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Festival Of Lights - East Peoria Illinois
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Festival Of Lights  -  East Peoria Illinois

The City of East Peoria is located in Central Illinois on the east side of the Illinois River. It's original settlers were mostly from the Alsace Lorraine region of France. East Peoria was originally known as Bluetown, possibly named after the men settlers who wore blue smocks or the blue paint used on the stilt houses built above the wet river ground and yet another theory that a company had purchased a large amount of blue paint that was used to paint the houses the company owned.

The continued growth of the area attracted riverboat Captain Cole who built a toll bridge in 1848. The area became known as Coleville. In 1884 Bluetown and Coleville incorporated under the name of Hilton. In 1889 the Village of East Peoria was incorporated and in 1919 it changed to the City of East Peoria.

Several weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit the annual Festival of Lights parade presented in East Peoria, Illinois. This event has been an on going tradition for the last twenty eight years. This is a great event and was my second visit in the past 15 or so years.

It was a first time event for our children and they were very entertained by it. All of the floats are made up of Christmas lights and are powered by a generator on each float. The parade was changed to run a week earlier this year, the week before Thanksgiving, which did help to enjoy the parade in some milder temperatures.

The parade route travels three miles of streets through the City of East Peoria and included floats made up of light shapes such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the Clydesdale horse team pulling a wagon, the starship Enterprise from Star Trek made up of 48,000 LED lights, a 95 foot long Chinese dragon and Frosty the Snowman.

The Festival of Lights have become so popular that it was videocast on a large screen display in Red Square for the second annual lights celebration in Moscow, Russia. The organisers used the East Peoria event to compliment theirs, because of the long successful history the Festival of Lights has maintained.

The Festival of Lights is also complimented with a static display of the floats and a ski jumper through out December in Folepi's Winter Wonderland located in VFW Park, East Peoria.

If you are ever in Central Illinois the week before Thanksgiving check out the Festival of Lights parade, which is free and the Festival of Lights/Felepi's Winter Wonderland which is only ten dollars per car.


Street Talk

Thanks for this article! I live about 4 hours from East Peoria, and would love to check this out next year!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Wow, that would be cool. I have never made the drive through the Folepi's Winter Wonderland, I have just watched the parade. I think there are more displays in the Wonderland, such as a ski jumper, that are not in the parade. Thanks for the comment!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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