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Peoria County announces flag design contest

Director of Strategic Communication Gretchen Pearsall (right) and local high school student Brady Reneau stop by to talk about the Peoria County Flag Design Contest.
Collin Schopp
Director of Strategic Communication Gretchen Pearsall, right, and local high school student Brady Reneau stop by to talk about the Peoria County Flag Design Contest.

Peoria County is looking for a design for the first-ever county flag, and the county board is turning to residents for help.

The idea started with Brady Reneau, an area high school student and vexillology (the study of flags) enthusiast. He said his interest in flags started in seventh grade and he was surprised to find out the county didn’t have one.

“I think every good county should have a flag,” he said. “It kind of pained me to see that we didn’t have one, so I talked to (County Board chairman) Andrew Rand about proposing it.”

Reneau worked with the board and Director of Strategic Communications Gretchen Pearsall on the outline of the contest, pointing them toward the good flag design standards of the North American Vexillological Association.

“We took some of them verbatim,” said Pearsall. “Keep it simple. Only two to three colors in the flag, it’s not supposed to be tons of colors, tons of text, nothing like that.”

The standards say the flag also should use meaningful symbolism for the area that it represents, use no lettering or seals, and consider real-world applications, like how the flag would look at the top of a pole, or more than 30 feet away.

Pearsall and Reneau, who will be one of the judges of the submitted designs, have high hopes for the applications.

“I’m hoping they capture both our urban and rural nature,” said Pearsall. “We have roots in agriculture, we also have a lot of innovation in our area.”

“I’d really like it to show that Peoria County isn’t just Peoria,” added Reneau. “It’s unified as a whole.”

Artists must be current residents of Peoria County. They can find the entry form, along with the full contest rules, and submit their flag designs as a PDF, PNG or JPEG through the county website. Hard copy artwork can be dropped off or mailed to the Peoria County courthouse.

Hard copies of the entry form also can be found at the courthouse, room 502, all Peoria public libraries, Dunlap Public Library, Brimfield Public Library, Chillicothe Public Library, Alpha Park Public Library, Lillie M Evans Public Library (Princeville) and Peoria Heights Public Library.

The county will start accepting submissions on Aug. 8 and close on Sep. 7. A team of judges will narrow down the submissions to five finalists and then the public will vote online for their favorite. The county is still deciding exactly what service will be used for the online voting and how they will prevent repeat votes.

The winning flag will be unveiled Oct. 22 at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

“I’m very excited,” said Reneau. “I can’t wait to see what the people have to offer.”

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Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.