PEORIA — A major Peoria festival is being moved, likely for the next couple years.
The Taste of Peoria event won't be on the riverfront because of construction work under the Murray Baker Bridge this year an official with Peoria Area Community Events confirmed, and will instead take place in the parking lot of Northwoods Mall on Aug. 14.
The deck of the bridge carrying Interstate 74 is also scheduled to be under reconstruction throughout next year.
"We need that hard surface for our restaurants, and they have that fencing under the bridge," said Susie Stockman, the assistant treasurer for PACE.
City Council members will be asked Tuesday to give their assent to the new plan in the form of changes to the necessary liquor-sales license.
Among the mall's selling points, "they have a huge parking lot and lots of parking spaces," Stockman said, describing the difficulty of vehicle logistics for a festival that draws thousands of people throughout the evening.
The group looked at several other locations, but Exposition Gardens would have just completed the Heart of Illinois Fair several weeks beforehand. Returning to an on-street festival, similar to the years the Taste was held along Jefferson Avenue and Fulton Street, was rejected because of the number of power hook-ups needed, Stockman said.
She said that while PACE organizers appreciated the ambiance of the riverfront, they were also grateful for the power connections at the mall and space for generators.
"It's an easier setup," she said, compared to other alternatives.
The group plans to also have shuttle buses circulating to help people get from parking spots to the food.
With council assent Tuesday, the organization will also be handling alcohol sales at several other events and festivals during the summer and fall. That's part of an effort to recoup lost revenue after the Steamboat Festival and related carnival were moved from the riverfront due to flooding, Stockman said.
PACE is asking for council approval to add onto its license and sell alcohol at the Louisville Slugger Attendee Appreciation event on July 17, Ribfest on Sept. 14, and Brew and Que on Oct. 26.
Those events will all also be held at Northwoods Mall.