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Tower Park Art Festival is this weekend

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The Village of Peoria Heights enjoys its reputation as quaint, artsy, unique. That’s why it was determined that there would be an art show in the village this summer so it could keep tourists coming in.

The inaugural Peoria Heights Tower Park Art Festival is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free both days as more than 25 vendors and chalk artists will display their talents.

Sarah Witbracht from the village said the event should be the biggest art festival the village has seen. “We’re combining two events into one festival and there will be something for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

In the past the Peoria Heights Chamber of Commerce conducted a one-day art show the Saturday before Mother’s Day. But the chamber approached village officials earlier this year and told them it would be unable to continue the event.

“The village felt it was too important of an event to just let it go. The village is an artsy place and we wanted to keep it going to keep bringing tourists who enjoy those kinds of events.

The other event blended in is the Chalk the Walk event held in October before. Artists of varying styles and ranges of talent will use chalk to create art and illusions on the walkways throughout Tower Park. To date seven chalk artists, including three who do the art professionally, are scheduled to create during the weekend. “Some of their work is so elaborate and detailed they need both days to complete it,” Witbracht said.

Art vendors of photography, ceramics, hand-painted wood, jewelry, sculpture, paint on canvas and other genres will be on hand during the weekend. On Saturday a special indoor exhibit curated by the Illinois Art League will be presented inside Village Hall.

On Sunday there will be face painting by The Zoo Lady, balloon animals by Doug Smith and other fun activities.

There will be food available all weekend, with catering by Alwans on Saturday and Haddads on Sunday. There also will be live music both days.

The Peoria Heights Tower will be open, as well, Witbracht said. “It would be pretty near to go up in the tower and look down on the sidewalk artists doing their thing,” she said.

Witbracht said the event will go on rain or shine and that chalk artists will work as they can in inclement weather. The art they create, she added, is pretty hearty. Pictures created during the October event lasted several weeks before fading away.

Vendors and chalk artists are being accepted through the end of the day on Friday. Those interested should email the village at


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).