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These Four Illinois River Towns Are Starting A New Fall Festival Tradition

Tim Shelley / WCBU
Peoria Heights is one of the four communities featured in the Bridge to Bridge River Drive Festival this weekend.

A quartet of Illinois River communities hope people make the 52-mile loop this weekend for the first "Bridge to Bridge" River Drive Festival.

Bridge to Bridge River Drive

Peoria Heights, Chillicothe, Lacon, and Spring Bay want to start up a new Central Illinois fall tradition with the inaugural festival, spanning four communities on Routes 26 and 29 between the Lacon and McClugage bridges.

Mike Bailey says it's the first effort of the new Riverview Coalition.

"The idea was, how can we better market the activities in our communities? There's a lot of economic resurgence in these communities. There's a lot going on that people may not know about," Bailey said. "So this is an opportunity to reintroduce these communities to the folks who live in this area, and beyond."

Julie Beilfeldt of Peoria Heights says comparisons to Fulton County's annual Spoon River Drive aren't off-base, but there are also differences.

"Being river towns, we have a lot of similarities in our small municipalities. Very friendly places, easy to get around, parking," she said. "And then to enhance that with the other events going on. You don't typically have helicopter rides and plane rides. But we are so excited."

Jane Johnson of Lacon says each of the four communities stepped up to make the festival happen.

"Each community supported us financially, and not only financially, but also through special permits, offering parks, and extra security through the police departments," Johnson said.

She also thanks Morton Community Bank and Stratus Networks for their underwriting of the event.

The Bridge to Bridge Festival happens this Saturday and Sunday. Find the full itinerary on the Peoria Heights Arts Collaborative page.

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