WHAT: Create, Cultivate, Educate Fine Arts Showcase
WHERE: Tazewell County Courthouse lawn
WHEN: Thursday and Friday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Runs every Thursday and Friday until May 20. Some performances begin at 11:30 a.m.
WHY: Free outdoor entertainment around the courthouse during your lunch hour
A full schedule of schools participating is available at www.pekinmainstreet.com.
Pekin residents are invited to enjoy live music, art and food around the Tazewell County Courthouse during lunch every Thursday and Friday for the rest of spring.
This Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Tremont Middle School and Tremont High School bands and choirs will perform on the courthouse lawn from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Edison Junior High School’s choir will sing on Friday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Some future performances will begin at 11:30 a.m.
The program runs until May 20, with different schools providing the free entertainment each Thursday and Friday.
Pekin Main Street and Tazewell County formed the new program, “Create, Cultivate, Educate Fine Arts Showcase,” in the mold of a similar program in Peoria.
The idea formed when Tazewell Court Administrator Courtney Antonini received calls from parents of area students, asking if the country could start a program similar to Peoria’s, she said. Antonini formed a committee with Pekin Main Street Executive Director Melida Heien, and the event came together.
Heien said she hopes the event not only draws people downtown for their lunch hour, but will also keep people who work downtown from leaving downtown for lunch.
“With gas being as expensive as it is, you don’t have to drive out somewhere for $3.85, $3.95 (per gallon) or whatever gas is now.”
In addition to band and choir, some schools will bring visual art, and some will show theater, too, Antonini said.
A food vender will sell hotdogs and sandwiches on the courthouse lawn, and Heien also invites those on their lunch break to bring their own brown-bag lunch, or buy carry-out from one of the downtown restaurants.
CJ’s Cafe owner Mary Smith said her shop is offering a special lunch deal for the students — $5 for a sandwich, chips, cookie and soda.
“I used to work in downtown Peoria, so I was used to things happening around the courthouse, and I would take my lunch down there all the time,” she said. “So I think it’s awesome.
“The more people we get downtown, the better off we all are. And the courthouse is beautiful. So what a nice place to have lunch.”
Heien said she’d like to continue the program into the summer if it remains successful.
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