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Riverfront, Downtown offer exciting summer activities

With summer fast approaching, most students will be heading home for break to their summer jobs, vacation plans or internships.
One would think spending the summer in Peoria would be less than desirable without campus activities, events and masses of college students. However, even during the out-of-school months, Peoria offers a wide range of activities for students sticking around for summer classes.
One of the biggest summer draws in Peoria are the Riverfront activities. Offering weekend festivals such as Soul Fest, as well as outdoor dining, Segway scooters and tandem bicycle rides and Riverfront concerts.
In June, the Riverfront will be hosting a bags tournament for those looking for some outdoor summer fun. Also on the Riverfront during the weekends is a market with booths offering everything from foods to crafts to specialized items.
Junior theatre performance major and East Peoria native Drew Overcash said there is a huge difference in the landscape of the Riverfront over the summer.
“In the summer, more people are available to do things down on the Riverfront,” he said. “The Riverfront is a great place to see people out doing things and performing. There is a lot activity and interesting things to see.”
The schedule of events happening on the Riverfront can be found online at
Although Bradley’s fine arts offerings take a break over the summer, the Peoria area lives up to its historical “Will it play in Peoria?” mantra by offering a wide selection of local arts activities.
Peoria’s community theatre lights up during the summer with a varied selection of musical theatre for those looking for an indoor activity at night.
Eastlight Theatre in East Peoria is showcasing a season including some new shows as well as some of Broadway’s best-loved musicals.
“The Wedding Singer,” “RENT” and “Cinderella” are a few of the shows on Eastlight’s summer playbill.
In addition to Eastlight Theatre, Cornstock Theatre and Peoria Players Theatre offer options for a dramatic summer evening.
Arts in the Park is another program that showcases Peoria area artists’ work near the end of May. Downtown around Main Street is swamped in original art exhibits, outdoor performances and food vendors in a “Taste of Chicago” style eating option. Occasionally, the Apollo Theatre downtown on Main Street shows classic movies in the historical classic movie theatre setting.
In East Peoria, both the East Peoria Riverfront and downtown East Peoria have summer events as well.
A jazz festival takes place on the East Peoria Riverfront during July, offering a weekend of outdoor concerts and food.
One of the biggest draws in Peoria over the summer is the return of the Peoria Chiefs, the local baseball team. With discounted ticket nights as well as special promotion nights throughout the summer, a night at the stadium is another option for spending a balmy summer evening out of the house.
“The Chiefs used to have a Taco Tuesday night where people coming to the games would receive free tacos at the game,” Overcash said.
For those not wanting to leave the closeness of campus, the Markin Family Student Recreation Center will remain open for students to stay in good physical shape over the summer.
Hours for the summer are adjusted from the school year and can be found online at Bradley’s campus recreation Web page.
Summer months may not be too busy on campus, but the Downtown Peoria offers up a wide variety of activities for students looking to let off some summer steam.
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