing and recruiting volunteers; and many behind the scenes activities that come together to bring holiday cheer to East Peoria residents and visitors alike. The festival is the recipient of a number of state and national awards, most notably being named the 2020 Heavyweights winner on Season 8 of ABC TV's The Great Christmas Light Fight.