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IGNITE Peoria set for Saturday at Civic Center

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A year ago artists throughout the Peoria region got together for a day at the Peoria Civic Center and lit a fire under each other and let it spread throughout the community. They’re ready to do it again.

IGNITE Peoria is scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., taking up almost every inch of the Civic Center because of growth in the exhibits that organizers believe will bring even more than the 6,300-plus that attended the inaugural event in August 2014.

“We are growing this year and we can’t wait to see where it takes us in the future,” said Megan Pedigo, director of marketing for the Civic Center and one of the chief architects of IGNITE Peoria.

Again the event will have all types of creative juices flowing, from traditional art to artistic endeavors most don’t even think about, including turning shoes and cars into canvases for painters.

And this year, River City Labs of Peoria will unveil its Midwest Makers Fest at IGNITE. Taking up Exhibit Hall D, River City Labs – a group of local inventors of electronic and digital devices such as drones and 3D printers – will show off many of their inventions throughout the day. There will be a drone obstacle course, robots, virtual sandbox and 3D printers displayed.

“What they have planned is just really cool. And it is exciting because it appeals to a totally different demographic but will be fascinating to everyone who attends, even those who come to see the more tradition arts being showcased,” Pedigo said.

The car show, where some vintage machines have been creatively transformed into works of art, has grown to the point the Civic Center decided to move it into Carver Arena, Pedigo said. Host Darius Donaldson calls it the All or Nothing Car Show and those displayed are there by his invitation.

Throughout the exhibit areas will be Creation Stations, where artists will show how they create their wares, how they put their visions on paper, ceramics, glass, fabric and many other media. There will be jewelry, clothing, glass blowing, weaving, music and magic. There are far too many to list here. Many of the Creations Stations will be interactive so the public can see firsthand how to create.

Once again there will be two performance stages where local theatre and dance organizations will show what they can do. Groups include the Nitsch Theatre Arts. Peoria Civic Chorale, the Rainbo Cloggers, Cornerstone Dance Academy and the Central Illinois Youth Symphony.

Returning this year will be Theatre Palooza, where local community theaters will join to teach a song-and-dance number that will be performed for the public in that same day. Directors, choreographers and music directors will do the teaching, the public the learning and the audiences the enjoying.

The theme for Theatre Palooza this year is Let The Sun Shine In, “so feel free to bring out your inner hippie” and wear bright clothes, organizers said.

Fashion Ignite Peoria will bring 35 professionals to the Civic Center for a free, live photo shoot of professional and non-professional models.

World Ignite Peoria will be a gathering of different cultures that are prevalent in Peoria. Booths featuring different foods, fashions and performing talents of those cultures will be set up in the Civic Center.

The day will end on the Sun Plaza at the Riverfront Museum, with a Party on the Plaza from 6 to 10 p.m. With music by the Brazilionaires, there will be food and drink for $20 a person.

Pedigo said having the post-event party at the museum is indicative of how IGNITE organizers want the even to evolve. “We want to use more of the downtown area and community for events. That gets more people walking around downtown and staying later than they otherwise would. That’s important for downtown,” she said.

There still is no final decision to expand IGNITE to two days, but it remains a goal, she added. “That way we believe more people will be able to come and enjoy it, people who can’t make it on Saturday. But it is asking a lot of some of our artists to do two days, so we want to see how it goes this year before we make a decision on taking it to two days,” Pedigo said.

IGNITE Peoria is free and open to the public. For more information, including a listing and descriptions of the participating artists and vendors click here or visit


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).