Rated PG: Thanking Jay; introducing a new writer

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Just a thought ...

When interviewing concert promoter Jay Goldberg for a preview story for the Budweiser Blues Fest last weekend, it dawned on me that this area owes quite a "thank you" to this dude from Pekin.

Think about it: Three of this region's most lucrative events, and by that I mean revenue generators for our hotels, restaurants, bars, and sales tax coffers, started because Jay wanted to do something for the region while helping his business along.

For40-plus years he has worked his connections and made friends with the right people to produce not only the annual Blues Fest (his first) but also the riverfront entertainment connected to the Grand National TT weekend and the annual Summer Camp music festival at Three Sisters Park near Chillicothe. It has been hard work, but he's made it happen.

There are other events he helped start, such as the annual Women's Lifestyle Show, that help set Peoria apart from other cities its size.

It would be easy to say, "Oh, that's just his job." Maybe, but he didn't have to stay here. He could have gone anywhere and done this but he stayed because he believes in Peoria.

In the time I have known Jay I have never seen him be anything but gracious, even when diversity has caused him to change venues or what have you. Last year, for example, when the weather forced the Blue Fest away from the riverfront to Expo Gardens, he seemingly took it in stride.

He can get rankled when he believes he's getting messed with and has even taken legal action to try and make himself whole. But those who know him will agree he usually has a smile on his face as he plans for the next concert or the next big weekend event.

Another summer is finished and Jay's big three events again were successful and again the entire area is better because of them.

So the next time you see Jay around town, thank him. He doesn't seek out such things for himself, you know. We should let him know we appreciate it.

Introducing a new writer for The Peorian

It's always exciting when I get to announce we have a new writer for our website, thepeorian.com, as I get to do today.

This new writer comes with a twist: He's also a pretty good (and sometimes wicked) cartoonist and he will, on occasion, entertain us that way, as well. In fact, his first cartoon is one this website already, in the entertainment section.

His name is Donn Frizzi. That is his real name, not a pen name. He is originally from the Italian section of Pittsburgh and now lives in the Peoria area with his college professor wife.

Donn is well-read, listens to many types of good music, isn't afraid to speak his mind but has that ability to do so in a way that can make you laugh, and can weave a good story about a variety of subjects, from sports to world events and even love and marriage. Even when his articles are a little longer than usual, his style will keep you interested.

His first post for The Peorian, in which he will introduce himself to you our readers, will be posted tomorrow, Saturday, in the Voices section of our website. I hope you look for it, read it and enjoy it.

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).