My family spent a considerable amount of time there when I was a kid. We experienced snowy Christmases, sat in the back yard and watched fireflies in the summer, picked tomatoes from the plants in my grandparents' garden, watched Gone With the Wind with my grandma, and slept in the attic (also childhood bedroom of my dad and uncle) of the house my grandpa built.
As an adult, the draws of Peoria are German food, endless cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, jet skiing in the river, and the Casino.
Last night, out of curiosity, I typed "Peoria" into YouTube and found some gems. You'll find that these two videos pretty much sum up this part of the world.
1) After some Google searches and a few conversations with the locals, I can confidently say that the flying Asian carp invasion is Peoria's biggest news right now. Watch this video of some vigilante bros taking care of them...
James and I were cracking up at this, and mid-watch it occurred to me that some might see the random killing of animals as horrifying. Either we are terrible people, or the carp are overrunning the river and pose an environmental threat so who cares, or I just can't empathize with the feelings of fish. Maybe all three?
2) Here's a wonderful YouTube account by a guy named Ronnie who vaguely reminds me of my dad and other men on that side of my family. He seems really sweet and drags his stories out, much like my dad. This guy pulls at my heartstrings in a similar way as the woman who wrote the Olive Garden review that went viral. His farmer joke turns out to be funny, too, even though you have to wait two whole minutes for it.
I'm not sure if you need a midwestern background to find this stuff interesting. Possibly.
Here are the photos I took in Peoria this summer. I didn't get any of my grandpa this time because he can't see or walk anymore, so posting photos of that kind of weirds me out, so the first one is from a few years ago.
|grandpa and cousin (2010ish)|
|My booziness is inherited, methinks.|
|my dad and his brother|
|bunch of cousins, my mom in the middle|
|James and my cousins waiting at the security checkpoint of the Pair-A-Dice Casino|
|Irresponsibly steering my uncle's boat along the Illinois river|
|Peoria Hofbrau. I don't think I could get more in touch with my roots than a German restaurant in Peoria.|
|It was poorly lit and old, with lots of beer from which to choose.|
|We found a racing derby, which was full of white people drinking Mountain Dew, some of whom wore overalls.|
|Breakfast at the Burger Barge, a place where I would undoubtedly be a regular.|