Purse your lips to belt out some songs and get ready for the wackiest race Pekin has ever put on — a fun spring, summer and fall 2018 is just around the corner.

The city has four events planned and a farmers market. City Planner Katy Shackelford said such events are important to the community.

“(Events) are part of the community’s character and bring people together,” she said. “One of the signals of a vibrant community is an active downtown with events and activities and ways to bring people together.”

Courtney Psinas, Pekin’s contractual social media and downtown coordinator said, “The heart of Pekin is downtown, and we’re going to feature a different event on each block of the downtown. So we’re really trying to engage the community so they can see we are improving our downtown, and we’re doing a lot to make it more attractive to the community. That’s what these events are going to do.”

The city over the past few years has installed decorative tables and benches, removed the signal lights at the corners of Capitol and Court streets and Fourth and Court streets where new decorative signs were placed. Wayfinding signs have been installed, as have decorative crosswalks. Developer Todd Thompson stabilized and renovated some of the old buildings, which are now filled with new businesses.

The Pekin Farmers Market will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday from May 30 through Oct. 17 in the grassy area next to the Pekin Daily Times office. There will be music every week, a food truck and tables for people to eat at while shopping at the market. There will be a community booth where local not-for-profits and service groups can get the word out about their services. There will be one per week.

Also included will be farmers, an organic flower producer, crafters and vendors. Psinas said the idea is not to duplicate things. There will be fruit, vegetables and baked goods. Downriver Farm will participate with traditional heirloom vegetables, as well as some of the exotic produce..

Pekin City Manager Tony Carson said he has seen success with some of the events in other communities he worked in previously.

“This is something that has been very successful in the county seats that I worked in where we had farmers markets during the work day,” said Carson. “You have that captive audience downtown, not only the workers, but also the people who come down for government services and to visit the shops.

“We’re really excited. We think it’s going to be a good addition. We look at this as being a destination spot for Wednesdays. This will be an added attraction to downtown. The whole idea is to get people to come downtown.”

To sign up for the farmers market as a vendor, visit www.pekinfarmersmarket.com for applications, rules and other information.

 

Other events

There will be four other events, for which additional information will be available at a later date. All of the events will allow patrons to drink alcohol on the block where the event is held so that people do not have to stay in a designated area and miss the events.

1. The Summer Kickoff will be held on the evening of Friday, June 1, with live music, food vendors and more.

2. Bike Night will be back as well on Friday, July 27. It will be the night prior to the Cruise-In. Shackelford said bicycles will be included as well this year.

3. A new event to Pekin will be the bathtub race, which will be held on Aug. 17. An area on Court Street downtown will be selected for the event. People will build their own bathtubs, which can be anything that holds water — including a real bathtub. The tubs must be mounted on wheels, have a driver and someone pushing it. Too entries will race at a time. Prizes will be awarded. The Pekin Community High School welding class will make two or three tubs for the races which can be borrowed by competitors.

4. Friday Night Family Fest with the Lip Sync Contest will be back this fall on Sept. 7, the night before the Marigold Festival kicks off. The Lip Sync Contest was terminated in 2011 by Pekin Main Street. The community was not pleased with that decision.