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It's Street Party time!

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Psst. It's Old Quarters Street Party time at Kelleher's. They just aren't advertising it yet.

But about 5:30 p.m. on Friday night, Water Street in front of Kelleher's will be closed to auto traffic and filled with tables and chairs and ready for another summer of outdoor fun at the Irish pub.

"We are looking to do a little softer opening this weekend to make sure everything and everybody is ready to do," said Bill Blasek, general manager of Kelleher's. "But we're not keeping it a secret. Come on down."

This weekend's entertainment will include Nate Peck, Casual Man and Nick Zosky.

This weekend and next the Street Party, now in its fourth year, will be on Friday and Saturday only. Beginning the first week of June, on Wednesday June 5, the Street Party will be Wednesday through Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m., said Gene Beever, outdoor events manager for Kelleher's.

The pub and the city reached an agreement recently that calls for the party to begin an hour later than in the past. That is to better accommodate downtown traffic, including to the State Street branch of the Post Office, while Washington Street is closed for reconstruction.

"We understand it and are glad to help," Blasek said.

Again this year, the Peoria Municipal Band will hold its Wednesday night concerts in front of Kelleher's as part of the Street Party, beginning June 5.

Each night Kelleher's will serve food from an outdoor kitchen, Rhodell's will sell special home brews, Rizzi's on State will serve outdoors from a menu more limited than its indoor menu and a new restaurant at the corner of Water and State called The Creek, owned by Kickapoo Creek Winery, will serve food and drink.

The last weekend of each month will feature themes meant to get people in a party mood and learn a little about the food and drink of other cultures, starting with last weekend in June. The first theme will be a Cuban theme and will include food and drink from that country and possibly some cigars.

The July theme will be Keller's annual Beach Party.

The Mini Beer Fest will be in August and in September the pub will have its own annual Oktober Fest, featuring a German theme.

"We are an Irish pub, of course, and we always will be on the inside. But there's nothing wrong with reaching out to other countries every once in a while, right? We just want to offer everyone a good time," Blasek said.

This is the second year the Municipal Band has done its Wednesday concerts downtown. Blasek said it went well last year and he believes it opened the door for a greater mix of patrons, including families. "We want the early part of the evening to be a good time for families, then let the party evolve to become adult oriented later in the night. That way we can be a destination for more people," he said.

Other entertainment will be scheduled throughout the summer, Beever said, particular on the themed weekends. "That will be a fun time, with the different kind of music and games," he said.

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).